Fri 23rd Sep 2016

Legal opinion - UK can remain part of Unified Patent Court system after Brexit

Services: International reach, Patents


There is now a legal path to ensuring the UK’s continued participation in the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent following our exit from the European Union according to the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and counsel opinion.

The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys’ (CIPA) is optimistic that the UK will be able to join the Unified Patent Court and remain part of the court system following its exit from the European Union.


The Intellectual Property Federation, the Intellectual Property Lawyers Association and CIPA instructed Richard Gordon QC, EU and constitutional law expert, to advise on the impact of Brexit on the UK’s participation in the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent.


Richard Gordon makes it clear that any obstacles to the UK being part of the Unified Patent Court will be political rather than legal. It is his opinion that:

  • the UK may only continue to participate in the Unitary Patent by entering into a new agreement with participating EU member states;
  • it is legally possible for the UK to participate in the Unified Patent Court after leaving the EU but necessary changes will have to be made to the Unified Patent Court Agreement;
  • to continue its participation, the UK will have to submit to EU law regarding proceedings before the court; and
  • if the UK ratifies the Unified Patent Court Agreement in its current state, then leaves the EU, the UK division of the court would have to close.


Tony Rollins, CIPA President, commented 'There is now a legal path to securing our continued participation in the Unified Patent Court and Unitary Patent following Brexit, although this will take some time.'


Click here to download the full counsel’s opinion.


This briefing is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. We can discuss specific issues and facts on an individual basis and answer any questions you receive from others about Brexit. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this was first published in September 2016.


Our offices


+44 20 7831 7929

Bedford House, John Street, London, WC1N 2BF, United Kingdom


+44 20 7831 7929

Suite 3.05, Platform, New Station Street, Leeds, LS1 4JB, United Kingdom


+44 20 7831 7929

Generator Hub, The Gallery, Kings Wharf, The Quay, Exeter, EX2 4AN, United Kingdom


+49 89 5150 5800

Widenmayerstr. 10, D-80538 München, Germany