After many years of preparation the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court seemed at last to happen. Only about a week ago, Germany announced that it was ready to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement. The only remaining step for the Agreement to enter into force then would have been its ratification by the UK and just one more EU member state. Therefore, there was a great disappointment among those that had looked forward to the new unitary patent system when it became clear that the UK citizens had voted yes to leaving the EU on June 23. UK leaving the EU implies that it will not be possible to obtain a Unitary patent valid in the UK, although European patents and patent applications will still be available for that country.
After the British referendum, many questions on the future of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court will need to be answered, not least because one of the three central divisions of the Court was planned to be located in London.
However, already on the first day after the referendum, the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, declared that the EPO expects the UK and the states participating in the unitary patent system to “find a solution as soon as possible which will allow a full implementation of these so-long awaited achievements”. Thus, the story will continue!