The government has published guidance on the future of intellectual property laws after Britain leaves the European Union.
These are some of the key points:
While the UK remains a full member of the EU then EU Trade Marks (EUTM) continue to be valid in the UK.
When the UK leaves the EU, a EUTM will continue to be valid in the remaining EU member states, and UK businesses will still be able to register an EU trade mark, which will cover all remaining EU member states.
In addition, the UK is a member of the international trade mark system called the “Madrid System”, which allows users to file one application, in one language, and pay one set of fees to protect trade marks in up to 113 territories including the European Union. UK businesses will continue to have access to the Madrid System when looking to protect their trade marks.
While the UK remains a full member of the EU, the Registered Community Designs (RCD) continue to be valid in the UK. When the UK leaves the EU, an RCD will cover the remaining EU member states.
When the UK leaves the EU, UK businesses will still be able to register a Community Design, which will cover all remaining EU Member States.
The government has also made clear its intention to ratify The Hague Agreement in a national capacity, which provides a practical business solution for registering up to 100 designs in over 66 territories through filing one single international application. Ministers are working through the steps of joining and hope to introduce the service next year.
Protection for unregistered designs will continue to exist through the UK unregistered design right and copyright.
The UK’s exit from the EU will not affect the current European patent system, which is governed by the (non-EU) European Patent Convention. UK businesses can continue to apply to the European Patent Office for patent protection which will include the UK. Existing European patents covering the UK are also unaffected.
While the UK remains a full member of the EU, businesses can continue to apply for and be granted Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) for patented pharmaceutical and plant protection products using the current SPC system.
Existing UK SPCs granted under that system continue to be valid.
Once the UK leaves the EU, UK businesses will still be able to apply for SPCs in all remaining EU Member States under the existing system.
The government is exploring options for SPC protection in the UK after we leave the EU.
While the UK remains in the EU, our copyright laws will continue to comply with the EU copyright directives, and we will continue to participate in EU negotiations. The continued effect of EU Directives and Regulations following our exit from the EU will depend on the terms of our future relationship.
The UK is a member of several international treaties and agreements. This means that UK copyright works (such as music, films, books and photographs) are protected around the world. This will continue to be the case following our exit from the EU.
For more information about this article, please call Lionel Curry on 020 8907 2000 or click here to email him and he will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for an initial telephone discussion).