A step closer to the unitary patent and the UPC

Friday 27 April 2018

On 26 April, the Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah MP, has announced that the UK has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA).

This important step, together with the existing ratifications from over 11 other countries, means that both the Unitary Patent and the UPC can now come into force once Germany has ratified the agreement.  However, the legal challenge to the ratification process in Germany has still not been resolved, thus it is uncertain when Germany will be able to ratify the agreement.

Regarding the impact of Brexit as noted in the statement from the Government, “the unique nature of the proposed court means that the UK’s future relationship with the Unified Patent Court will be subject to negotiation with European partners as we leave the EU”.  This has been followed by a more upbeat statement from the President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) in which he commented “the UK would be able to play a full role, despite Brexit, because the UPC would be an international court and not an EU institution”.

This ratification is therefore a significant step towards the implementation of the agreement and its aim for a simpler patent system within Europe.

If you have any questions about the UPC or the Unitary Patent, including strategic decisions for your European patent portfolio, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Alternatively, please join Julia Gwilt’s webinar for CIPA on 4 June which will focus on preparing a patent portfolio for the new system.  Pippa Allen will also be attending the European wide conference entitled “Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court 2018 - The UP on the Launchpad?” in July and the Chair of the UPC Preparatory Committee, Alexander Ramsay, will give the all important update on expectations and timing for entry into force of the agreement.

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