On 28 November the British government announced that it will ratify the agreement on the Unified Patent Court, despite the Brexit referendum vote to leave the European Union. This ratification is required to have the agreement enter into force and to launch the (EU) unitary patent and the associated European patent court.
The British parliament had already assented to the agreement before the Brexit referendum of 23 June, but the last formalities for the ratification had been deferred until after the result. These formalities will now be likely complied with soon. Apart from the ratification by the UK, only the ratification by Germany is still required. As regards the practical preparations for the new European patent court and the appointment of the judges, an opening of the court in 2017 seems feasible.
Although it is not clear yet at this point whether the United Kingdom can continue to participate in the patent court if it is not an EU member anymore, the news about the British ratification gives hope. V.O. patent attorney Peter de Lange: “This is an extremely welcome development. The sooner the unitary patent is launched, the better for patent holders. As a patent firm, we have stopped preparations for the unitary patent after the outcome of the Brexit referendum but will now take them up again. Obviously, we will keep our clients informed about further developments and about planning as soon as the effective date of the new system is announced.”
For the current status of the unitary patent and the UPC, please refer to our Dossier.