CIPA welcomes UK accession to £12trn Indo-Pacific trade deal

CIPA welcomes the announcement that the UK has successfully concluded talks to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) while respecting existing international obligations around intellectual property.

The CPTPP is a free trade agreement covering 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. It 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. CPTPP member countries have a combined population of 500 million and a Gross Domestic Product of around £12 trillion.

The Agreement includes provisions which protect patents, trade marks, copyright, trade secrets and geographical indications and a commitment to enforce these rights, which helps to create a more level playing field for businesses and promotes innovation and creativity.

Joining the CPTPP will also ensure that UK IP rights are protected in the other member countries and will provide a mechanism for resolving disputes related to IP.

The UK already meets – and in many ways exceeds – the standards set by CPTPP for intellectual property. So innovative and creative UK businesses seeking to do business in CPTPP countries can look forward to standards across the trading bloc being raised in line with ours.

CIPA is particularly pleased that the government has stood by its public commitment to respect the UK’s important existing international obligations on IP and views this as a significant victory for UK diplomacy and negotiating.

Before negotiations started 18 months ago, CIPA raised with government that to accede to the CPTPP and its IP provisions in full could potentially place at risk the UK’s vitally important membership of the European Patent Office (EPO). The CPTPP requires its members to have a grace period for patents (a period of time prior during which an inventor can disclose their invention without this destroying the novelty of their invention for patenting purposes.). But the treaty governing EPO membership, the European Patent Convention (EPC), does not include a grace period.

Independent financial analysis has shown that the UK patent profession generates around £1billion gross value added p.a. to the UK economy. A majority of this revenue is generated by UK patent attorneys representing clients (many from CPTPP members states) before the EPO.

UK government negotiators successfully persuaded CPTPP member states to agree to protect the UK’s continued membership of the European Patent Convention (EPC) while acceding to the treaty.

CIPA President Daniel Chew said: “We congratulate the government on acceding to such a major trade agreement while preserving the UK’s existing – and vitally important – international obligations around intellectual property.

“We thank the government and its negotiating team for listening to us and for ensuring that the UK’s pre-eminent position as a global IP leader is maintained. CIPA proactively supports the Government’s global trade ambitions and looks forward to future trade announcements which will further strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation and intellectual property.”

Date published: 31 March 2023

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