The European Patent Organisation (EPO), one of the primary routes for patent filing in the UK, recently issued a statement regarding the UK’s membership of the EPO post-Brexit. The President of the EPO states ‘unequivocally’ that:

“Brexit will have no effect on UK membership of the European Patent Organisation and that European patent attorneys based in the UK will continue to be able to represent applicants before the EPO after the UK leaves the European Union.”

The EPO’s reassurance will be welcomed by businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK, for whom the EPO remains one of the best ways to secure intellectual property rights and capitalise on innovation.

By filing with the EPO, applicants can protect their inventions in all EPO member states. The EPO currently has 38 contracting states, several of which are outside the EU. As mentioned in our wider Brexit guidance, the EPO is not an EU institution, and therefore Brexit has no bearing upon it, or upon the UK’s continued membership.

Alongside the EPO, patents covering the UK are also granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). Applications for patents can be filed directly with the UKIPO or EPO, or as international patent applications under the procedures of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) in Geneva. None of these bodies is an EU institution and they will continue to function after Brexit just as before.