The UK has taken 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was tabled in the House of Commons on 20th July 2020 indicating that, by means of a Note Verbale, the UK had withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC).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.
The Government has just published a document setting out the UK’s approach to the negotiations with the EU that may have put an end once and for all to the UK’s involvement in the Unitary Patents (UP) project. As noted not too long ago here, after the Brexit referendum vote, under both the May administration and the Johnson administration, the UK government has repeatedly expressed an intention to bring an end to the European Court of Justice (ECJ)’s jurisdiction.In a way, then, it cannot come as a major surprise that in the UK’s negotiating objectives – which have just been published – the Government has essentially reiterated that concept. Whilst a future relationship with the EU is envisaged that is based on friendly cooperation between sovereign equals, this is meant to be one where both parties respect one another’s legal autonomy, and the Government has explicitly stated that they “will not agree to any obligations for UK laws to be aligned with the EU’s, or for the EU’s institutions, including the ECJ, to have any jurisdiction in the UK.”
So, it’s finally happening. At 11pm (UK time) tonight, 31 January 2020, the UK is leaving the EU – whether or not Big Ben bongs to ring out the changes. And what changes will there be on the IP front? The short answer, in the short term, is: absolutely none. EU law will continue to operate in the UK during the transition period, exactly as it currently does. The transition period will be from 1 February 2020 – 31 December 2020 unless an extension is obtained, which the Prime Minister has promised will not happen. The IP system will therefore continue as it currently does in the UK and the EU until at least the end of this year, without any disruption or changes.
Unitary patent: we provide an overview of the current status of the UPC system and what we might expect to happen in the coming year.
Frequently asked questions regarding Brexit and CPVRs
Frequently asked questions regarding Brexit and SPCs
A brief update on IP rights after Brexit.
The EU General Court confirmed a decision of the EUIPO Board of Appeal to cancel an EUTM registration of ALCOLOCK.