By Deborah Kirk

The UK will ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement despite the Brexit vote, it was announced yesterday. It is unclear whether this marks the start of a long participation of the UK in this 40-years-in-the-making unifying change in patent law in Europe or whether Brexit will result in the UK exiting the new system almost as soon as it has signed up to it.

The unitary patent (UP), or “patent with unitary effect” is in the senior stages of adoption after four decades of preparation and negotiation. When introduced, UPs will protect an invention in all participating Member States of the EU in a uniform manner. UPs will be subject to the jurisdiction of a new Unitary Patent Court (UPC) whose judgments will be binding on participating states in so far as they apply to UPs under the Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA).