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The UK government confirmed that the UK has now ratified the UPC Agreement. Patent lawyers across Europe have welcomed the news, but warned that the new system of unitary patent protection and dispute resolution it provides for will need to clear further hurdles before it can become operational.

In its statement, the UK government confirmed that there remains uncertainty over the UK’s participation in the new UPC system post-Brexit, despite its ratification of the UPC Agreement. The UPC Agreement currently requires countries participating in the new unitary patent and UPC system to be EU members. The government appeared to suggest that it does not believe the new unitary patent and UPC system will take effect until “at least the end of the expected EU exit implementation period in December 2020”.

Germany has not yet ratified the Agreement. There is an ongoing legal challenge to the proposed reforms in Germany before the country’s Constitutional Court. The case is listed to be heard this year, although a precise date has yet to be set. Details of the complaint filed emerged last year.

London-based expert in patent law in the technology sector Deborah Bould said “there are still two key hurdles to overcome before the new system can become operational. First, the constitutional complaint in Germany. Second, the big question over the UK’s participation in the new system post-Brexit. In this regard, there is vigorous academic debate over whether the UPC Agreement will need to be amended, with conflicting opinions on this issue”.

For further information please refer to our Out-Law article here.

27 Apr 2021



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