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leads the McDermott Will & Emery Paris Intellectual Property Practice. She advises French and foreign companies in a wide variety of sectors, including the chemical, energy, fashion, food processing, media, perfume, pharmaceutical and technology industries. Laura assists her clients, as advisor and as litigation counsel, and has significant experience in mediation in intellectual property matters before the Centre for Mediation and Arbitration of Paris. For more information and to contact Laura please visit her firm profile page.
As the UK indeed voted for Brexit, the Unitary Patent system will now have to be re-negotiated altogether. The Unitary Patent Regulation states that the Unitary Patent cannot start before the UPC Agreement has been ratified by 13 participating Member States, including the three Member States in which the highest number of European Patents had effect in 2011, i.e. France, Germany and the UK. That alone means that the Unitary Patent must be put on hold now the Brexit referendum has been approved. Indeed, as a non-member of the EU, the UK will not be able to further participate in the Unitary Patent. Without the UK, with its market size and its reputation for patent litigation, the Unitary Patent will lose substantial value.
On 23 June 2016, the British citizens will hold their referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union. Should they vote for the UK to leave the EU (the so-called ‘Brexit’), the new European unitary patent system is likely to collapse before it started… If the UK was to refuse to ratify the European Patent Court Treaty after the exit vote on June 23 2016, the Treaty would also need to be renegotiated so that UK ratification is no longer required for the Treaty’s entry into force. Without such renegotiation, this requirement would only cease to apply when the UK has in fact left the EU.