IP features in UK Government’s Brexit speech and note06 March 2018
Theresa May, in her Mansion House speech last week, confirmed that intellectual property would need to be covered in the EU-UK withdrawal agreement “to provide further legal certainty and coherence”.
This came just two days after the European Commission published its draft Brexit withdrawal agreement – which included five pages on intellectual property.
In the European Commission’s draft withdrawal agreement it sets out how holders of European Union trade marks (EUTMs) and registered community designs (RCDs) would be granted an equivalent right in the UK, without re-examination. The right would also carry the same filing date, seniority and renewal date.
The Commission’s draft withdrawal agreement broadly reflects our position that all existing EUTMs and RCDs should continue to have the same scope of protection in the UK. This is the ‘Montenegro’ model, which we first mapped out in August 2016.
The draft agreement also outlines the proposed process for geographical indications (GI) and the protected designation of origins (PDOs) to be recognised in the UK.
The Prime Minister, in her speech, also mentioned mutual recognition of qualification, something that CITMA has been calling for as part of our campaign to ensure continued rights of representation before the EUIPO. This would help to minimise disruption and cost to business both in the UK and internationally.
“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,” Theresa May said.
In a further development, the UK Government has identified intellectual property rights in a technical note on ‘other separation issues’ – published on 6th March.
The UK Government note says: “In many areas, the UK’s position is closely aligned to that set out by the EU in their September position paper. Where the UK and EU agree that intellectual property rights are within the scope of separation discussions, the UK’s overall objective is to provide maximum clarity and legal certainty for users, applicants and right holders by agreeing arrangements appropriate to each of the different types of right.”
CITMA President Kate O’Rourke said: “It is encouraging that intellectual property is clearly in the consideration of both sides negotiating the withdrawal agreement.
“We welcome the European Commission providing further clarity on its position regarding intellectual property. It is also our belief that the UK should clone all EUTMs and RCDs onto its registers. However there are some points of detail that still need to be ironed out when it comes to how the IP systems will work post-Brexit and how any transition will take place.
“It is vital for our members and the whole business community that further clarification and certainty is provided by UK Government on the important issue of intellectual property. We call on the Prime Minister to set out a clear UK position.”