17 January 2017

An Update on the UPC

In line with Theresa May’s announcement in October 2016 that the UK would continue to play a “full and active role in the EU” until Brexit actually occurs, it was confirmed in the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee last week that the UK intends to progress towards ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement, which would enable the Unified Patent System to come into effect by the end of 2017.

However, the process of preparing and actual ratification are two different processes, both legally and politically.  Theresa May made clear in her speech earlier this week that “The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union” and that “Leaving the European Union will mean that our laws will be made in Westminster, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. And those laws will be interpreted by judges not in Luxembourg but in courts across this country.”  Accordingly, it remains to be seen how these two positions can be reconciled.

The Brexit process is ‘a work in progress’ and we will keep you updated on any significant future changes relating to IP matters as these issues unfold.