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Will the UK ratify the UPCA before its referendum on the EU membership?

Written by Louise AMAR 3 March 2016

News on the ratification-Bulgaria

In a statement sent to the magazine Managing IP the UK IPO declared that “the UK’s EU referendum will have no effect on UK ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement by the middle of 2016. This is in line with the timescale identified for the conclusion of the preparatory work necessary for the UPC to become operational.  Ratification will happen before the Court is expected to open, in early 2017.”

Similarly the UK’s Chartered  Institute of Patent Attorneys confirms that “the Government is proceeding on the basis that the UK will remain in the European Union. The UK Intellectual Property Office is working actively to establish the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and is preparing for ratification of the UPC Agreement.” It also published a table which highlights the major consequences on the intellectual property system the UK will face if choosing to leave the EU.

This issue was also raised in UK Parliament before the Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee on Monday 01/03/16 when Mr Edward Vaizey,  the UK Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, introduced the Draft Patents (European Patent with Unitary Effect and Unified Patent Court) Order 2016 to the committee, meeting which is reported  in the hansard published by Parliament.

Mr Vaizey therefore explains to the Committee that it would  be “clearly, were we to leave the European Union, we would no longer be members of the unified patent court. It would then be a matter for  the UK Government to ask the European Union whether we could be a member, if we thought that was a good thing. I suspect the European Union would have something to say about that. For people whose lives are dominated by thoughts of having a European patent, it would be a bad thing if we were not a member of the European Union. I hope that that is clear.” The Minister reminded the Committee at this occasion that the aim of the creation of the UPC and Unitary Patent was to “boost competitiveness and drive growth, and for a target to cut the burden on business.


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