20 November 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Brexit a “material threat” to businesses, says Marques

Brexit could be a “material threat” to businesses that own trademarks in the EU, according to a position paper from intellectual property association Marques.

To combat this, Marques explained that the governments of the UK and the EU member states must provide early certainty to these businesses by promising that there will be no loss of existing IP rights and no cost or administrative burden to maintain existing rights.

Marques said that it was “seriously concerned that there have been no negotiations at all on such matters”, despite the fact that in less than 18 months the UK will leave the EU.

It added: “It is especially concerning that the key expert bodies advising the negotiating parties, namely the UK IP Office and EU IP Office, have not even had exploratory discussions with each other to identify what matters need to be negotiated.”

Echoing comments from the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and the European Commission, Marques concluded that existing harmonised EU rights, such as the EU Trademark should be retained post-Brexit.

In September, the European Commission released a position paper on IP rights post-Brexit, stating that the UK should put in place the necessary domestic legislation offering continued protection for IP rights comparable to EU law, with no additional financial cost.

Brexit negotiations began on 19 June 2017 and will continue until March 2019. The core of negotiations have focused on the issues of citizen’s rights, Britain’s divorce bill and the question of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The chief EU negotiator, Michael Barnier, has said that no decisive progress has been made on any of the main issues.

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