Legal Alert: German Justice Ministry to Await Brexit before Proceeding with UPC


The German Justice Ministry officially confirmed last week that Germany will await the United Kingdom's decision on leaving the European Union before proceeding with implementation of the Convention on a Unified Patent Court (UPC). The Ministry stated that the implications of Brexit on the UPC must be examined and voted on at the European level. Therefore, it appears that German ratification will not be automatic if the decision of the German Constitutional Court in the pending private case permits ratification.

The Constitutional Court case is high on the judge-reporter's list and is now scheduled for decision in 2019, but that schedule is not binding. Announcement of the date for oral argument, perhaps within a few months from now, will be the best indication of the decision date, because it must be handed down within three months after the oral hearing. Given the August holidays, it seems most likely the decision will be in early 2020.

In June 2019, the UPC Preparatory Committee announced that it would re-open the recruitment process for judges. Initially, there was speculation that might be a signal that the UPC implementation was moving ahead, but it soon became clear that was not the case. Instead, it appears that some persons who applied to be UPC judges are no longer interested and that other persons with appropriate qualifications now may be interested.

Read more about European Patent Office Developments — Summer 2019.

Authors: John Pegram, Herbert Kunz, Ph.D., John Conroy, Ph.D.