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The UK government has confirmed that the United Kingdom is to join
the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific
Partnership (CPTPP), whose current membership includes Australia,
Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru,
Singapore and Vietnam. The negotiations leading to this have been
followed closely by the UK IP community, in particular, because on
the face of the terms of the CPTPP, participating countries are
required to provide for a grace period in respect of patent
applications, such that certain disclosures of inventions prior to
the filing of a patent application will not jeopardise the granting
of the patent. The concern was that this might be incompatible with
the UK’s continued participation in the European Patent system
under the European Patent Convention, as the rules governing the
grant of European patents do not currently provide for any grace
However, the UK government has confirmed that the UK will not be
required to implement a grace period into its domestic patent law
until “the necessary amendments to the relevant
international conventions have been made.” Thus the
UK’s continued active participation in the European patent
system has been assured. It may even increase the chances that one
day there will be broad international agreement on grace periods.
However, that day is still likely to be a long way off.
The UK will not make any domestic changes regarding
grace periods until the necessary amendments to the relevant
international conventions have been made.
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