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Expression of Interests of Candidate Judges

The pre-selection procedure calling for expression of interest of candidate judges received an overwhelming response.

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Unified Patent Court News

The Hogan Lovells UPC microsite is the go-to news source to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments, research findings and insights on the UPC around the world.

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UPC and Germany: Status update - Constitutional complaint, ratification timeline and more

17 October 2017


The constitutional complaint against the UPC ratification that was lodged with the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany earlier this year has received a lot of attention over the past few months as it could have the potential to considerably delay the entry into force of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPCA). Pursuant to Article 89 subsection 1 UPCA it shall not enter into force prior to its ratification by the three Member States in which the highest number of European patents had effect in the year preceding the year of signing the UPCA. These three Member States are France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The German Federal Constitutional Court has asked the German President (Frank-Walter Steinmeier) as the German head of state not to sign into law the parliamentary Act declaring Germany's accession to the UPCA (the law of consent) pending the outcome of the constitutional complaint. The use of such an assurance by the Federal President is uncommon but has been made previously in proceedings regarding the accession to the Lisbon Treaty or the European Stability Mechanism.This measure aims to avoid Germany being bound externally by accession to an international treaty but being unable to comply with these obligations internally because the act of accession has been declared unconstitutional. Pursuant to Article 82, subsection 1 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (the 'Basic Law' [Grundgesetz]– i.e. the German constitution), the President needs to certify all laws in order for them to become effective. Article 59, subsection 1 of the Basic Law provides that the President concludes international treaties. As a consequence, this means that until the constitutional complaint proceedings are finished –provided that the law of consent hasn't been declared void by the Constitutional Court and the Federal President certifies the law – the UPCA will not be ratified in Germany.

In the following we intend to outline the approximate length of the proceedings taking into account the different possible scenarios and what this means for the future of the UPC project. On this point the Court itself in a reply to an inquiry about the background of the complaint stated in the summer that 'a date for the decision is presently not foreseeable', but before looking into this in more detail we will outline the main legal arguments the complainant is making as to the alleged unconstitutionality of Germany's accession to the UPCA.

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UPC timeline update

21 September 2017

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UPC Scenarios Course: Case Studies on the New Unified Patent Court - Munich, 20 October 2017

23 August 2017

This Autumn, the Forum Institut is holding a practical seminar entitled "UPC Scenarios: Case Studies on the New Unified Patent Court" in Munich, Germany. 

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Unitary Patent Guide Published by the EPO

22 August 2017

A few days ago the European Patent Office (EPO) published a new guide offering practical advice to companies, inventors and their representatives on Unitary Patents (otherwise known as European patents with unitary effect); the "Unitary Patent Guide". This guide aims to outline the provisions for obtaining, maintaining and managing Unitary Patents. The guide also deals with the procedures relating the compensation scheme for translation costs, and gives an overview of the rules on how to pay renewal fees for Unitary Patents.

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Update on the UPC Case Management System

11 July 2017

A new note regarding the implementation of the UPC Case Management System (CMS) was published yesterday by the IT Working Group Coordinator, Dario Pizzolante. The note announces the release of the latest CMS version and provides a brief overview of the next project phases for the coming months.

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Preparatory Committee Chairman announces update on UPC Timetable

28 June 2017

As previously reported, the Preparatory Committee announced in early June 2017 that the timetable for the start of the UPC would have to be delayed, with a new target start date yet to be confirmed.

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Preparatory Committee announce delay to UPC Timetable

8 June 2017

Yesterday, the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) announced that the previously stated target date for the entry into operation of the UPC, envisaged for December 2017, will now be delayed.

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False alarm: Spain will not join the Unitary patent system after all

27 March 2017

The Spanish Minister of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, Mr. Luis de Guindos, declared in the government control session held on 22 March 2017 that Spain will not join the Unitary patent system because of the linguistic regime and the "doubts about legal certainty" raised by such system.

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Spanish Parliament approved a non-binding motion for the Government to join the UPC system

9 March 2017

The Spanish Parliament voted earlier this week in favor of a motion (i.e. Non-Legislative Proposition –NLP) aimed at getting the Government to reconsider its position and take the necessary steps for Spain to join the Unitary Patent system. The request was filed by the Socialist Party (PSOE), the main party of the opposition, on 14 February –a copy, in Spanish, is available here.

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Draft UPC laws continue progress through German parliament

9 March 2017

Today, at 2:05 am (CET), the European Patent Package passed another milestone towards coming into effect. The bills regarding the law amending the German patent law in respect to the European Patent Package and the law authorizing the German government to ratify the UPCA were finally read at the German Bundestag (see agenda item 42) and came to the vote. 

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Proposed timeline for the UPC from the Preparatory Committee

10 February 2017

After the British government gave the go-ahead for the UPC system to enter into force in November 2016 by announcing that – despite Brexit – they intend to ratify the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPCA), the Preparatory Committee has again resumed its work. The Preparatory Committee announced this week a preliminary timeline for the entry into force of the new UPC system.

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Location of Italy’s local division of the UPC formally selected

14 November 2016

The location of the local division in Milan has been formally selected by the Italian authorities.

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UPC – Brexit update – Judicial recruitment postponed and Luxembourg representative to take over IT Working Group

19 October 2016

Despite the UK's Brexit vote in June, the preparations for the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court had, until now, been continuing largely as planned.

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Labour Party asks Theresa May questions about the future of the UPC

19 October 2016

Labour has challenged the Government to answer 170 in-depth questions on the detail of its Brexit plan.

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UPC - business as usual despite Brexit? Here is the UPC and EPO select committee response

1 July 2016

Despite the result of the UK referendum on 23 June 2016, the preparations for the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court will go on as planned. This is according to a joint statement from the UPC Preparatory Committee and the EPO Select Committee, issued on 1 July 2016.

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What does Brexit mean for the UPC?

24 June 2016

The future of the UPC, and with it the unitary patent, is now uncertain. The agreement arguably requires the UK to ratify and it is now very unlikely that the UK would do so in the light of its pending exit.  It also locates part of the central division to London.

By Hogan Lovells Partner Daniel Brook

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Bulgaria becomes tenth country to ratify UPC Agreement

16 June 2016

On 3 June 2016, Bulgaria became the tenth country to complete its ratification formalities.

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3 considerations, ahead of the start of the Unitary Patent Court (UPC)

26 May 2016

So, the UPC is coming in 2017.  Patent owners have considered which of their crown-jewel European patents to opt-out of the system during the transitional period to avoid its unitary effect (a single action may revoke the patent in all designated states that are participating in the UPC).

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The impact of the new UPC system on contract drafting

31 March 2016

The long-awaited unitary patent and Unified Patent Court should come into effect next year.

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The UPC Preparatory Committee publishes decision on UPC Court fees and recoverable costs

26 February 2016

The Preparatory Committee has today published the much anticipated Rules on Court fees and recoverable costs for the UPC alongside a short Explanatory Note.

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UK IPO publishes outcome of consultation on legislation implementing the UPC

20 January 2016

On 14 January 2016 the UK IPO published the Government's Response to the consultation on amendments to UK patent law to implement the UPC Agreement.

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Finland becomes 9th member state to ratify the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court

20 January 2016

On 19 January 2016, it was announced that Finland has become the latest country to ratify the UPC Agreement.  Of the 25 Member States who signed on 19 February 2013, Finland is the 9th signatory state to ratify the Agreement.  The other countries being Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Sweden.

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