Ready Steady Go? … UK ready to ratify the UPC Agreement

The UK has now completed all the remaining legislative formalities necessary before it is in a position to ratify the UPC Agreement and the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities.

On 8 February 2018 the Privy Council approved the Unified Patent Court (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2018. Both Houses of the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament had already approved the draft order, which confers legal status on the Court and its judges, in December 2017.  The Intellectual Property Act 2014 had already authorised ratification and implementation of the UPC Agreement.  

The next stage is for the UK to ratify the UPC Agreement and the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities. Ratification of international treaties is effected by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on behalf of the UK.  The UK Intellectual Property Office is responsible for requesting ratification which will entail signature of a formal instrument by the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, stating that the UK agrees to be bound by the UPC Agreement and the Protocol, followed by its deposit at General Secretariat of the EU Council in Brussels and notification to the European Commission.   

The timing of the UK ratification remains uncertain. In November 2016 the UK Government announced that it would ratify the UPC Agreement, despite the Brexit vote in June 2016, and indeed the legislative framework for ratification is now in place. However, four mandatory ratifying countries, UK, Germany, France and Luxembourg, must ratify before the UPC Agreement can come into force, and so the pending German constitutional challenge needs to be resolved before ratification by others, including the UK, can have the practical effect of triggering the Agreement's entry into force. 

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