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And finally...Brexit (Brands & IP Newsnotes - issue 3)

23 October 2016

Speculation about Brexit’s impact on intellectual property rights caused the UKIPO to release its guidance note “IP and Brexit: The Facts” in August.

The guide is short and essentially says that for now it is business as usual because we are still in the EU. The extent of the impact will depend upon the type of Brexit negotiated. Theresa May has announced that a ‘unique’ deal for the UK is required. We can only hope that is achieved and that it takes accounts of the needs of rights owners.

What won’t change (much)?

Patents and copyright are likely to see the least change – at least initially. Patents will continue to be obtained via the European Patent Office and the UK IPO. Divergence on copyright law may occur over time as disputes are resolved before the courts. But any change is likely to be slow and copyright will still be subject to international treaties.

What probably will change?

Once the UK is out, it is unlikely to be part of the Unitary Patent Court or the European Trade Mark and registered design regimes. This could mean increased costs for rights owners who will likely need to apply for national registrations in the UK in addition to any registrations they hold in European territories. EU brands owners will need EU-wide rights to continue use of EU customs notices to prevent infringing goods entering the EU and will have to make additional recordals at the UK border control.

What we hope won’t change

Currently, legal representatives of countries in the EEA can appear before the European courts and the EUIPO (though non-EU member EEA states cannot appear before the EUIPO on community design matters). We hope any Brexit deal will include the right for UK lawyers and attorneys to continue to represent their clients before the EUIPO and European courts.

What can you do now?

Review national filing strategies, territories and definitions in existing/new IP licences and agreements. Watch this space!

This article was first published in the Brands & IP newsnotes publication - issue 3

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