Implications of Brexit on the UPC

The UK’s vote to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 raised considerable uncertainty about whether or not the UK would be part of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC), and indeed whether the entire project would continue.  Recent developments suggest that the UPC and Unitary Patent may well go ahead with the UK as a participating party.  In a statement issued on 28 November 2016, the UK government “has confirmed it is proceeding with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement” and “will be working with the Preparatory Committee to bring the Unified Patent Court (UPC) into operation as soon as possible”.  The UPC Preparatory Committee has welcomed this statement and, in particular, commented that this “will allow the Committee to pick up pace on all fronts, in particular, facilitating the planning of when we can expect to have the required number of ratifications to allow the Agreement to enter into force”.  Ratification by the UK will require Parliamentary approval, but at present the suggestion is that the UPC may be operational in December 2017 or early 2018.  

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