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Yesterday (November 28, 2016), during a meeting of the EU Competitiveness Council, the UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property announced that the UK is proceeding with the preparations towards ratifying the UPCA (Unified Patent Court Agreement). The positive statement from the UK government removes one of the largest obstacles for the realization of the new European system and thus the process of implementing a new European court and a Unitary Patent has taken a great step forward.
After the UK referendum of this summer, the time schedule for the start of the UPC had to be revised. Now, with this new information at hand, there appears to be a possibility that the UPCA will enter into force during the second quarter of 2017. The new system, once up and running, will offer many advantages for applicants and proprietors of European patents and patent applications. However, those who do not initially wish to fall under the jurisdiction of this new court, may use the so-called “sunrise period” to opt-out their patents and applications from the system.
Even though it remains to be seen what will happen with UK’s participation in the UPC once (if) Brexit is initiated, this is still positive news for all users of the European patent system.
More information can also be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-signals-green-light-to-unified-patent-court-agreement