Conference reveals strong support for Unitary Patent package

8 July 2016

Strong support expressed by renowned experts for Unitary Patent package following UK referendum on EU membership

At a conference organized by Premier Cercle hosted at the European Patent Office’s headquarters in Munich yesterday, leading experts gathered to discuss the latest state of play of the Unitary Patent package and the potential implications of the vote in the UK in favour of leaving the European Union.

EPO president Benoît Battistelli

In his opening address before an audience of over two hundred participants composed of academics, attorneys, government representatives and other experts, President Benoît Battistelli made clear that the recent referendum has no impact on the UK’s continued membership of the European Patent Organisation. As concerns the impact on the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court, President Battistelli stated that "There are a variety of good reasons for the UK to ratify the UPC Agreement, which is an international agreement. I am convinced that with the support of the user community the right solutions can and will be found".

A number of other participants expressed their strong belief that the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court will go ahead despite the vote in the UK, among them the Chairman of the Select Committee, Jérôme Debrulle, and the Chairman of the UPC Preparatory Committee, Alexander Ramsay. They both presented the latest milestones in the implementation of the patent package. They stressed in particular that pending more clarity about the impact of the outcome of the referendum the work dedicated to the technical implementation continues to progress as envisaged in line with the clear wish of the user community to bring the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent into operation as soon as possible.

Margot Fröhlinger, Principal Director for the Unitary Patent, European & International Legal Affairs, recalled that this project has been an obstacle course from the beginning and expressed her confidence that with the support of the user community this ultimate hurdle can also be overcome. She stressed that the work on the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court was far too advanced and has developed too much momentum for the project to come to a halt.

Over twenty speakers from thirteen countries spread over three continents debated the implementation of the Unitary Patent scheme, and how the system could look in the future post-Brexit. In addition to those mentioned above, these speakers also included other notable experts, such as Professor Ansgar Ohly (Chair of Civil Law, Intellectual Property and Competition Law, University of Munich), Max Brunner (Chargé de Mission of the UPC at the French Justice Ministry), György Kozma (Chair of the UPC Working Group on HR and Judicial matters), as well as prominent judges from a number of jurisdictions and representatives from various industries.

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