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Unitary Patent & the Brexit Brake

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IMG_8533The 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…



Brexit brakeMark Richardson 23 February 2016


  1. Steve Peers says:

    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.

    • ipcopymark says:

      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?

  2. Anonymous says:

    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…

  3. Anonymous says:

    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?

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