As we anticipated here just days before the country went into lockdown, the UK has proceeded to take a further and more definitive step towards the end of its involvement in the Unitary Patent (UP) project.
A written statement by Amanda Solloway (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation) was tabled in the House of Commons on 20th July 2020 indicating that, by means of a Note Verbale, the UK had withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC).
By withdrawing its ratification, the UK has clarified once and for all its status in respect of the Agreement. Amanda Solloway’s statement suggests that, by doing so, the UK has intended to facilitate an orderly entry into force of the Agreement for the other States involved.
However, there are critical matters that will need to be dealt with as a result of the UK’s withdrawal. The Preparatory Committee, which is composed of all the Signatory States to the UPC agreement, has indicated that they will now convene to discuss the consequences of the UK withdrawal and agree a way forward, and have promised an update once this has been settled. It seems inevitable that the text of the UPC Agreement will have to be revised, and the choice of a new location for one of the three central UP Court divisions will likely be one of the hottest topics of discussion among the Signatory States.
Meanwhile, things in Germany appear a lot more positive as the word on the street has it that the Continental side remains supportive of the UPC. More specifically, the German government plans to move forward with the UPC. Although the decision in the German Constitutional court went against the UPC, it left the way open for Germany to re-ratify. Earlier this summer, the German government published a statement on how to ratify in a way that would be constitutional.
We will certainly keep an eye on this and provide updates in case of further developments later this year.
Reddie & Grose also has offices in Munich and The Hague.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.