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Intellectual Property and Brexit

Written by Samuel O'Toole on 07 March 2018

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Prime Minister, Theresa May, in her Mansion House speech, recently stated that intellectual property (IP) will feature in the UK’s withdrawal agreement from the European Union.

However, May is not the instigator of all things IP and Brexit. At the end of February the European Commission published its draft Brexit agreement, the document is some 119 pages long, 5 of which are devoted to IP.

The Commission’s draft agreement provides that the holders of EU trade marks and registered community designs, which have been registered before the end of the transition period, without re-examination become the holder of the same rights in the UK.  The corresponding right in the UK will benefit from the same filing date, seniority and renewal date to that of the EU right.

May’s speech went further: “And given that UK qualifications are already recognised across the EU and vice versa – it would make sense to continue to recognise each other’s qualifications in the future”.

Fingers crossed, the UK and EU will continue to recognise each jurisdictions qualification, this would mean that individuals would not lose their rights of representation at the European Union Intellectual Property Office.

The UK Government has also gone further, in its Technical Note Other Separation Issues - Phase 2, amongst other things, it references IP.  The note states “The UK is recognised as being one of the best countries in the world in which to protect and enforce intellectual property rights and that will not change” and that “In the future, where the UK does not have existing domestic legislation to protect certain types of rights, it will establish new schemes. This approach will help form the basis for a strong ongoing cultural and economic relationship with the EU”

So whilst Brexit may not be on everyone’s agenda, at least the UK and the EU Commission are looking into IP and hopefully those whom hold EU rights will receive an equivalent UK right.

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