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Brexit and IP: The UK IPO’s views



Kingsley Egbuonu, London


The UK Intellectual Property Office has confirmed the legal status of three EU-related IP rights in effect in the UK and the government’s next steps for these rights ahead of Brexit. It remains unknown if the UK will ratify the UPC Agreement

Brexit-168.In its guide titled ‘IP and Brexit: The facts’ the UK IPO singled out four rights: EU trade marks (EUTM), registered Community designs (RCD), copyright and European patents designating the UK. In summary, and as we noted in our ‘Brexit and IP: A Primer’, the IPO says while the UK remains an EU member there will be no change in legal terms to the first three rights. The European patent system administered by the European Patent Office is outside the EU so Brexit has no impact.

 

Trade marks and designs

The post-Brexit regimes for EUTM and RCD seem to worry owners and practitioners the most, as we recently found out. The IPO says the “government is exploring various options [for their validity in the UK] and we will be consulting users of the system about the best way forward”. For those concerned about future right of representation before the EU Intellectual Property Office, the IPO added: “We welcome views on how to address these concerns and are involving stakeholders in consideration of these issues.”

Copyright

The European Commission intends to further harmonise copyright rules in the EU (the Digital Single Market), and just last month UK law came into force to extend the term of copyright protection for industrially manufactured artistic works. On copyright, the IPO said: “While the UK remains in the EU, our copyright laws will continue to comply with the EU copyright directives, and we will continue to participate in EU negotiations. The continued effect of EU Directives and Regulations following our exit from the EU will depend on the terms of our future relationship.”

Unified Patent Court

It seems we will have to wait until next year to know the UK government’s decision on UPC Agreement ratification. The IPO did not say anything on this, but it noted: “The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present. We will continue to attend and participate in UPC meetings in that capacity. There will be no immediate changes.”

‘IP and Brexit: The facts’ can be accessed here.

Follow our coverage of Brexit and IP at www.managingip.com/Brexit and the Unitary Patent and UPC at www.managingip.com/upc.


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