The German Bundestag has approved the ratification bill on the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
The EPO has welcomed the news, explaining that "in Germany, the UPC bill will now be submitted to the German upper house (Bundesrat) for approval later this year. Once the German ratification procedure is complete, it's anticipated that the final preparatory steps could be taken to set up the Unitary Patent Court in 2021. The UPC could then start its work in 2022."
The EPO also writes that ratification by Italy is essential, in place of the UK. Italy ratified the agreement in 2017, and the UK withdrew its ratification earlier this year. As well as the positive conclusion of the procedure in Germany, a further two Signatory States need to agree to be bound by the Protocol on Provisional Application in order for the project to move into its final phase. The EPO has said it is "ready to register the first Unitary Patents. For Unitary Patents to become available, the UPCA has to enter into force which requires the ratification by 13 of the 25 participating EU Member States, including France, Germany and Italy."
In the meantime, the Preparatory Committee and its interim team in charge of the detailed planning has said its work is continuing. A timeline and a more detailed plan for the start and execution of the Provisional Application Period will in due course be published on the UPC preparatory committee website.
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