The UK government yesterday published its approach to the Brexit negotiations: The Future Relationship with the EU – The UK’s Approach to Negotiations. Regarding the UK’s participation in the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court, a government spokesperson said: “The UK will not be seeking involvement in the UP/UPC system. Participating in a court that applies EU law and bound by the CJEU is inconsistent with our aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation.”
The UPC project has suffered its fair share of twists and turns and changes of circumstances. However, this is undoubtedly a blow to the project. The UK is a key participant and the whole project has been framed around the UK’s participation.
It remains to be seen what will happen next. As matters stand the UK has ratified the UPC Agreement but its implementation is being held up because Germany has not yet ratified and there is also the German constitutional challenge. Whilst the UK does not intend to participate, the remaining participant Member States will need to consider whether the project remains viable without the UK.