Following publication of the UK Government’s paper relating to the future relationship of the UK with the EU, a government spokesperson has confirmed that the UK will “not be seeking involvement in the UP/UPC system”.
The UP/UPC system is an EU initiative to establish a Unitary Patent (UP) having unitary effect throughout the EU member states, and to establish the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to hear disputes relating to the Unitary Patent, and also relating to European patents having effect in the EU member states.
It is unclear whether, when and in what form the UP/UPC system will proceed. Currently further progress in implementation of the UP/UPC agreement is awaiting the outcome of the German constitutional challenge and German ratification. Following the developments in the UK, it is unclear whether Germany will ratify and even if Germany does ratify, whether the UP/UPC can go ahead without changes (which might require re-negotiation) to account for the UK’s non-participation. For example, the current agreement envisages the UPC having a branch in London and this is thought to be politically unacceptable for the remaining members of the EU.