The UK will not participate in the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court system

“The UK will not be seeking involvement in the UP/UPC system. Participating in a court that applies EU law and bound by the CJEU is inconsistent with our aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation.” So said a UK government spokesperson late yesterday evening, perhaps not surprisingly given the views often expressed by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his cabinet.

The question now, is whether the UPC project will survive after the loss of such an important founder member state and, pre-Brexit, champion of the system. This is a tricky question to answer at this point, not least given the case making its way through the German constitutional court, which has yet to be decided. As one commentator observed last night: “The ongoing viability of the project is very much open to question. There will be plenty who believe it should now be abandoned or, at the very least, entirely rethought.”

If the UPC does go ahead without the UK, those British lawyers without bar qualifications in an EU member state will not be able to represent clients at the UPC. However, with our deep bench of European patent attorneys with litigation certificates and our Dispute Resolution partners qualified to practice in existing European member state Ireland, Carpmaels & Ransford remains uniquely positioned among European IP firms to handle all your IP needs whenever they take on a European dimension.

Regardless of how the UP/UPC project pans out, there are no implications for the current European patent system run by the European Patent Office (EPO). Indeed, the EPO is not an EU institution, so patent applications filed by Carpmaels & Ransford at the EPO will still cover the UK and they will be litigated in the UK national courts as usual.

If it does go ahead, even without the UK the UP/UPC system would provide significant improvements over the fragmented system currently in place in Europe. So, all eyes now turn to the EU to see how it decides to move forward with the UP/UPC project over the coming months.

We will continue to provide updates as the situation develops. However, if you have any queries during this time please speak to your usual contact at the firm.