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UK to ratify the Unified Patent Court agreement

Despite public voting to leave the European Union (EU), the UK Parliament announced on November 28 that it is preparing to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement.

This has come as a good surprise for the UPC Preparatory Committee who has been working hard for the Court to become operational, with or without our British neighbors.

The UK Parliament has not yet addressed the fact that, at present, participants of the UPC agreement should be members of the European Union, and that the Court will be subject to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg. Despite these complex issues that Brexit will raise, the UPC could be opened for business before the end of 2017.

The “sunrise” period for patent proprietors to register whether they want to “opt-out” from the jurisdiction of the UPC could thus start before autumn 2017.

Deciding on the best strategy in that respect will involve considering the strength and value of the relevant patents, with a special care for patents that are jointly-owned or licensed. This will require a careful analysis, and should be planned ahead.

Marion Chajmowicz