UK's Intention To Ratify UPCA Brings Existence Of A Single European Patent Court Closer

Author:Mr Gertjan Kuipers, Jan Pieter Hustinx, Tobias Cohen Jehoram, Tjibbe Douma, Oscar Lamme and Bertrand Ter Woort
Profession:De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek N.V.

British participation in setting up the Unified Patent Court has been uncertain since the vote for Brexit in June 2016, but the UK government recently confirmed that it is continuing to prepare for ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. This is welcome news for all those who want to see a single European patent court.

Several EU countries are striving to set up a common specialised patent court. This Unified Patent Court (UPC) will have competence in respect of European patents and European patents with unitary effect. UPC rulings will have effect in all states that have signed and ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA). Holders of these types of patents need only apply to one single patent court whose jurisdiction extends to almost the entire EU single market. This will be a huge change from the current system, which generally requires litigation on a country-by-country basis.

The UPC will come into existence after the UPCA enters into force. For this to happen, 13 of the 25 participating states must have ratified the UPCA. The UPCA requires that the 13 states must include the three EU countries with the highest number of European patents in force in 2012 (Germany, the UK and France). Meanwhile, 11 participating states, including France and...

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