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Brexit impact on intellectual property
10th Dec 2020
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Brexit impact on intellectual property - Linkilaw Solicitors
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As the United Kingdom left the EU as of 31 January 2020 and with the end of the transition period, businesses should consider how their business and associated intellectual property are affected.

Intellectual property protection and the exploitation both in the UK and internationally is of key importance to business both now and as part of a longer-term strategy of brand protection.

Some of the key intellectual property rights and regimes that have been altered as a result of Brexit and discussed in this article include EU trademarks, as well as community registered design rights and EU domain names.

How Brexit impacts Intellectual Property?

EU Domains

Companies that are established in the UK but not in the EU are not eligible to apply for new .eu domains since 1 January 2021 and any existing .eu domains may be subject to withdrawal and revocation.

UK businesses have been notified of the eligibility criteria needed to continue holding such a domain name – this could be operating and having an office in the EU, for example. Any businesses that fail to meet the specified criteria will have their website suspended from 1 April 2021.

Therefore, businesses with .eu domain names should check they meet the required criteria or plan now for migrating their website over to a new domain (e.g. co.uk or .com).

Laptop - Brexit impact Intellectual Property

Trademarks and Registered Community Designs

Holders of existing European trademarks (EUTMs) have automatically being granted ‘comparable UK trademarks’ on the UK register, to replace the UK coverage of the EUTM that was revoked at the expiry of the transition period.

Similar ‘comparable trademarks (IR)’ have been created for international trademark registrations designating the EU. These existing rights will continue to be registered under their original filing and priority dates.

Holders of existing Registered Community Designs (RCDs) automatically received a comparable ‘re-registered design’ recorded at the UK registry. These existing rights have continued to be registered under their original filing and priority dates.

Finally, companies or individuals that have applications for an EUTM or RCD which were ongoing at the end of the transition period have a period of nine months from the end of the transition period to apply in the UK for the same protections.

Patents

European patents remain unaffected by Brexit as the European Patent Office is not an EU agency.

Copyright

As copyright is covered in international treaties on copyright and is largely dealt with under domestic law, this have not changed as a result of Brexit.

Next steps

Think about your international brand protection and speak to our experienced intellectual property lawyers on how best to futureproof your business within the European Union and further afield.

Our legal commentary is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice. Please seek legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.

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