27 January 2017
London
Reporter: Mark Dugdale

UPC ratification document doesn’t mention CJEU


The UK Conservative government appears to be avoiding any mention of the Court of Justice of the EU’s (CJEU) role in the upcoming Unified Patent Court (UPC).

An explanatory memorandum to the protocol on privileges and immunities of the UPC was submitted by UK IP minister Jo Johnson to accompany a 20 January command paper to British Parliament ahead of ratification.

It expressly said the “EU is not a signatory” to the agreement that creates the new patent court, while adding: “The UPC forms a separate jurisdiction to the national court systems and it will not be part of the UK court system.”

“The UPC Agreement establishes a specialised non-EU patent court under international law with jurisdiction for disputes relating to European patents in 25 European countries. The agreement is between 25 EU countries (not Spain, Croatia or Poland), the EU is not a signatory.”

But as one lawyer recently pointed out in a recent article on the future of the unitary patent system: “The UPC recognises the ultimate supremacy of EU law as decided by the CJEU. It remains to be seen whether the UK will continue as part of the unitary patent system once it leaves the EU.”

The CJEU’s supremacy over UK law has been a major campaign issue for anti-EU campaigners for years. The UK government’s reluctance to mention the CJEU in UPC documents could stem from the country’s vote leave the EU in June last year.

Since the Brexit vote, the incumbent Conservative government has been under significant pressure to reveal its negotiating position ahead of triggering Article 50 and beginning the two-year exit process that it mandates.

The government lost a significant court case earlier this week, with the UK Supreme Court ruling that Article 50 could not be triggered without Parliament’s permission. This put its self-imposed deadline of March for formally announcing the country’s withdrawal from the EU in serious doubt.

Earlier in January, the UPC preparatory committee said it expects the unitary patent system to become operational in December. It is working under the assumption that the provisional application phase will begin at the end of spring 2017, meaning that the projected timeline for the UPC Agreement to enter into force will be at the end of this year.

More Europe news
The latest news from IPPro Patents
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Businesses should prepare for UPC, despite uncertainty
17 October 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Businesses should make preparations for the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent, despite mounting uncertainty surrounding when, if at all, the court will come into effect
Patent ‘irrationality’ causes a negative image of patents
16 October 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Spectators are far more accepting of copyright and trademarks than they are of patents because of “irrationality”, according to Sir Robin Jacob
SUEPO willing to work with new EPO president
12 October 2017 | Munich | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A source close to the Staff Union of the European Patent Office has revealed it is always willing to work with whoever is elected to lead the European Patent Office
Tech companies create SEP code of conduct
10 October 2017 | Paris | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Nokia and Airbus are among technology companies, represented by research and development organisation IP Europe, that are aiming to create an industry code of conduct on licensing standard essential patents
MPP signs HIV drug deal with Gilead
04 October 2017 | Switzerland | Reporter: Jenna Lomax
The UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) has signed a new generic manufacturing licence with Gilead Sciences for HIV treatments in Europe and the US
EIP bolsters its Düsseldorf office
29 September 2017 | Düsseldorf | Reporter: Jenna Lomax
Christof Höhne joins EIP as partner at the beginning of October and will work alongside partner Michael Munsch
Nokia and LG complete arbitration
18 September 2017 | Espoo | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Nokia and LG Electronics have finally settled their patent licence dispute at the International Court of Arbitration