Two draft bills to enable Germany to participate in the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) system had been passing through the Bundestag (German parliament) for several months earlier this year, one to authorise ratification of the UPC Agreement and the other (here) to amend German patent law.

Now, following the UK’s announcement on 28 November that it will ratify the UPC Agreement, there have been further developments in the German legislative process. The Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection has submitted to the Federal Council on 9 December (here) a new draft of the legislation to authorise ratification of the UPC Agreement.

This was necessary due to procedural requirements: the first draft was submitted as ‘urgent’ whereas, because the legislation would transfer sovereign rights to an international organisation (the UPC), that is not possible. Consequently, a new draft (here) was submitted, this being the same as the first, but not designated as urgent.

This means that the Federal Council is given a longer period to comment on the draft, but as it did not raise any objections to the first draft, it is expected that Germany will still be in a position to ratify the UPC Agreement in spring 2017.