On November 26, 2020, the German Bundestag (i.e., German federal Parliament) approved draft national legislation to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (“UPCA” – accessible here).
This vote represents an important step toward introduction of the Unitary Patent system, which can enter into force only after Germany has completed the ratification procedure. The draft legislation will now go the Legal Committee of the Bundesrat (i.e., German federal Council) and could be voted on by the Bundesrat as early as December. It will also have to be signed by the Bundespräsident (i.e., president of the German Federation) before Germany can formally file its instrument of ratification with the secretariat of the European Council and finalize the procedure.
This is Germany’s second attempt at ratifying the UPCA. In 2017, after the Bundesrat granted approval, a constitutional complaint was filed against the ratification bill; earlier this year the German Federal Constitutional Court declared the ratification invalid because only 35 members of the Bundestag were present during the vote.
For years prior to this event, the European Union has prepared to equip itself with a new patent structure focused on the creation of a unitary title (commonly known as the “European patent with unitary effects”) and uniform protection for the entire European Union. Since the beginning, this has involved a complex system of judicial integration on a “pan-European” scale.
For its part, Italy accepted this system by ratifying, via Law No. 214 of November 3, 2016, the agreement on establishment of the Unified Patent Court (full text of that agreement is accessible here) and creating a local division of the court in Milan that focuses on industrial litigation and patent litigation in general.
 This European patent structure is based on (i) Regulation (EU) No. 1257/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 17, 2012, implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection (accessible here); and (ii) Council Regulation (EU) No. 1260/2012 of December 17, 2012, implementing enhanced cooperation in the area of the creation of unitary patent protection with regard to the applicable translation arrangements (accessible here).