IP Cases & Articles

UPC update - German ratification paused

Late on Tuesday 12 June reports began circulating that the German Constitutional Court had requested the Office of the German President not to sign the legislation enabling Germany to ratify the UPC Agreement.

Signature by the President would be the next and almost final step in the ratification process in Germany. It should be remembered that it had always been understood that Germany would be the last to ratify the UPC Agreement (after the UK had completed its process), so this signature was not imminent in any case.

It appears that a private individual has challenged the constitutionality of the legislation although the grounds of the challenge are not known. We also understand that the Constitutional Court made its request to the President as long ago as 3 April. The Court has said that the challenge is "not wholly without merit", which means it is admissible, although as the substance of the challenge has not been examined we have no indication of its merits. The request has therefore been made to enable the Court to examine the challenge before German ratification.

Whether or not this development makes any difference to the already delayed timetable for commencement of the UPC is unclear. In the meantime, we believe businesses should continue their general preparations for the system which, based on the already accepted delays, looks likely to commence sometime in the first half of 2018. As soon as we have any more news on this development and a revised timetable generally we will publish a further update.