The UK has confirmed today that it intends to ratify the International Agreement on a Unified Patent Court. The Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, reportedly made the statement at a meeting of the EU Competitive Council.

There has been much commentary on the political and legal challenges the UK would face in joining the system post-Brexit. It does remain the possibility that the UK could join the system and then be ejected, something which is most likely to be determined post-Brexit.

The International Agreement was signed by 25 EU Member States on 19 February 2013 and needs to be ratified by at least 13 states (ratification stands at 11 states to date), including France, Germany and the United Kingdom to enter into force. The date of the UK ratification is not yet known and the ratification of the UPC and Unitary Patent by Germany is still pending.

It remains to be seen when an Irish referendum will take place, certainly not likely before mid-2017 at this stage. The decision as to when this referendum will take place rests with the current Irish government