02 February 2017
London
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Brexit whitepaper hints at unitary patent


The UK government’s long awaited Brexit whitepaper has suggested that the country will accept the supremacy of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) in matters of the Unified Patent Court (UPC).

Section 2.3 of the whitepaper said that the UK government will “bring an end to the jurisdiction of the CJEU in the UK”.

But it added that the UK will “continue to honour [its] international commitments and follow international law”.

This commitment could potentially encompass the commitments the UK has to the UPC and the unitary patent system.

Late last month, the UK government avoided any mention of the CJEU’s role in the 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 UK Parliament ahead of ratification.

The memorandum expressly said that the “EU is not a signatory” to the UPC agreement and that the UPC forms a “separate jurisdiction to the national court systems”.

UK members of parliament voted yesterday in favour of triggering Article 50, which must happen before exit negotiations with the EU can begin.

The UK plans to formally announce its intention to leave the EU in March. Negotiations on the manner of its exit must be completed within two years.

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