After a long summer and autumn in which little seems to have happened in Unitary Patent land, things finally appear to be creeping forward once more. At present the status of the unitary patent package is that a total of 14 countries have ratified the UPC agreement and the package can enter into force once the UK and Germany have also ratified.
Legal progress in Germany
In June 2017, the German President announced that he would postpone signing the legislation to implement the UPC, following a request from the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany based on a constitutional complaint by an unnamed party. That complaint is now slowly making its way through the German system with a deadline of 31st December 2017 set for third parties to provide comments.
UK: ratification before Christmas?
Meanwhile, Brexit and a UK general elections have not helped progress of the ratification bill and other legislation through the UK and Scottish parliaments. However, we can nowannounce that this juggernaut is again moving forwards with a UK Statutory Instrument entitled Unified Patent Court (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2017 being unanimously approved by the Delegated Legislation Committee. This will now be set before both houses of parliament for approval, with the House of Lords sitting on 6th December 2017. There is thus a more than realistic possibility that the UK will ratify before Christmas, further increasing the pressure on Germany to move the constitutional complaint forwards with expediency.