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Brexit – how will it affect your intellectual property?

14 November 2016

In times of uncertainly, the UK Intellectual Property Office has published guidance following the vote to leave the EU earlier this year. It outlines that:

  • while the UK remains a full member of the EU, then EU trade marks and registered community designs will continue to be valid in the UK
  • there will be a consultation as to ‘the best way forward’ but there is guidance that even after the UK leaves the EU, UK businesses will still be able to register any new trade mark which will cover all remaining EU member states
  • the UK is a member of the International Trade Marks system (the Madrid System) and this allows
  • users to file one application in one language and pay one set of fees to protect trade marks in up to
  • 113 territories, including the EU
  • the referendum result has no impact on the right to apply to the European Patent Office (EPO) for
  • patent protection. It will remain possible to obtain patents from the EPO which apply in the UK,
  • and Brexit will not affect the current European patent system governed by the European Patent
  • Convention
  • whilst the UK remains in the EU, our copyright laws will continue to comply with the EU Copyright Directives. However, whether this remains the case following our exit from the EU will depend on the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU
  • the UK is a signatory to a number of international treaties and agreements and this means that UK copyright works (for example music, films, books and photographs) will continue to be protected around the world.

If you have any queries about your intellectual property rights, or the impact that Brexit may have on your business, please contact our intellectual property team.

Partner Paul Gordon joined Willans from a City law firm in January 2005. He has specialised in dispute resolution since qualifying and has handled a broad range of commercial matters, including intellectual property, director and shareholder disputes, and engineering and construction cases. Paul has acted for many notable clients including American Express, PizzaExpress, and a number of major financial loan companies such as GE Capital and Morgan Stanley, as well as many businesses with local interests.

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