Jo Johnson MP has been appointed as the UK’s Minister for Intellectual Property, shortly before Brexit negotiations are expected to begin.
The impact of Brexit on IP, in particular trade marks, is difficult to predict. It may therefore be of interest that Mr Johnson is widely recognised as being pro-European, having campaigned for the ‘Remain’ side during the UK referendum.
Regarding patents, Mr Johnson has already emphasised the Government’s view that the UK’s participation in the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is of value to UK businesses and inventors, and that it wants to be present at the birth of the UPC. This is possible because the UPC is not an EU institution, and ratification is independent of the UK's status as an EU Member State.
The instrument of ratification will be signed by Mr Johnson’s brother: Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Pending ratification by Germany, patent owners may then need to review their European portfolios ahead of the UPC potentially coming into operation in December 2017.