Date: 30 November 2016
Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister for IP, has announced the government's intent to proceed with ratification of the UPC Agreement. This is something of a surprise from a government that has not so far shown any inclination to accede to any sovereignty of the European Court of Justice. Neville-Rolfe quotes Theresa May has having said that for as long as we are members of the EU, "the UK will continue to play a full and active role."
This is a brave move and hugely positive for the role of the London section of the Central Division of the new Court. We have previously commented that membership of the UPC must be negotiated with the whole Brexit package, that being the only sure way of securing the future of the Court. To ratify earlier leaves the role of the London section of the Court in jeopardy after Britain leaves the EU. Does the government have confidence that the court can begin now and continue after Brexit (with some negotiated amendment of the agreement)? Or is this just a holding announcement to keep the oven warm while getting ready to bake the cake (and have it and eat it)?