The EU Referendum is now set for 23 June 2016. Welcome to four months of speculation. Will it be NoGo or BoGo?
While watching Boris do his bit for party unity on Sunday, IPcopy started wondering what a Brexit would do to the implementation of the unitary patent system. As previously discussed on this blog, if the UK exits the EU then UK European Patent Attorneys will still be able to represent parties at the unified patent court by virtue of the provisions of Article 48(2) UPC Agreement. However, will a Brexit impact the unitary patent system coming online?
Cue the Brexit Brake? flowchart…
Mark Richardson 23 February 2016
In the event of a Leave vote I would assume a Protocol could be quickly agreed to remove the UK from the patent court treaty. Worth mentioning also that the CJEU ruled that non-EU countries could not sign up to the treaty. So the simple expedient of keeping the UK as a party would not work.
Thanks for your comment Steve
I’m sure something would get arranged fairly quickly in the event of a Leave vote! It would mean that The Netherlands would need to be in a position to ratify as well though (I believe they were fourth in the list of Member States with the highest number of EP patents in effect in the year preceding the signing of the UPC Agreement). I do wonder as well if negotiations on the relocation of the London part of the central division might cause delays.
One thing I did recall was attending a conference back in the summer of 2014 at which Alexander Ramsay was speaking. I asked him in one of the Q&As about a Brexit event. I wasn’t being too serious but he said by way of an answer that the Prep Committee had enough issues to deal with without looking for potential problems as well. I wonder if now they’ll make preparations for the possibility?
Love the inclusion of “conscious uncoupling”, so nicely introduced by Gwyneth Paltrow. It’s nice to see a pop culture reference in a law blog…
Since much more European patents are validated in Italy (around 40%) than in the Netherlands (around 30%), why should the Netherlands be the fourth country?
Interesting question! I’m fairly certain that The Netherlands had been presented as being in the Number 4 position in conferences I’ve attended. However that probably does predate Italy signing up. We’ve generally found validation statistics pretty hard to locate so if you have any good resources then please let us know. I believe we’re interested in the stats for 2012.
Page 88: http://www.uibm.gov.it/attachments/Report2012.pdf
28764 validations in 2012 (more than 40% of the granted EPs), which should be by far higher than the number of validations in The Netherlands (however I do not have exact figures for this country).
It should be also noted that in 2014 the Dutch GDP was around 40% of the Italian GDP:
Incidentally, the number of EPs granted in 2012 with an Italian patentee was higher (3,4%) than the number of EPs with a Dutch patentee (2,6%) and even with a UK patentee (3,1%):
OK, so I agree that the next country in the validation list appears to be Italy as you pointed out. I’ve seen other commentary now that Italy is 4th and the Netherlands 5th. Still looking for decent validation stats though for the Netherlands!