07 September 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Unitary IP rights should continue post-Brexit, says EU

Intellectual property rights enjoyed by the UK as part of EU law should not be undermined by Brexit, according to a position paper from the European Commission.

The paper covers all intellectual property rights and contains the main principles of the EU’s position with regards to the negotiations under Article 50, specifically the UK’s withdrawal bill.

The EU wants any intellectual property right with a unitary character, such as an EU trademark, to remain enforceable in the UK and comparable to a right provided by EU law.

According to the European Commission, the UK should put in place, as of the withdrawal date in March 2019, the necessary domestic legislation providing for continued protection, comparable to EU law and with no financial cost.

The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) has previously called for this, as well as for its members to be able to continue to represent clients at the EU IP Office after Brexit.

Commenting on the news, CITMA president Kate O’Rourke said: “This European Commission paper in many respects mirrors CITMA’s position paper and is a positive step towards ensuring current EU registered trademark and design rights continue to cover and be enforceable in the UK post-Brexit, with minimum cost to IP owner.”

“I am delighted the commission has recognised that it is important legal certainty is maintained when it comes to registered EU intellectual property rights for the benefit of business.”

But she added: “The ability for UK chartered trademark attorneys to represent their clients before the EUIPO continues to be an important focus of CITMA, so it was disappointing that this was omitted from the paper and we will be making our views heard on this issue very strongly in the coming months.”

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