German Court decision paves the way for implementation of Unitary Patent and UPC

13 July 2021

The German Federal Constitutional Court announced on 9 July 2021 the rejection of two applications for a preliminary injunction against the German Act of Approval to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). The decisions mark a key step towards the implementation of the Unitary Patent and UPC.

Welcoming the announcement, EPO President António Campinos said: "The implementation of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court will lead to the most significant reform of the European patent system in nearly 50 years. Inventors, universities, European companies, start-ups and investors are all impatient for the new system to start, because of the benefits it will bring them. Right from the outset, it will increase legal certainty, reduce administrative burdens and cut costs. These will all contribute to the promotion of innovation and technology transfer, and bring much-needed capital investment in R&D. The Unitary Patent is set to play a vital role in helping economies rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic.

 "The EPO is ready to play its part in making the system a success. In view of the benefits Europe stands to gain, we call on all participating Member States to finalise their ratification processes, if they have not already done so."

He added: "This major reform will provide a timely boost to innovators in Europe, especially SMEs and university spin-outs. The response to the pandemic has demonstrated the huge importance of technological innovation and so-called frontier technologies, which will also be critical in addressing other challenges the world faces, including the climate emergency."

The Unitary Patent package

The Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court are the building blocks of the Unitary Patent package which will supplement and strengthen the existing centralised European patent granting system. They will offer users a cost-effective option for patent protection and dispute settlement across Europe's participating member states.

Unitary Patents will make it possible to obtain uniform patent protection in up to 25 EU Member States by submitting a single request to the EPO, making the procedure simpler and more cost effective for applicants.

The UPC will be an international court with jurisdiction for patents granted by the EPO. This specialised court will make the Europe-wide enforcement of patents a reality, offer greater legal certainty and reduce litigation costs. The Court is based on an international treaty, the UPCA.

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