The Unified Patent Court and Brexit

Minesoft were pleased to support the recently published Intellectual Property report in The Times. One article discussed a current ‘hot’ topic: The impact of Brexit on Intellectual Property. A key argument from the pro-leave camp was the desire to strip away the red tape and bureaucratic procedures enforced by the European Union. However, when it comes to intellectual property, the procedures are there for a reason.

For example, the Unified Patent Court (UPC), a proposed common patent court open for participation to all members of the EU, shows some of the benefits of EU membership. Although the United Kingdom signalled in November 2016 that they intend to ratify the UPC agreement, there is no guarantee what will happen after Brexit. To continue participating, the UK would need to ratify a new international agreement with the EU and amendments would need to be made to the current UPC agreement.

The UK’s participation in the existing European patent system would remain unaffected by Brexit. There are several other non-EU members who are signatories to the European Patent Convention, including Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. However, the purpose behind the UPC was to streamline Europe’s IP process and to try and make patents more enforceable for smaller businesses. This has now been thrown into turmoil; only time will tell whether a genuine Europe-wide patent will be introduced.

Find out more about the impact of Brexit on intellectual property rights, from trademarks to patents, by reading The Times’ Intellectual Property Report here.