UK to ratify Unified Patent Court Agreement

Tuesday 29 November 2016

29 November 2016

The UK government has announced that it will ratify the agreement on the Unified Patent Court as soon as possible.  Once implemented, the system will allow businesses to enforce their patent rights across much of Europe through a single specialist court, including one in London for Pharma and Life Sciences.  The current system requires separate actions to be brought in each individual country at substantial cost.

UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville Rolfe said:

"The new system will provide an option for businesses that need to protect their inventions across Europe. The UK has been working with partners in Europe to develop this option.

 As the Prime Minister has said, for as long as we are members of the EU, the UK will continue to play a full and active role. We will seek the best deal possible as we negotiate a new agreement with the European Union. We want that deal to reflect the kind of mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy. We want it to involve free trade, in goods and services. We want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the Single Market - and let European businesses do the same in the UK.

 But the decision to proceed with ratification should not be seen as pre-empting the UK’s objectives or position in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU".

The announcement is a very positive step.  Some corners of the legal profession have expressed surprise given the uncertainty around Britain’s future relationship with the European Union.  However, the statement from UK government emphasises that the UPC is not an EU institution.

In these uncertain times this news affirms that it is very much “business as usual” for the UK legal profession.

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