UK will ratify Unified Patent Court Agreement despite Brexit
The UK government has confirmed that they will start proceedings to ratify the UPC agreement. You can find further information on the homepage of the UK government at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-signals-green-light-to-unified-patent-court-agreement.
The UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville Rolfe announced this in a speech at the Competiveness Council in Brussels.
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 agreement will come into force on the first day of the fourth month after the deposit of the ratification of thirteen states including FR, UK and DE. At present, 11 states have ratified the agreement including France. Therefore we expect that the UPC Agreement will come into force after Germany and UK have ratified the agreement. We expect that in 3Q of 2017 or beginning of 2018.
The UPC Agreement, which is an international treaty and not a EU regulation is connected with the two unitary patent regulations. The EU patent package consists of three main treaties. These are the unitary patent regulation (EU1257/2012), the unitary translation arrangement (EU1260/2012) and the UPC Agreement.
The press release of the UK government emphasizes that the UPC Agreement is not an EU treaty, which is correct. The intention of this remark seems to be that the ratification of this agreement is conform with the Brexit scenario. However, what is not said in the press release is that the UPC Agreement and the relevant EU regulations are connected.
As soon as the UPC agreement comes into force also the EU regulations will come into force. As the UK is still a member state of the EU the two EU regulations will come into force for the UK, too. This means that the full unified patent package will be available soon with the UK as member state of the unified patent at least as long as the UK belongs to the EU.
You find more information about the UPC on the website of the court (www.unified-patent-court.org). We will keep you updated.
Dr. Thomas Godemeyer