The Federal Government of Germany has just announced that it has deposited the instrument of ratification for the Protocol on the Provisional Application of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. This is a decisive step towards the start of UPC operations in the near future, after years of uncertainties.
As explained by the Preparatory Committee, for the Protocol to take effect its ratification by two more states is needed, which is expected to occur in the coming weeks (the point is confirmed in the press release issued by the Federal Government of Germany). This will pave the way for the final phase for the set-up of the Unified Patent Court: the UPC will be established in its full legal capacity and organizational capability and a number of further preparatory steps will be undertaken (including assembling the governing bodies of the Court, adopting all the secondary legislation prepared by the Preparatory Committee, finalizing the budget an IT systems, and resuming the recruitment and training of judges). As soon as the preparatory work will be sufficiently advanced to ensure that the UPC can start in an orderly manner, the last outstanding instrument of ratification of the UPCA itself will be deposited by Germany. The German Federal Government expects the UPC to become fully operational from mid-2022.
The remarks by the Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht leave no doubt on the dedication of the German government to proceed with the steps needed for the UPC to start operating as soon as possible. Also, they seem to confirm the inter-governmental intention to proceed swiftly, avoiding new agreements (and, possibly, ratifications) addressing the relocation of the competences of the London seat of the Central Division. Commenting the ratification of the Protocol, Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht stated: “With this step we have come a decisive step closer to the European patent reform, which is so important for innovative companies in Europe. The Unified Patent Court will come”.