Today, the UK Government has concluded negotiations on the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement covering 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The CPTPP aims to reduce barriers to trade and investment among its members by eliminating tariffs on goods and services, establishing common rules and standards, and promoting regulatory coherence.

From an IP perspective, the CPTPP includes a requirement to introduce a novelty grace period. However, for the UK, an exception to this provision was agreed upon, to ensure ongoing alignment with the European Patent Convention (EPC), which lacks a grace period.

Essentially, there is a ‘carve-out’ for this provision which forms part of the accession protocol itself. This clarifies that the UK need not introduce a grace period unless there has been more international harmonization on the matter. This removes potential uncertainty about whether the UK’s compliance with the CPTPP would be out of step with the UK’s existing International Treaty obligations. This exception will remain in force unless the EPC and the Strasbourg Patent Convention are amended to introduce a grace period that is consistent with the CPTPP.

A special mention must go to Cleveland Scott York’s own Dr Alicia Instone (Immediate Past President of CIPA) who was closely involved in the negotiations which achieved this excellent result. A huge amount of work has gone in behind the scenes to ensure that the views of innovative companies and the UK patent profession have been heard and understood.


Ashik Gandhi

Technical Assistant
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