Does the UK leaving the EU also mean leaving the European patent system?
No. The European patent system is not affected by Brexit. European patents are granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) under the terms of the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EPC is not EU legislation and the EPO is not an EU institution. The UK will continue to remain a signatory to the EPC after Brexit, just as now.
OK. So, will UK-based European patent attorneys lose any right of representation before the EPO?
No. European patent attorneys based in the UK will be able to represent clients in all work before the EPO after the UK leaves the EU, just as now.
But haven’t some IP firms based in mainland Europe been saying otherwise?
They shouldn’t be. Here’s what the President of the EPO said about this a week after the Brexit vote
So, Wynne-Jones will file and prosecute UK, European and PCT patent applications, and manage worldwide patent protection, in just the same way after Brexit as it does now?
But will your European reach be limited?
Actually, quite the opposite. Through AIPEX, (our European IP law firm), we are increasingly acting as regional counsel for clients who want patent representation throughout Europe. AIPEX has offices in Germany, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland (as well as UK), so we already offer a unified and seamless IP service to international and European businesses, and this will continue after Brexit.
Intellectual property: Why you should choose the UK
Watch CIPA's (the UK's membership body for patent attorneys) informative video here.