UK progresses legislation required to ratify the UPC Agreement


Both Houses of Parliament have this week debated and approved the draft ‘The Patents (European Patent with Unitary Effect and Unified Patent Court) Order 2016’, this Statutory Instrument (SI) being one of the two SIs required to enable the UK to ratify the UPC Agreement. This SI will come into force when the UPC Agreement comes into force, and will give effect to the UPC Agreement and EU legislation on the Unitary patent by making certain changes to the UK Patents Act 1977.  The other SI is required to endorse the UPC Protocol on Privileges and Immunities and, as that Protocol was agreed by the UPC Preparatory Committee last week, work will start shortly on drafting the SI.  Therefore the UK remains on track to ratify the UPC Agreement by mid-2016, and to be ready for an early 2017 opening of the Court.  The IPO has stated that the UK’s EU referendum will have no effect on this (government policy being to proceed on all matters on the basis that the UK will remain in the EU).  In the House of Commons debate on Tuesday on the SI, it was noted that if the UK left the EU after the referendum it would no longer be able to take part in the UPC.  The House of Lords’ debate on the SI the following day did not touch on a possible Brexit but included the issues previously considered by its Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee and also the issue of the Isle of Man; it was explained that although the SI does not cover the Isle of Man there will be a separate Order, the Isle of Man government having indicated they would like to take part in the UPC system.

Dominic Adair


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