The troubled gestation of the European unitary patent system and the associated Unified Patent Court received a new setback last week when the German Constitutional Court asked the Bundestag to halt the underpinning legislation.

Germany is one of three countries, along with France and the UK, whose ratification is essential for the court to come into being early next year. The UK, which will host a division of the court, is participating on the basis that the new body is not an EU institution even though it is currently restricted to EU members.

German press reports said the constitutional court order was in response to a complaint by a ‘hitherto unknown private person’.