Hodsdon explained that the UK is the key component in solving the issue of EU intellectual property rights post-Brexit.
However, he added that the EU could make recognition of existing EU-wide rights in the UK a condition of any trade deal between the two countries.
This has already been seen in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, in which protected EU designations of origin and protected geographical indications are required to be recognised in Canadian law.
Hodsdon suggested that resolving the issue of IP rights will be dependant on the course of the wider negotiations, as they are “some way down on the scale of matters to be decided”.
The only hint of the UK’s position on IP rights post-Brexit was its decision to ratify the UPC agreement in November last year.
On the other hand, the European Commission recently confirmed its position on intellectual property rights, stating that rights enjoyed by the UK as part of EU law should not be undermined by Brexit.
Brexit negotiations began in June 2017 and will continue until March 2019. The bulk of negotiations so far have focused on the rights of EU citizens, Britain’s divorce bill and the future border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
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