An effective intellectual property system has been vital for competitive, innovative economies for at least two centuries. The US and UK were among the earliest to create patent offices with clear rules on what constitutes an invention, and legal rights to protect it. Making the IP system work efficiently in a world with increasing international trade and investment has been a focus of policy for over a century.

The United Kingdom is a founder member of the European Patent Convention, created in
1973 by EU and non-EU states. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys commissioned Tony Clayton with Belmana and Dennis Verhoeven to consider the direct and indirect effects of securing – as the UK negotiates a post-Brexit settlement – outcomes which are consistent with the UK’s existing international obligations, including the EPC.

The analysis considers the economic benefits of the EPC to the UK including:

  • much lower costs to business in establishing patent rights across contracting states
  • consistency of patent rights, and of legal precedents for enforcement, with London IP courts playing a major international role
  • creation of an international market in technical and legal businesses services in IP, in which the UK has a large and demonstrable competitive advantage, based on technical expertise and the English language.
  • creation of a world class technical and legal skills base supporting international companies which choose the UK as a base for innovation because they can conduct research and create IP here, and manage its international exploitation in one place.
European patent convention and its impact on the UK