The BIA welcomes UK ratification of the UPC Agreement

The Minister for Intellectual Property, Sam Gyimah MP, yesterday (26 April) confirmed that the UK has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA).

Responding to the announcement, BIA CEO Steve Bates said:

“Being able to protect intellectual property is vital for life science companies and is often the key value in emerging bioscience companies. We welcome the announcement that the UK has ratified the UPC Agreement to create a single system for the registration, prosecution and enforcement of patents across much of Europe.

"This will provide the option for businesses to save time and money, which will be of particular benefit for SMEs, as they will be able to register their patents across the participating countries at reduced cost and enforce them through a centralised court system rather than multiple local courts. The Central Division of the Court with responsibility for life sciences cases is due to be based in London, further cementing the UK’s position as a primary destination for investment. The involvement of the UK judiciary with their significant expertise will also be a major advantage to the new system.

“The BIA supported the UK’s involvement in establishing the UPC but the question of whether to ratify following the Brexit vote was always a difficult one to balance with the complexities of what would happen should the UK have to withdraw once it leaves the EU. So, while the desire to see rapid entry into force of the new system is understandable, it is now imperative that the government works swiftly with the other signatories to enable the UK to continue to contribute its expertise to the development of the system and UK business to benefit from the UKs full involvement. If this isn’t achieved, appropriate transitional provisions will be essential to address Unitary Patents covering the UK and ongoing litigation covering the UK.”

The Agreement still requires ratification by Germany before the UPC system can come into operation. 

You can read the Intellectual Property Office’s statement here.


Contact: Ed Sexton, Communications and Media Relations Manager, BIA 02076302196

About the BIA                    

Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives.   

For further information, please go to and

More within