1. The UK will remain part of the EU until the exit negotiations have been completed. Negotiations can only begin once notice is given to the EU. This is known as “triggering Article 50”. The UK government planned to do this by the end of March 2017, but a recent court decision has ruled that this can only be done by way of a vote in parliament.
  1. Assuming the government wins the vote and Article 50 is invoked, then negotiations will last at least two years.
  1. The UK will no longer be able to participate in the proposed Unitary Patent (UP) or the Unitary Patent Court (UPC).
  1. The proposed division of the UPC, which was to be based in London and was to be responsible for Pharmaceutical and Biotech Patents will now likely be based in Milan.
  1. The UK’s professional body has obtained an opinion that indicates that in theory the UK could still participate in the new system, but this will require renegotiation of various treaties.
  1. Should BREXIT go ahead without such renegotiation, the consequence for patent prosecution will be that the UK will not form part of of any granted UP. Instead, the UK will remain a “validation” country, in-line with Croatia, Spain and Switzerland (the latter not being a member of the EU).
  1. Upon BREXIT the UK patent court will remain as the forum for patent litigation in the UK.
  1. For Trade Marks and Designs, there will be wider consequences.
  1. Once the UK leaves the EU, UK Trade Mark practitioners will no longer be eligible to practice before the EUIPO.
  1.  We are taking steps to allow our Trade Mark and Design attorneys to continue to represent our clients’ interests before the EUIPO.

Paul Chapman, Senior Patent Attorney