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It has been announced that the outcome of the UK Referendum conducted yesterday is a vote in favour of leaving the European Union (EU), otherwise known as Brexit. This will have no effect on the validity of any pending or granted IP rights covering the UK.
The European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) are not instruments of the European Union. The creation of the EPC and the EPO pre-dates the establishment of the European Union in its current form by many years and the EPC signatories include several countries that are not members of the EU. Whatever the shape of the UK 's long-term relationship with the EU, the UK will remain a member of the EPC.
J A Kemp, and other UK patent attorney firms, will continue to represent clients from around the world at the EPO to obtain European patents. Further, the EPC safeguards the right of any European patent attorney to have a place of business in Germany and the Netherlands, where the EPO is located. As one of the largest patent attorney firms in Europe, J A Kemp has had an office in Munich since the 1970s. We will continue to provide the high quality service our clients have come to expect.
As regards the European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) system, we have already taken steps to ensure that our trade mark attorneys will retain the right to represent clients before the EU Intellectual Property Office, which handles EU trade marks and designs. J A Kemp will continue to provide a high quality UK, EU and global trade mark operation.
The UK leaving the EU may have some impact on the proposed new Unitary Patent (UP) system and the Unified Patent Court (UPC). The UK is one of the jurisdictions required to ratify the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPCA) and London is one of the agreed locations for the UPC. The future of the UPC is unclear at this stage, with a delay in ratification to be expected. Under the UPC agreement, all suitably qualified European patent attorneys (including those from non-EU member states) will have a right of audience before the new court.
For more information, please email or call on +44 20 3077 8600 your usual J A Kemp contact or:
Martin Jackson, Patent Partner
James Fish, Head of Trade Marks