Constitutional lawsuit again blocks unitary patent

A prestige project in the EU internal market is threatened with another sensitive delay. Before Germany can pave the way for the unitary patent by law, the Federal Constitutional Court must again decide on constitutional complaints.

For the second time, the Federal Constitutional Court has to deal with the EU unitary patent.

Dhe introduction of the European unitary patent, which is supposed to save companies time and money, is stalled again because of constitutional complaints in Germany. The Federal Constitutional Court has asked Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to wait with the execution of the necessary law until an urgent application has been decided, as a court spokesman announced on Wednesday on request. A spokeswoman for the Federal President said that he would comply with the request. “We are now waiting for the Federal Constitutional Court to proceed.”

According to earlier information from the EU Commission, the EU unitary patent is intended to reduce the cost of registering an invention by up to 32,000 euros. The idea is that every owner of a European patent can submit a request for unitary effect centrally. This applies in one fell swoop to all participating countries.

However, the system can only start when the planned Unified Patent Court (UPC) has been set up. This has been blocked for years by Germany’s lack of consent.

In February of last year, the Federal Constitutional Court declared the law, first passed in 2017, null and void after an initial constitutional complaint. The reason: At the time of the vote in the Bundestag, only about 35 of the more than 600 members were present. During the process, the project was on hold for years.

Known complainant

In November and December the Bundestag and Bundesrat passed the law again with the same word for word. But before the turn of the year, two new constitutional complaints were received in Karlsruhe (Az. 2 BvR 2216/20 and others). It is unclear when the court will decide on this and, above all, on the associated urgent motion. One plaintiff is a Düsseldorf specialist lawyer who had already won the first decision. It is not known who is behind the second complaint.

The EU Commission actually wanted to start the “period of provisional application” of the unitary patent in 2021. The new system should be fully functional by 2022. The Unified Patent Court has its seat in Luxembourg. In Germany, locations in Munich, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Mannheim are planned.