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 period.
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.