IP IMPLICATIONS OF BREXIT
On Wednesday 29 March the UK delivered to the European Council notice, under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, its intention to withdraw from the EU. Nothing as a matter of law has changed as a result of Article 50 being triggered. Instead, it marks the beginning of the negotiation period with the EU.
It is important to note that Mathys & Squire’s ability to represent its clients in the UK or in Europe will not be affected during, or after, the Article 50 negotiating period. As a firm, we remain a European business with offices in the UK, Germany and France and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that the services that we provide remain unaffected.
The European Patent System is NOT in any event affected by Brexit. The UK is and will remain a member of the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EPC is unrelated to the EU. Accordingly UK nationals and UK entities will still be able to obtain European Patents covering the 38 EPC member states*. Also, UK-national European Patent Attorneys will still be able to act before the EPO after Brexit, as will of course European Patent Attorneys of other nationalities.
Many other matters, IP-related or not, will of course remain less clear for some time to come. The position for EU-derived rights such as Registered Community Designs (RCDs), European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVRs) is less clear than for patents. It is however anticipated that after Brexit the UK Government will allow the owner of an existing RCD, EUTM or CPVR to convert the UK element into a UK national Registration. For the future, once we have left the EU, separate UK national and EU applications are likely to be required, and Mathys & Squire will ensure that it is able to obtain and enforce both on behalf of its clients.
On Monday 19 March 2018, the government released an updated Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.
The Draft Agreement was colour-coded to represent the level at which the content had been agreed. As at March 19th, guidelines relating to intellectual property had been agreed at the negotiators’ level but are still subject to technical legal revisions. To read the full Draft Agreement, specifically Title IV relating to Intellectual Property, click here.
Mathys & Squire is proud to employ people of different nationalities, with many coming from countries within the EU. We have already taken steps to ensure that the firm has a location inside the “post-Brexit EU” (i.e. without the UK). This positions us to be able to continue to handle EUTMs and RCDs, even after Brexit.
We shall of course update this note when we have further news regarding the IP implications of Brexit. In the meantime, if you have any questions, then please contact your usual Mathys & Squire adviser.
*Plus two extensions and two validation states.