Unified Patent Court - Bristows
The proposed Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent system would represent the most important change ever seen in European patent litigation. Although the UK’s referendum decision to leave the EU means not only that the UPC is highly unlikely to come into operation in spring 2017 as anticipated but also that there will need to be some changes to the system (at the very least to take account of the UK possibly ceasing to be an EU member state), what will happen is far from clear.
What is clear, however, is that the UPC project is by no means dead, particularly having come so close to the introduction of a centralised European patent litigation system after 40 years of negotiations, and at present companies should still plan for the UPC in at least part of Europe. Indeed, the Committees working on the introduction of the UPC and unitary patent are continuing preparations as planned. Meanwhile, the fate and format of the UPC depends on both political and legal issues.
At Bristows we have been involved closely in the project since its inception, gaining insights from participation in groups advising and lobbying on the issue, and advising clients on latest developments and how to prepare for the new regime. Our involvement continues as options are explored and decisions are made.