The UK referendum that will set the direction of the UK's future relationship with the European Union (EU) will be held on 23 June 2016.
The outcome of the referendum will determine whether the UK recommits to full membership of the EU or starts a process of negotiation (expected to take at least two years) to establish a new relationship with the continuing member states. Given the UK's global importance as the fifth largest economy in the world and its dominant position in many business sectors, notably financial and professional services including intellectual property and other areas of law, the UK will continue to be a key trading partner with other European markets.
It is too soon to predict the outcome of the referendum, although the UK Government has already declared its support for continuing with full EU membership, as have the major opposition parties.
The European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) are of course not instruments of the European Union. The creation of the EPC and the EPO pre-dates the establishment of the European Union in its current form by many years and the EPC signatories include several countries that are not members of the EU. Whatever the shape of the UK 's long-term relationship with the EU, the UK will remain a member of the EPC, and UK patent attorney firms will continue to represent clients from around the world at the EPO to obtain national European Patents and Unified (European) Patents in due course. Further, the EPC permits all European patent attorneys to have a place of business in Germany, where the EPO is located. J A Kemp will therefore be able to continue to provide the high quality service its clients have come to expect, including maintaining its Munich office, regardless of the outcome of the referendum and any subsequent negotiations.