UK Parliament approves UPC legislation

3 March 2016

The UK Parliament has now given approval to secondary legislation introducing changes to the UK Patents Act to implement the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (UPC) and EU Regulation establishing the European Patent with Unitary Effect (EPUE).  The draft secondary legislation previously prepared by the UK Intellectual Property Office following conclusion of a public consultation can be found here, and was approved without changes by the House of Lords and House of Commons.

The approved secondary legislation can now be enacted into the UK’s national law.  The UPC will become operational once the Agreement has been ratified by at least thirteen member states including the states in which the highest number of European patents had effect in 2012, namely the UK, France and Germany.  Austria, France, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Malta, Luxembourg, Portugal and Finland have already ratified the Agreement, but the UK and Germany have not.  

The UK has now taken a further step towards ratification by passing of enabling secondary legislation.  The German Government has also recently published draft national legislation that will make it possible for Germany to proceed with ratification – it is anticipated that this legislation will be introduced into the German Parliament before Summer 2016.  It will then go through the usual legislative process in Parliament, including a debate and possible amendment before a final vote.  

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