Mar 23, 2018

Partial agreement reached on IP rights post-Brexit

A draft agreement created by the European Union and the UK government governing intellectual property rights after the UK's withdrawal from the EU was released on 19th March 2018 (it can be read in full here). Under Title VI: Articles 50-57 the draft agreement shows the scope of the discussion on the protection and the proposed provisions post-Brexit. It highlights  some points where agreement has been reached, some points where the objective has been agreed but the form of wording has not, and some points where there has not been agreement reached at all (shown by coloured highlighting in the  text of the draft).

The UK will remain part of the EU during a transitional period from 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020, which will be of the utmost importance for owners of EU intellectual property rights in the UK. By Article 57 the EU and the UK has agreed that rights will remain valid in both the UK and EU post-Brexit, if they were registered before the end of the transition period.

In summary, EU trade marks, Community designs, and unregistered Community designs

This agreement is a significant step forward in negotiations towards resolving the intellectual property rights issue of leaving  the EU. Business abhors uncertainty, and perhaps now they can get a more informed idea of what is expected for the future of EU intellectual property rights in the UK.  There remains, however,  uncertainty over unitary rights in the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and EU courts upon expiry of the transitional period.

While most of the drafted agreement has been agreed at negotiators' level, three of the articles proposed by the Union are still to be discussed further. Still to be clarified are points relating to  protection of new registrations in the UK, and rights automatically arising.

The Chartered Institute for Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) also pointed out ongoing concerns that require clarification, such as the ability for UK chartered trade mark attorneys to continue to represent clients and businesses before the EUIPO and protection for geographical indications. It was announced that CITMA will continue to lobby and communicate with relevant parties on the concerning parts of the agreement which are still being negotiated.

It is recommended that businesses review their current filings and renewal management practices in preparation to ensure rights are continued to be protected post-Brexit.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or

in: EU/International, News

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