First planned for a launch early 2017, the future of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) had become unclear due to the result of the “Brexit” referendum, as explained in our previous newsletter of 24 June 2016.

To read our June newsletter, please click here.

Yesterday, in parallel with the Competitiveness Council, the UK government has now taken position stating that it will “proceed with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA)”. According to the UKIPO, the UK will now work with the UPC Preparatory Committee to bring the Unified Patent Court (UPC) into operation as soon as possible.

In her speech, the UK Minister of State for Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville Rolfe, said:

“(…) for as long as we are members of the EU, the UK will continue to play a full and active role. We will seek the best deal possible as we negotiate a new agreement with the European Union. We want that deal to reflect the kind of mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy. We want it to involve free trade, in goods and services. We want it to give British companies the maximum freedom to trade with and operate in the Single Market - and let European businesses do the same in the UK. (…) But the decision to proceed with ratification should not be seen as pre-empting the UK’s objectives or position in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU.”

The subject was also discussed yesterday during the EU Competitiveness Council and the EU Ministers have welcomed the UK announcement, stating that it will “(…) pave the way for the unitary patent protection system to enter into operation as soon as possible in 2017”.

The next months will thus probably be decisive to clear up some uncertainties regarding the launch of the UPC.

Further patent update: requirement for translation abolished in Belgium as from 1 January 2017

In any case, a recent interesting development for patent owners in Belgium is that, as from 1st January 2017, European patents granted in English will not need to be translated in one of the official languages in order to be validated in Belgium anymore.

With the Belgian Act of 29 June 2016, Belgium has indeed taken the necessary steps to bring its legislation in line with the London Agreement on the application of Article 65 EPC1.

The Agreement has already entered into force in the Netherlands since 2008.