On 28 November 2016, the UK government issued a press release that, despite the UK's leave
from the EU, commonly known as "Brexit," it still plans
to ratify the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court ("UPC
Agreement") over the coming months. The UPC Agreement was
signed by 24 out of 25 EU Member States that participate in the
enhanced cooperation procedure to create a unitary patent system in
the EU, including the UK.
The UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property, Baroness
Neville Rolfe, said that for as long as the UK was a Member State
of the EU, "the UK will continue to play a full and active
role." She added that the (long-developed) new patent system
"will provide an option for businesses that need to protect
their inventions across Europe."
At present, patent protection in Europe can either be obtained
through national patents, issued by the respective national
offices, or European patents, granted by the European Patent
Office. However, the granted European patent is only a
"bundle" of individual national patents. Pursuant to
article 64(3) of the European Patent Convention, any infringement
of a European patent shall be dealt with by national law. Thus,
despite the name European patent, there is no unitary property
right with effect for all member states and no unitary judicial
protection. Judicial relief can only be obtained on a national
level and only applies to the territory of each respective member
Under the new unitary patent system, it will be possible for
businesses to protect and enforce their patent rights across Europe
with a single pan-European patent right and through a single
unified patent court. The central division of the UPC will have its
seat in Paris, with London (life sciences) and Munich (mechanical
engineering) each hosting specialist seats.
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This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments
on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not
a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not
intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific
legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters
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