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Single European patent court “will protect patent attorney jobs post Brexit”


The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) has said that a single European patent court will mean “good news” for business – and UK-based European Patent Attorneys will be able to continue work at the EPO unaffected by Brexit.


Intellectual Property Minister Sam Gyimah announced that the UK had ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement on World IP Day on 26 April, during an event at the House of Commons held by the Intellectual Property Awareness Network.


A single European patent court has been planned for years and only ratification by Germany is necessary for the court to come into existence, safeguarding European patent jobs in the UK after Britain leaves the European Union in 2019.


The Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent will offer businesses a more simplified way of protecting their intellectual property and enforcing their rights across Europe.


CIPA President Stephen Jones said that, despite Brexit, the UK would be able to play a full role because the UPC would be an international court, not an EU institution.


“CIPA welcomes the UK’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement,” said Mr Jones.


“The UPC has the potential to benefit businesses by streamlining the process of enforcing patents – CIPA believes that the UPC will be a better system with UK involvement. 


“The UK has well established regimes for enforcement of patents – and judges who are respected in Europe and worldwide for their understanding of patent law. 


“The UK has been extensively involved in the discussions leading to the establishment of the UPC – and CIPA has been pleased to play a part in that. 


“The UPC Agreement is not an EU instrument, so it is an initiative in which the UK is able to play a full part, despite Brexit. It is a good example of international cooperation which is consistent with the UK moving forward as an innovation led economy.”


The court’s central division will have its seat in Paris, with specialist sub-divisions in London to hear pharmaceutical and life science cases – and in Munich to hear mechanical engineering cases.


It is currently possible to file a European patent application at the European Patent Office (EPO) – another non-EU organisation. If granted, this becomes a bundle of national patents validated and enforced in each country where protection was requested.


UK-based European Patent Attorneys will continue their work at the EPO unaffected by Brexit, said the CIPA – and the Unitary Patent will offer businesses a single route to patent protection, which can be enforced in a single action before the Unified Patent Court.



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