UK designers could still be able to protect their ideas throughout Europe following Brexit, under a new EU intellectual property initiative.
The government has announced its intention to proceed with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement in what is its first commitment to an EU initiative since the Brexit result in June, reports the Financial Times.
Patent through single court
Ratifying the agreement would mean design businesses could apply for patent protection across Europe with a single patent and through a single court, protecting them from being copied illegally by businesses in other countries.
This would only apply if designers apply for and are successful in obtaining a patent. However, most designers rely on EU and UK unregistered design rights, according to Anti Copying in Design (ACID).
Minister of state for intellectual property, Baroness Neville Rolfe, says: “The new system will provide an option for businesses that need to protect their inventions across Europe. The UK has been working with partners in Europe to develop this option.”
“Cut red tape and unnecessary expenses”
ACID CEO, Dids Macdonald describes the announcement as “good news” for designers, and will “presumably [cut] red tape and unnecessary expenses”.
“This will mean a single court will deal with patent issues across Europe and, presumably the Preparatory Committee will want to bring this forward as soon as possible,” says Macdonald. “After all, it has taken nearly 40 years to negotiate! A lifetime for those with a commercial interest in cost and time effective litigation across borders.
While the UPC is an EU initiative, the court itself is not an EU institution but an international patent court with a judiciary including UK judges.