Baroness Neville-Rolfe, UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property, has just announced that the UK is proceeding with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). According to the UKIPO press release the UK will be working with the Preparatory Committee to bring the Unified Patent Court (UPC) into operation as soon as possible.
This is an unexpected announcement and a highly positive sign for the future of the UPCA. As we previously discussed, there has been widespread support across Europe for continued UK involvement in the UPC following the vote to leave the European Union. The London branch of the Central Division, which will deal with human necessities (including pharmaceutical and biotechnology) cases, is already in place. The necessary statutory instruments are already drafted and will now have to pass through Parliament. Although Germany is still to ratify the agreement, we can now expect the new system to come into force within the next 12 months.
We will continue to report on developments in relation to the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court and look forward to advising our clients in relation to European and UK patent matters, including Unitary Patents.