(Last updated on October 7, 2020)
On June 23, 2016, the UK voted in favor of “Leave.” On March 29, 2017, the UK government formally informed the European Union of its intention to leave the EU, which became effective on January 31, 2020. Brexit has thus become a reality since February 1, 2020 and the planned European unitary patent may have failed. It would be astonishing if one of the central chambers came to be located in London and thus in a non-participating Member State. Additional negotiations would be necessary to adapt the EU patent to the changed framework conditions. Among other things, it would have to be clarified where the central division would be located instead of London as originally intended. In addition, annual fees may have to be reduced because of the lower territorial scope. It remains to be seen whether these negotiations would be successful or whether the intent of a European unitary patent would be questioned in its entirety.
In any event, the negotiations would require some time, so that the EU patent could not be realized in 2017. Since the European Union will probably incur significant changes due to Brexit, no serious forecast about a long-term perspective can be made yet.
For the time being, therefore, the following motto applies to European patent law: Keep calm and carry on! EP patents may continue to be registered at the European Patent Office and validated in the UK. The European Patent Office and the European Patent granted by the European Patent Office have nothing to do with the European Union and is therefore not affected by Brexit.