20 December 2016
Reporter: Barney Dixon

UK signs UPC protocol

The UK has signed the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Protocol on Privileges and Immunities ahead of its ratification of the UPC Agreement.

The protocol gives EU privileges and immunities to the judges of the UPC in countries hosting divisions of the court.

Paul England, senior associate at Taylor Wessing, said this is a part of the UK IP Office’s ratification timetable that will be presented to Parliament around February and March next year.

“As soon as the German ratification is deposited, if not before the UK, the provisional period of the UPC will begin. Parties can begin to opt-out European patents from the UPC during this time period,” England explained.

The UK recently pledged to ratify the UPC Agreement, despite the country’s vote to leave the EU in June.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, UK minister of state for intellectual property, said at the time: “The new system will provide an option for businesses that need to protect their inventions across Europe.”

“The UK has been working with partners in Europe to develop this option.”

But the minister was quick to allay any pre-emption of the UK’s objectives or position in the forthcoming negotiations with the EU.

“For as long as we are members of the EU the UK will continue to play a full and active role. We will seek the best deal possible as we negotiate a new agreement with the EU. We want that deal to reflect the mature, cooperative relationship that close friends and allies enjoy.”

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