European Commission publishes Brexit paper on intellectual property

European Commission publishes Brexit paper on intellectual property

07 September 2017

The European Commission (EC) has today (7th September 2017) published its position on intellectual property (IP) rights post-Brexit.

The paper calls for IP rights such as European Union Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs to automatically cover the UK after Brexit.

The paper stated: “The holder of any intellectual property right having unitary character within the Union and granted before the withdrawal date should, after that date, be recognised as the holder of an enforceable intellectual property right in relation to the United Kingdom territory, comparable to the right provided by Union law – if need be on the basis of specific domestic legislation to be introduced.”

It went on to discuss pending applications and said that it should be ensured that any IP rights applications “pending on the withdrawal date are not lost when applying for an equivalent intellectual property right in the United Kingdom.”

On exhaustion of rights the EC suggests that “rights conferred by intellectual property rights which were exhausted in the European Union territory before the withdrawal date should, after that date, remain exhausted in both the EU27 territory and in the UK territory.”

The EC also called on the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to share its IP rights databases with the UK equivalent, to ensure successful transfer of the rights.

President of The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Kate O’Rourke said:

“This European Commission paper in many respects mirrors CITMA’s position paper and is a positive step towards ensuring current EU registered trade mark and design rights continue to cover and be enforceable in the UK post-Brexit, with minimum cost to IP owners.

“I am delighted the Commission has recognised that it is important legal certainty is maintained when it comes to registered EU intellectual property rights for the benefit of business.

“I am pleased the paper also promotes cooperation between the EU Intellectual Property Office and the UK’s Intellectual Property Office in terms of sharing the data on the EU’s intellectual property registers, which will help avoid any potential delays and duplication of work.

“In the long term we will continue to promote the benefits of an extended European registered trade mark and design system that includes the UK, so business can benefit from unitary IP rights in Europe and possibly beyond.

“The ability for UK Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys to represent their clients before the EUIPO continues to be an important focus of CITMA, so it was disappointing that this was omitted from the paper and we will be making our views heard on this issue very strongly in the coming months.”

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