Brexit negotiator: EU is looking into moving London UP court

July 13, 2017

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, acting on the EU’s behalf, has stated that Brussels is looking into moving the London based Unified Patent Court (UPC), making it increasingly likely the court will have change countries.

The commissioner made this statement on Wednesday during a discussion on the ongoing Brexit talks. Brussels admitting that its looking into the potential move of the court, gives voice to the question many have had ever since a Brexit was announced: does a UP court fit in London, if the UK is no longer part of the EU?

The court, which already has an official building in Aldgate Tower, is one of several courts throughout Europe that would become active after the UP system is activated. It was intended that London would deal with all cases regarding pharmaceuticals and life sciences, a big industry for the UK. The UK has been busy advertising for judges to rule over the court cases.

However, even since Brexit, the role of the UK in UP matters in general, and the UPC in particular, has become uncertain. Officially, the UPC is not an EU agency, but only EU member states are allowed to present cases at the court. Additionally, to many EU member states it may not seem fitting that a country turning its back towards Europe will host a court rooted in European unison.

Like many other UP topics, the recipe to an answer seems to be patience. First of all, to see whether the UK will actually ratify the agreement. Secondly, the coming Brexit negotiations will have to clarify the fait of the court.