Germany 23 Mar 2020

German court: The UPC approval is invalid

On March 20, The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany announced its decision regarding the complaint against the German ratification of the agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The complaint filed in 2017 by German lawyer Ingve Stjerna, included the following deficiencies in connection with the German Parliament (Bundestag) ratifying the agreement:

  • The requirement for a qualified majority (two-thirds) was not met in the parliamentary voting
  • The UPC agreement is not compatible with EU law
  • Lack of independence of judges
  • Lack of procedural rules in the UPC agreement

The Court found that the first deficiency concerning qualified majority was valid – the decision was not made by a required majority of two-thirds. Thus, the German Parliament’s approval of the UPC agreement is invalid. The other three deficiencies of the complaint were rejected by the court. The decision cannot be appealed.

The German Parliament has the opportunity to vote for ratification again with a qualified majority. It remains to be seen how and when this matter will be handled. This decision in combination with the UK announcing at the end of February that they do not intend to be part of UPC will delay the process of UPC.

Nevertheless, the UPC Preparatory Committee has announced that they will continue their work and analyse the judgement.

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