Whatever future relationship the UK has with the rest of the EU, the effect of the Great Repeal Bill, once enacted, will mean that any existing intellectual property law having effect in the UK will continue to apply as it did post-Brexit, although it will be for the UK Government to adapt or amend it subsequently. That means that intellectual property law will continue to contain all of the concepts implemented from EU Directives or applicable from EU Regulations. However, EU-wide rights defined as applying “in the EU” will no longer apply in the UK and the Government will need to consider providing replacement rights, provision for which would need to be in place prior to Brexit.
Patents: UK designated European patents (EPs) will continue to apply in the UK and will still be able to be applied for at the European Patent Office and nationally granted UK patents will also be available. However, although the UK Government announced in November 2016 that the UK would ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) and would take part in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and thus the new unitary patent (UP) right (see our ebulletin on this development and further information on the UPC and UP on the UPC hub on our website). Once it has left the EU, the UP will no longer cover the UK and it is unlikely that the UK could continue as part of the UPC system. It is worth noting that none of Spain, Poland, and Croatia is currently planning to participate in the UPC (or UP) so the UK will not be alone in this. The UK is required to ratify the UPC Agreement before it can come into effect. This requirement applies while the UK is still a member of the EU (France, Germany and the UK must be amongst the 13 or more ratifiers as they were the EU States with the most patent applications at the time of signature of the UPC Agreement)…
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