Düsseldorf, 1 December, 2016 – Great Britain is planning to continue preparations for the ratification of the convention for the Unified Patent Court (UPC) in spite of the announced EU exit. This was announced by the British government at a meeting of the Competitiveness Council of the EU on 28 November 2016 in Brussels.
In order for the UPC to enter into force, at least 13 of the 25 participating EU countries must ratify the convention, including the binding ratification by France, Germany and Great Britain. France has already done so. The start of the new judicial system thus now depends on Germany and Great Britain. While the ratification by Germany is considered certain, many experts currently believe that the new court system could fail because of a blockade by Great Britain.
Since the British decided with a small majority in a referendum on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU, the newly formed government has not yet commented on the future of the UPC. “It is all the more pleasing that Great Britain has now officially taken a stand for the first time," says Jan Ackermann, patent attorney at C&F. This now makes it more likely that the UPC will be able to take up its function in the foreseeable future.
“Many questions still remain unanswered,” Ackermann explains. “They concern issues like the impact of future EU patents in the United Kingdom, the role of British judges or the future of London as a court location after the British leave the EU.” However, C&F believes that these points could also be regulated within the scope of a withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK.