Perhaps counterintuitively, the recent UK referendum result has led to savvy international patent applicants, especially in the US, to look to the UK as a gateway to securing patent protection in Europe.
The shockwaves of uncertainty caused by the referendum result have most immediately affected the UK’s economy. The value of GBP against USD is at its lowest since the 1980’s.
However, one thing that has not changed, and will not change even following the formal exit of the UK from the European Union, is the status of UK-based European Patent Attorneys (“EPAs“). UK-based EPAs will continue to represent patent applicants before the European Patent Office (“EPO“).
Thus, from the perspective of companies outside the EU, this means that pursuing patent protection in Europe via the UK has suddenly become very good value.
A large cost component for securing patent protection in Europe is associated with a European representative’s professional fees. These can be for carrying out formal or legal work to meet the requirements of the European Patent Convention (“EPC“). Such work typically includes preparing and submitting technical and legal arguments to the EPO. Interpretation or modification of instructions originating from another jurisdiction is often required, especially in view of territorial differences in patent law.
UK attorneys have always been acknowledged as high-quality, and it seems that this high quality will no longer accompanied by a high price. The recent devaluation in GBP has meant that UK-based European Patent Attorneys have suddenly become very good value relative to their continental counterparts.
This is especially likely to strengthen the relationship between US and UK patent attorneys due to the close cultural and linguistic similarities between these two countries.