As the due date for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union approaches, the complaint against a German law which ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) remains undecided. Though the case was filed in the summer of 2017 and has been listed among those that the German Federal Court (FCC) plans to decide in 2018, a hearing date has still not been set. The FCC has been busy deciding other cases on its 2018 list, but one cannot predict based on this which case(s) will be next in line, as the FCC does not necessarily schedule hearings in the order set forth in its list.
Notwithstanding this, the proceedings could conclude sooner than expected if the FCC deems the complaint inadmissible. Should the case be admitted, a ruling could be expected around the end of 2018, assuming a hearing date is set soon. If not, or should the FCC refer one or more questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the proceeding might not come to an end until 2019. Since only German ratification is still pending out of the required signatories (i.e., Germany, France, UK) for the UPCA to come into force, the hope is that the FCC will treat the matter in a timely manner. As the UK will withdraw from the EU by March 2019, swiftness at the FCC will be of the essence for the UPCA to come into force before Brexit.