UK will not participate in the UPC

August 2020

On 20 July 2020, it was announced that the UK had made its final preparation to withdraw from the Unified Patent Court project.   

A formal withdrawal of ratification was deposited, as well as a parliamentary written statement in the House of Commons by Amanda Solloway (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation) stating as follows:

"UNIFIED PATENT COURT

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the UK’s withdrawal from the Unified Patent Court system.

Today, by means of a Note Verbale, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court (dated 23 April 2018) in respect of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, and its consent to be bound by the Protocol to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court on provisional application (dated on 6 July 2017) (collectively “the Agreements”).

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.

The Agreements have not yet entered into force. However, in order to ensure clarity regarding the United Kingdom’s status in respect of the Agreements and to facilitate their orderly entry into force for other States without the participation of the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom has chosen to withdraw its ratification of the Agreements at this time. The United Kingdom considers that its withdrawals shall take effect immediately and that it will be for the remaining participating states to decide the future of the Unified Patent Court system".

It has long been speculated that the unitary patent and UPC could continue without the UK, but how this might look in reality is unknown.  The UPC Preparatory Committee will now convene to discuss the consequences of the UK withdrawal and agree a way forward.  Once this has been settled, a further announcement will be made.