Austrian Federal Council approved ratification

"Upheaval" in European Patent Law

Timan Pfrang
Tilman Pfrang, LL.M.
Patent Attorney, Dipl.-Phys.

Yesterday, December 2, 2021, the Austrian Federal Council unanimously approved the ratification of the "Protocol" on the preliminary Application of the UPC (Agreement on a Unified Patent Court), following the corresponding decision of the Austrian Parliament of November 19, 2021.

So far, the instrument of ratification has not yet been deposited, but this should be now only a "formality". With the deposit of the instrument, the required number of ratifications for the "Protocol" would be reached, so that the necessary preparations for the start of the EPC (Unified Patent Court) could be made. It is planned that Germany will officially deposit its ratification of the UPC in the near future, with the consequence that the court could start after the expiration of another three months (Article 89 UPC). Hence, Germany can – and intends to - "trigger" a proper start of the UPCA in close coordination with the other Member States.
The exact date for the start of the UPC is still uncertain. However, another hurdle now seems to have been cleared. If one also takes into account that the German Federal Constitutional Court rejected the two recent constitutional complaints a few months ago, a launch of the UPC still in 2022 seems at least possible - even if the past has taught that one should be careful in this regard. 

Since the location "London" has been eliminated due to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is planned that the cases of the so-called "Central Division" of the UPC will be divided between Paris and Munich, at least temporarily. Since also the establishment of a "local chamber" of the UPC is planned in Munich and, in addition, the European and German Patent Offices, the Federal Patent Court and the Munich Regional Court I all have their seat  in Munich, this will further strengthen Munich's role as a hotspot for European patent law.

We at Meissner Bolte are in any case prepared for the expected "upheaval" in European patent law and will be happy to support you at any time in your corresponding preparations.