Since the result of the 23 June 2016 referendum that is now expected to lead to the UK’s departure from the European Union (so-called “Brexit”), much has been written and said about the impact of Brexit on intellectual property (IP) rights holders.
Our professional body, the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), has produced a useful guide (see link at the bottom of the page) to the IP implications of Brexit, highlighting what will change and what will remain the same. The guide also reviews the matters that will need to be addressed in new UK legislation in order to preserve within the UK rights based on current EU registrations (notably EU Trade Marks and EU Registered Designs). As the guide also points out, the implementation of new legislation will present opportunities to provide enhanced protection for IP within the post-Brexit UK.
Key messages are:
• Nothing will change in relation to existing UK national IP rights
•The present system of obtaining European patents through the European Patent Office also will not change
• Legislation will need to be enacted in order for rights under existing EU Trade Marks and EU Registered Designs to continue in the post-Brexit UK
• Implementation of the proposed EU Unitary Patent (UP) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will most likely be delayed as the UK moves towards Brexit, though there is a possibility that a way might be found for the post-Brexit UK to participate in the UP and UPC.
It seems certain that the UK will not actually leave the EU until 2019 at the earliest, and so it will be some time before these issues are finally resolved. We will keep clients and colleagues around the world updated, as the situation evolves.