UK to Ratify Unified Patent Court Agreement07. december 2016
The European Patent Office announced on 29 November 2016 that the UK will ratify the agreement on the Unified Patents Court (UPC). Therefore, the UK’s decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) does not result in uncertainty for the future of the Unified Patent and the UPC anymore, as has been the case so far since the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
The arrangement of the Unified Patent and the Unified Patents Court (UPC) has the advantage for you as a patent proprietor that you will be able to cover up to 25 EU states with one Unified Patent, and that you may address infringement and validity issues to the UPC as a specialized patent court.
Today, you instead have to validate your European patent in each of the European states, in which you want your patent to be in force, and have to rely on national courts and authorities to decide on infringement and validity issues.
In order for the arrangement of the Unified Patent and the UPC to come into effect, at least 13 EU states including United Kingdom (UK), Germany and France have to ratify the agreement on the UPC. This process has run its course over the last few years, and at present 11 EU states have ratified the agreement (including France). Denmark decided by a Referendum in 2014 to sign the agreement on the UPC.
However, with the UK’s decision in the Referendum on 23 June 2016 to leave the European Union (Brexit), the question of how this decision would effect the future arrangement of the Unified Patent and the UPC came up - as now it was unclear whether the UK as required would ratify the agreement or not.
The question was answered by an announcement from the European Patent Office on 29 November 2016, stating that the UK will ratify the agreement on the UPC.
This means that the process can continue as planned. The last required ratifications can now be carried out, without the uncertainty of whether or not the arrangement will eventually come into effect.
Thus, according to the Danish Patent and Trademark Office as it looks now, it seems that you as a patent proprietor may begin to take advantage of the agreement within 2017.
If you have any questions or concerns about how this will effect your IP-rights, we invite you to contact Chas. Hude A/S.