In addition to the Brexit in the United Kingdom, a new obstacle has emerged for the Unitary patent. A yet unknown private person has filed a complaint with the German Constitutional Court, which led the Court to request the German president to temporarily halt the ratification process.
The contents of the complaint are still unknown. We reported earlier that a Panel of the Federal Constitutional Court in Germany intends to hear four constitutional appeals regarding a potential infringement on the Basic Law in Germany “on the grounds of insufficient legal protection at the European Patent Office against decisions by the Boards of Appeal”. The hearings will most probably take place later this year.
It remains unclear whether the complaint that has now been filed relates to these four cases. It is however clear that the Court has found that the complaint has sufficient merits to ask the German president to temporarily halt the ratification process, which was already well underway.
Chairman Alexander Ramsay of the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has issued a statement that it is unfortunate that the complaint has brought a pause to the German ratification. He is however hopeful that the situation regarding the constitutional complaint can be resolved rather quickly and that the UPC, or at least its sunrise period, could start early 2018. A more detailed timetable will be communicated when the picture is more clear.