Following approval by the Bundestag (Germany’s parliament) on 9 March 2017, the Bundesrat (Federal Council) also approved the two laws required for Germany to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement on 31 March 2017. One law (Drucksache 18/11137) will actually authorise ratification of the UPC Agreement and the other (Drucksache 18/8827 will amend German patent law. The Decisions of the Bundesrat confirming this procedural step are here (PDFs to be linked). The remaining steps required for the acts to be promulgated are: countersignature by the Federal government, i.e. either by the Chancellor herself or the federal minister; certification by the Federal President; and, finally, publication in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt).

Drucksache 18/8827 will amend the Gesetz über Internationale Patentübereinkommen (IntPatÜbkG, Act on International Patent Treaties) and one section of the Patentgesetz (PatG, Patent Act). One amendment of particular interest is the introduction of a new provision (Art. II § 18 IntPatÜbkG) which allows for ‘double-protection’ (or so-called ‘double-patenting’). That is to say, it would allow, in principle, the same invention to be protected by a German national patent and by a patent subject to the exclusive competence of the UPC, i.e. a unitary patent (European patent with unitary effect) or the German designation of a European patent that has not been opted-out of the UPC’s exclusive competence. For commentary on this amendment, see here.