While it always seems like Unitary Patent is just around the corner, and the European Patent Office is also ready to launch some new functions in their online services for handling Unitary Patent*, there are still a few countries hesitating.
The Hungarian constitutional court brought a decision (Friday, June 29, 2018) on the compatibility of the planned unitary patent system and the Hungarian constitution, or, to be more precise: how the suggested Unified Patent Court (UPC) would fit in the Hungarian legal regime. The bad news: it doesn’t.
The original motion claimed that ‘the change to the Hungarian judicial framework operated by the UPCA, which amounts to a delegation of constitutionally protected judicial powers by making the resolution of certain disputes the exclusive jurisdiction of the UPC, would be contrary to Article 25 of the Constitution on the judicial power and court structure’.
The specialty of the international court established for certain group of cases is that not only the appeal phase of the lawsuit but also the main proceedings are transferred to the special court. The operation of an international forum complementing the domestic court structure would entail that the disputes between private parties that belong under this jurisdiction will be entirely excluded from the jurisdiction of domestic courts, which necessarily affects the chapter of the Fundamental Law (the constitution) on domestic courts. In fact, the constitution prescribes that the domestic courts should decide in all private domestic litigations, without exceptions. The Constitutional Court has concluded that an international treaty conferring jurisdiction on a group of private legal disputes to an international institution cannot be proclaimed in Hungary under the applicable basic legislation.
More about the topic:
Unitary Patent enters into force on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the 13th instrument of ratification, including the three most patent intensive contracting states (i.e. FR, DE and UK). In Germany, parliamentary approval for the ratification has been obtained on 31 March 2017. But a complaint is currently pending at the German Federal Constitutional Court. This causes delay to the German ratification of the UPCA and the Protocol on Provisional Application.
Pintz & Partners will keep you updated on the news regarding Unitary Patent.
*Announced during EPO User Day in Munich, June 18, 2018