Today the Bundesrat (Federal Council) approved the draft legislation which will enable Germany to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement and its Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA). The law was approved unanimously, so achieving the two-thirds majority required for a transfer of sovereign rights. The requisite two-thirds majority in the Bundestag (parliament) was achieved on 26 November (see here). The remaining steps required for the act to be promulgated are counter-signature by the Federal Government (by the Chancellor and the Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection), signature by the Federal President and publication in the Federal Law Gazette (Bundesgesetzblatt). Therefore, there is still the risk of another constitutional complaint preventing or delaying the legislation coming into force.
If there are no further delays and the German legislation comes into force early next year, Germany will be able to ratify the PPA. Two other countries must also ratify (or otherwise consent to) the PPA for the provisional application phase to come into force, and it is understood that two countries are in a position to do so at relatively short notice. Therefore the provisional application phase could start in the first quarter of 2021, allowing final preparations for the Court’s opening (including the recruitment of judges) to take place. As this phase is likely to last at least six months, the Court may open late 2021 or, perhaps more likely, on 1 January 2022.