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UK will no longer seek to participate in unitary patent and UPC

March 2020

The UK Government has confirmed the UK will no longer seek to be part of the proposed unitary patent (UP) or Unified Patent Court (UPC) systems. Given the UPC’s alignment with the CJEU, this is not entirely surprising for the UK in a post-Brexit world.

Although it will be unwelcome news for many, the certainty of this new stance may mean the UP and UPC can again pick up momentum, subject to the ongoing legal challenge in Germany and re-working of the agreements without the UK’s participation.

Should the UP and UPC agreements be ratified as per the current proposals, UK business will still be able to use the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent to protect their inventions within the contracting EU countries. However, in the UK, businesses will only have the option of protecting their inventions using national patents (including patents available from the non-EU European Patent Office) and UK courts.

UK business will still be open to litigation within the Unified Patent Court based on actions they undertake within the contracting EU countries if they infringe existing rights.

EU business will not be able to use the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent to protect their inventions within the UK but will be able to apply for domestic UK rights as they can now, via the UK Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office.

This update was prepared by HGF Partner Martyn Fish. If you would like further advice on this or any other matter, please contact Martyn.  Alternatively, you can contact your usual HGF representative or visit our Contact page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.

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