After months of uncertainty since the United Kingdom voted in favor of Brexit, the UK government has given a green light for the Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent to proceed.
In a statement from the UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe notes: « 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. The new system will provide an option for businesses that need to protect their inventions across Europe. »
She also went on to add that ratification « should not be seen as preempting the UK’s objectives or position in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU. »
The United Kingdom will continue to prepare for ratification over the next few months and will work with the Preparatory Committee to bring the Unified Patent Court into operation at the earliest possible date.
This move goes against the expectations of many IP experts who predicted that the UK would pull out of the agreement along with an EU exit. One of the most important branches of the UPC is planned for London where rulings on patent disputes in pharmaceuticals and life sciences will take place.
The Unitary Patent (UP) is a response to the European patent system. When ratified, the UP will guarantee protection for inventions in 26 countries throughout Europe.