Following the vote to leave the European Union (EU), the UK government is continuing with the process of Brexit as expected. It is likely that the negotiated exit will be completed over the next two years. Even once the process is complete, there will be almost no changes for European patents compared to the current system because the European Patent Office is not an EU institution. Other areas of intellectual property, notably EU trade marks, will likely be discussed during these negotiations, with further details expected over the next months and years.
The new Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court are likely to still come into existence towards the end of 2017, once the UK and Germany have ratified the underlying agreement. The UK has started the process required for ratification and Germany plans to have parliamentary approval to ratify by May 2017.
The UK, which will have the Central Division of the Unified Patent Court for the life sciences in London, will be an integral part of the new system. While it is unknown whether the UK will continue to be involved with the Unitary Patent and/or Unified Patent Court after Brexit, it is expected that any changes would be accompanied by transitional provisions with the aim of preventing those using the new system from losing rights.
We will continue to monitor Brexit and the implications for intellectual property. Information will be made available on a regular basis in the Brexit section of our website. If you would like to discuss the implications for your business more specifically please contact your usual representative at Carpmaels & Ransford or speak to David Holland or Ian Kirby.