New UK IP Minister

New UK IP Minister

24 January 2018

The UK IPO has confirmed that Sam Gyimah is now the Minister responsible for IP.  He has recently been appointed as Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, in the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and his responsibilities in that role include IP.  (He has also been appointed as Minister for Higher Education.)  Regarding the UK’s participation in the Unified Patent Court (UPC), the previous IP Minister (Jo Johnson) guided the remaining legislation required through Parliament, and (as reported here) the only legislative step remaining is the Privy Council’s approval of one draft Statutory Instrument: the Unified Patent Court (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2017  , and this is expected to take place in the Privy Council’s next meeting in early February.  The UK will then be in a position to ratify both the UPC’s Protocol on Privileges and Immunities and the UPC Agreement itself.   As ratification must be effected by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on behalf of the UK, the next step will be for the IPO to request it to do so.  The final step will be preparation of a formal letter (signed by Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary) stating that the UK agrees to be bound by the UPC Agreement and the UPC’s Protocol on Privileges and Immunities, which will be deposited with the EU Council’s General Secretariat in accordance with Article 84(3) UPC Agreement.   Regarding the new IP Minister’s responsibilities, as reported here, both the BEIS and the Department for Exiting the EU recently received a request from UK IP organisations for government action in light of Brexit to ensure legal certainty regarding the UPC (and all IP law).

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