The Unified Patent Court Preparatory Committee has announced that, notwithstanding uncertainty caused by Brexit, Europe’s Unified Patent Court is
to open December 1st 2017. This follows ratification of the agreement this coming November despite uncertainties over the UK’s Brexit negotiations. The court, part of which is to be based in London, will hear unitary patent disputes.
The Court’s Preparatory Committee suggest London’s Court will hear disputes regarding International Patent Classifications C, Chemistry and International Patent Classifications A, Human Necessities.
Upon the Unified Patent Court being established, it will serve as a judicial framework underpinning a new, unitary patent system. Businesses will then apply to the European Patent Office for unitary patents which, if granted, will confer patent protection for their inventions. The protection will apply to every country giving recognition to the unitary patent regime, which looks to be most, if not all EU member states.
Businesses are currently able to obtain EU-wide patent protection, but only after patents are ratified in each EU state, incurring significant translation costs for businesses along the way.
Disputes regarding unitary patents and European patents that have not opted out of the Unified Patent Court’s system during a transition period will be resolved before the new courts.
UK minister for intellectual property, Baroness Neville Rolfe said in November 2016 that the UK will ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement, despite June’s 2016 Brexit result. However, this is not guaranteed as currently the Unified Patent Court Agreement requires countries participating in the new Unitary Patent and Unitary Patent Court’s system to be EU members.
Let’s hope for the sake of interested parties up and down the country Britain’s Brexit negotiations, headed by Brexit Secretary David Davis, can get the job done.