Today, on 20 March 2020, the Federal Constitutional Court in its decision on the Unified Patent Court ruled on the constitutional complaint against the law approving the agreement of 19 February 2013 on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) and declared it null and void on formal grounds. The necessary 2/3 majority in the vote of the German Bundestag was lacking. The other grounds for nullity raised by the complainant in the case were not admitted.
Today's decision is therefore not an insurmountable obstacle for the UPC. On the contrary, the single patent system could still be launched, albeit with some delay, if the political will exists. However, this is questionable, not least because of Brexit and the UK's decision not to participate in a unitary patent system. For the time being, the unified patent system seems to have been put on hold.
Winfried Tilmann, one of the fathers of the unified patent system and Of Counsel at Hogan Lovells, today commented on the future of the system:
"I believe that both the relevant policy makers and European industry continue to be interested in an effective unified patent system in Europe. The idea of a unified European law with a single court will continue to be viable and even point the way forward, also for other areas of law".