UPC: UK signs Protocol on Privileges and Immunities
16 December 2016
On Wednesday 14 December, the UK signed the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities of the Unified Patent Court.
Signing of this protocol, which is necessary for the UPC to function as an international court, is a relatively minor step on the road to UK ratification. More significantly, it will need to be given effect in UK law to allow the London-based divisions of the UPC to operate in the UK. This requires the approval of relevant legislation by Parliament and only once that is done can the UK take the major step of actually ratifying the UPC Agreement itself.
The timing of all these actions is likely to be very similar to that of the UK's projected notice that it will leave the EU, to be given under Article 50 of the EU Treaty. That is expected to happen by the end of March 2017.
We are continually monitoring progress towards ratification of the UPC Agreement by the UK and Germany, which are the two major essential steps necessary for the UPC to commence. We will also continue to post updates on any progress towards possible UK continued participation in the UPC post Brexit, which is a significant issue for industry, as well as the completion of the practical steps required for the UPC to be ready to open for business. We expect the UPC Preparatory Committee to publish a revised roadmap to commencement as soon as it can and we will post a link to that as soon as it is available