UKIP MP Douglas Carswell will today put down an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons in a bid to stop an international treaty that will leave the UK subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, even when we have left the EU.
Douglas Carswell is objecting to what appears to be a stealth attempt by Ministers to sign up to the proposed Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) without anyone noticing, and without parliament having a vote on the matter.
Once ratified, the UPCA will establish a Unified Patent Court (UPC), a court to adjudicate exclusively on European patents, meaning it will settle all disputes relating to intellectual property in Europe. Once established, it also means the standards for British products and inventions will be set in Europe, not the UK. Anyone wishing to challenge a UPC ruling will have to appeal to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
UKIP in Parliament has discovered a video clip of a briefing by Kevin Mooney, the UK lawyer who has been working towards the creation of the UPC, in which he states he hopes the press ‘does not find out about’ the treaty.
Ministers appear to share his distaste for public scrutiny of the move. The Government has tabled it as ‘negative statutory instrument,’ meaning it will automatically go through parliament unless an MP formally objects, hence Douglas Carswell’s intervention.
Mr Carswell says “Leaving the EU should mean leaving the jurisdiction of the European courts, but if this proposal is allowed to pass, we would be required to accept the supremacy of EU law in its entirety with regard to any disputes within the jurisdiction of the UPC, including competition law, fundamental rights arising under the Charter, as well as any specific patent rules contained within EU Directives.
“How countries protect intellectual property is also often a key issue when negotiating trade deals, so allowing the EU to decide these matters for us will make it much harder for the UK to negotiate the free trade deals we need with big dynamic economies outside Europe.
“No wonder the Europhiles wanted to pass this into law under the radar, without proper debate. It has the potential to drive a huge stake into the heart of Brexit."