Q&As

What impact will Brexit have on patents and SPCs?

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Produced in partnership with Joshua Marshall of Fieldfisher
Published on LexisPSL on 18/07/2017

The following IP Q&A produced in partnership with Joshua Marshall of Fieldfisher provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What impact will Brexit have on patents and SPCs?
  • European and UK Patent Systems
  • SPCs and paediatric extension
  • Unitary patents and the UPC
  • Preparing for Brexit

How will European patents and the UK patent system be affected, if at all? What will happen to existing Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) and paediatric extensions and will they still be available after Brexit? What will Brexit mean for the future of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the UK’s involvement in the system? Are there any practical steps that patent and/or SPC proprietors should be taking to prepare for Brexit?

European and UK Patent Systems

Brexit will not affect the existing European patent system because the European Patent Convention (EPC), which established the European Patent Office and governs the grant of European patents, is a treaty between contracting states, not a piece of EU legislation. The UK will remain a signatory to the EPC irrespective of whether they are a member of the EU, as is the case for Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Similarly, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which allows an applicant to file one patent application designating multiple jurisdictions, is not a piece of EU legislation and will remain unaffected. As such, the European Patent Office and World Intellectual Property Office (which are responsible for publishing European and PCT patent applications respectively) will continue to occupy the same roles in relation to the patent system in the UK as they do now.

Where Brexit will have an effect is in relation to patentable subject

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