The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and some
other parties have requested an Opinion from Legal Counsel on
questions relating to the legal consequences of Brexit on the
UK's participation in the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent
Court (UPC). It is hoped that this will improve understanding of
whether the UK can join the UPC and remain a part of the UPC system
after the UK leaves the European Union. In support of this
position, the Opinion advises that it is legally possible for the
UK to continue to participate in the Unitary Patent and the UPC
Agreement after Brexit.
However, this would require the UK to enter into a new
international agreement with the participating EU Member States; a
number of amendments would need to be made to the UPC Agreement;
and the UK would need to submit to EU law in its entirety as
regards proceedings before the UPC. If it were legally possible for
the UK to continue to participate in the UPC Agreement, then the
Opinion finds no reason why the UK could not continue to host the
Life Sciences/Chemistry section of the central division. It is
however noted that, if the UK ratified the UPC Agreement without
amendment and then subsequently left the EU, any divisions of the
UPC operating in the UK would have to close.
The Opinion relates only to legal issues and, although it is
positive that the UK could continue to participate in the Unitary
Patent and the UPC Agreement, there are still significant political
obstacles that would need to be overcome in order to achieve
It is clear that a great deal of consideration will need to be
put into whether or not the UK ratifies the UPC Agreement in view
of the implications of this action as set out in the Opinion. We
will continue to keep a close watch on this and on all developments
regarding the ramifications of the referendum vote.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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