The delegated legislation required to extend the effects of the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) system to the Isle of Man was laid before Parliament on 22 February 2017 (here). As reported on 4 March 2016, the publication of this secondary legislation is one of the remaining procedural steps necessary in order for the UK to complete its constitutional procedures with respect to the European Union legislation regarding the unitary patent and ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement.
The Isle of Man is a Crown dependency, and although it does not have its own Register of Patents, it has chosen to be subject to the UK Patents Act 1977 legislation; the Manx government had also previously requested that Unitary patent and UPC legislation be extended to include their island. This newly-published Statutory Instrument has the equivalent effect of the previously published UK amending legislation, The Patents (European Patent with Unitary Effect and Unified Patent Court) Order 2016 (SI 2016/388) (agreed on 12 March 2016), but will, instead, amend Isle of Man legislation (Patents (Isle of Man) Order 2013 (S.I. 2013/2602)) to ensure that the Patents Act 1977 has the additional modifications for Isle of Man coverage.
The Patents (Isle of Man) (Amendment) Order 2017 will be subject to the Parliamentary ‘negative resolution procedure’ for Statutory Instruments and so will ‘sit’ before the Houses of Parliament for 40 days, and will automatically become law unless there is an objection from Parliament. This means that completion of the Parliamentary steps for this Order will be just after Easter 2017, as no allowance is made for the time when Parliament is in prorogue or not sitting; the Order will not come into effect, however, until the entry into force of the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court, which is expected to be around 3 months after the final mandatory country (Germany) has ratified.
In addition to the developments regarding the Isle of Man, the Command Paper (European Union Series No. 1 (2017)), for the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court (Cm. 9405), which will give legal personality to the international court divisions in the UK, is currently before the UK Parliament and has 3 ‘sitting days’ left. Once this ‘sitting’ period is completed, a ratified version of the Privilege and Immunities Protocol will be published. To enact this Protocol into UK law, we still await publication of the Statutory Instruments for Privileges and Immunities (PPI) for Scotland and the UK, and their subsequent passages through the parliaments, which are expected shortly. This step will complete the UK’s constitutional steps regarding the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court.
The Unified Patent Court is still on track to open in December 2017.