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was tabled in the House of Commons on 20th July 2020 indicating that, by means of a Note Verbale, the UK had withdrawn its ratification of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPC).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.
Insights: Unitary Patent regime
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.”
The EPO says they’d be ready to get going with Unitary Patents later this year. Has anyone else spotted the (Br)elephant in the room? According to a press release published by the European Patent Office (EPO) on 10th January 2020, the EPO president António Campinos and his team have recently met with the Chair of the EPO Unitary Patent (UP) Select Committee and members of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Preparatory Committee from the EU member states. The main item on the agenda for them was a discussion of the most recent developments concerning the implementation of UP and UPC (the so called Unitary Patent package, which we have talked about here).
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.
The UK government yesterday announced that they had ratified the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court. This means that we are just waiting for German ratification, and then the Unified Patent Court, and with it the granting of Unitary Patents across Europe, can begin.
Steve Howe provides an overview of the contents of the EPO’s guide to obtaining, maintaining and managing Unitary Patents.
Aidan Robson reports a challenge to the Unified Patent Agreement launched in the German constitutional court and its likely effect on the UPC timetable.
The previously announced target date for the entry into operation of the UPC, envisaged for December 2017, is now officially abandoned.
After years of effort to implement a satisfactory unitary patent system in Europe, it appears likely that unitary patents and a Unified Patent Court could become a reality in the near future.
We have prepared factsheets on key topics relating to the unitary patent regime. A video presentation is also available.
Key Facts About the Unitary Patent – A short introduction to what a unitary patent is, its relationship to the existing European patent system, and how you will be able to apply for one.
The European Unitary Patent – The geographical coverage of the unitary patent system.
The Unified Patent Court – An overview of the system in which European patents with unitary effect will be litigated, and how the language of the proceedings will be determined.
Translation Requirements for the Unitary Patent – An explanation of the requirements for translations to be provided to the patent office and in the case of disputes.