Intellectual property: Brexit plans are a positive sign for rights owners  

3 September 2018:

Uncertainty surrounding Brexit and what form it will take has been felt strongly by all UK businesses, and not least those with intellectual property rights protected at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). However, recent statements during a House of Commons debate and in the Government’s Brexit White Paper have gone some way towards assuaging their fears.

While these recent developments bode well for rights owners, as Britain’s negotiations with the EU enter a critical phase, further clarifications will be needed to ensure that there is a smooth and problem-free transition.

In a House of Commons debate on July 19, Robin Walker, under secretary of state at the Department for Exiting the European Union, made assurances that any EU trade marks, registered community designs (RCDs) and unregistered designs owned by businesses in the UK will be replaced with new UK trade marks “automatically and for free”, even in the event of a hard Brexit.

For those with trade marks or RCDs registered across the EU, his assurances should bring a sigh of relief. They are further evidence that the Government is intending to make the Brexit transition as easy as possible, with the least amount of disruption.

Despite this, there are still a number of questions which will need to be answered and the Government should aim to do so sooner rather than later. While it seems likely that existing trade mark and design rights will be ‘unaffected’ by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it is not yet clear what will happen to any pending applications.

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Source: Financial Director

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