30 November 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

INTA reveals Brexit position

The International Trademark Association (INTA) has revealed its position on Brexit, outlining five core principles that should be supported, promoted and safeguarded when the UK leaves the EU.

INTA said it recognised the need to “further advocate for strong intellectual property protection and harmonisation as Brexit negotiations unfold”.

The five core principles are the minimum disruption of trade; minimum costs; maximum retention of rights; maximum transparency and legal clarity; and a transitional period to acclimatise to any new rules.

In its position paper, INTA explained that it supports scenarios “that are expected to cause the least amount of disruption to trademark owners”.

It outlined two scenarios for existing EU trademarks (EUTMs) that it supports: the automatic extension of EUTMs to the UK as national trademarks, or the extension upon action by the EUTM owners of the EUTMs into national UK trademarks, provided that EUTM owner's express their intention to secure national UK trademarks.

INTA stated that in both scenarios, registered trademark owners should not be required to pay additional fees.

In a statement, INTA CEO, Etienne Sanz de Acedo, commented: “IP-intensive industries contribute significantly to employment and GDP in the EU and UK.”

“While we recognise that the Brexit process is complex, it is vital to strive for the least amount of disruption to trademark owners, and to carefully consider IP protection given its impact on businesses, consumers, employees, and the economies in these countries.”

He said: “The paper also aligns strongly with INTA’s approach to advocacy by providing pragmatic solutions and offering our continued participation in consultations and user meetings conducted by the EU and UK.”

INTA’s position paper echoes the positions of both the European Commission and the Chartered Institute of Trademark Attorneys on Brexit.

All three have requested that IP rights with unitary character remain enforceable in the UK.

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