UPC: Post-Brexit breakthrough

UK to ratify UPC agreement

Jakob Pade Frederiksen reports.

Following the Brexit referendum in June 2016, the future fate of the Unitary Patent (UP) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) has been uncertain. To the surprise of many, the UK Government, however, announced on 28 November 2016 that it intends to proceed with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). The way for the coming into force of the new European patent regime – which could happen as early as 2017 – is thus paved.

The Government’s press release to the above effect is available here.

According to experts, the UK’s accession to the UP/UPC setup may in fact be reconcilable with the UK’s future status as non-EU member state. Following the UK’s accession to the system at a point in time, in which the UK is still a member of the EU, a subsequent amendment of the UPCA may possibly be adopted to allow a state, which is party to the European Patent Convention (EPC), but not an EU member, to take part in the UPC. Further, by virtue of a separate protocol between the UK and the EU extending the UP regime to the UK, the UK could remain part of the UP/UPC setup as a non-EU state.