This is the easiest part to clarify, we are a member of the European Patent Office (EPO) that is not an EU body, so if the UK decides to exit the EU, our membership will continue and the process for obtaining patents across the continent of Europe will not change. We will join the other EPO member states who are not EU states – e.g. Switzerland, Norway, Monaco and Turkey.
How will we stand enforcing patents?
This will stay as it is, however there is a future plan to introduce a ‘Unified Patent Court’, which will be the single patent court covering most of the EU states and UK (if we remain).
The benefit is that one court will agree on a dispute across the whole of the court’s territory, rather than tackling disputes in each country. There is much conjecture over whether this court will be too large, expensive, and unwieldy to use thus favouring larger companies rather than SME’s.
If we leave the EU, the court will have no jurisdiction in the UK, so things will stay as they are.