A step that everyone was waiting for, the UK Government have formally withdrawn the ratification of the UPC agreement and taken the final step back from the Unified Patent Court.
A project which was designed to create one Europe wide patent system, the Unified Patent system and the creation of the Unified Patent Courts had hit a number of road blocks. The biggest roadblock is Brexit.
The UK were a big part of the creation and inception of the UPC and it was riding on the UK staying on board. However, with the UK voting to leave the EU, it caused a big problem. It wasn’t clear whether the UK was not going to stay within the UPC system as the legislation was ratified by Parliament in 2018, two years after the Brexit vote.
It is our understanding that the UK tried to remain part of the project, as it didn’t solely set out to just be relating to the EU, however this did not work. The UK Government’s aim to become independent of Europe and that could not apply if the UPC agreement was to go ahead.
Therefore on 20th July 2020, a statement was made in Parliament confirming the following:
Today, by means of a Note Verbale, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court.
In view of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom no longer wishes to be a party to the Unified Patent Court system. Participating in a court that applies EU law and is bound by the CJEU would be inconsistent with the Government’s aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation.”
It is unclear if this spells the end of the UPC system as a whole, as London and the UK had a crucial role in the system as initially agreed.
It is now a wait for those of us in the industry to see what the next steps for the system will be. Watch this space!