How has protection of IP in Europe changed following BREXIT?

Patents are unaffected by the UK’s exit from the EU. This is because the European Patent Organisation (EPO) is not an EU institution, so there is no change in European patents. European Patent Attorneys based in the UK can continue to file and prosecute patents in Europe.

This is a surprise to many outside Europe.

Patents are the centrepiece, the crown jewels, of an IP strategy, providing gravitas upon market entry in a new jurisdiction, and the foundation for cross-licencing to facilitate market entry. Indeed, European patents remain valuable lynchpins of many an IP strategy. But patent applicants may wish to bear in mind that direct applications to the UK can be a practical alternative, particularly for smaller US companies. The UK patent procedure is cheaper and can result in granted patents within 2 years, quite a bit speedier than the EPO. Furthermore, acceleration is possible at both the UK IPO and the EPO for Green tech and via PPH type arrangements and both EP(UK) and UK patents can form the basis of re-registered rights in Hong Kong.

For new patent protection, a European patent application covering all 38 EPO member states, in other words all 27 EU countries and the 11 non-EU countries, now including the UK, can be filed. Nothing has changed in patent prosecution; everything is the same as before.

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