The course of the ratification process of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement rumbles on in the UK. The secondary legislation to enact the UPC Agreements in the UK was all set to have a first reading in the House of Commons on Friday 14 July. It got bumped at the very last minute by the need for the Transport Secretary to make a statement to Parliament on issues surrounding the HS2 rail project. Some people are reading dark things into this but it really was 'cock-up' and not conspiracy.
Senior Partner, Peter Hale, says:
'In spite of my healthy scepticism, I am becoming more, not less, optimistic that the UPC will be ratified after the summer recess. It has a fair few hoops to jump through but the whips' offices are, apparently, all behind it as it is seen as uncontroversial. My sunnier outlook is reinforced by reports that even the die-hard hard Brexiteers in the Cabinet now accept that there will be a 3-4 year transitional period in which such things as free movement of people will still be in place. That's being overseen by the Court of Justice of the European Union which would be the sticking point for the UPC. Then there's Holyrood, but the Scots are less likely to derail something the EU sees as a "good thing". And, of course, the Germans have thrown their own spanner in the works. It's nice for the UK not to be the villain of the peace for once.'
The new ministerial realism is good for the UPC. Whether we stay in long term is another matter. That's a bigger circle to square. Continue to watch this space.