09 October 2018

Brexit: Impact on exhaustion of intellectual property rights

So many businesses rely on their IP rights when trading throughout the world and most have taken active steps to protect these rights to retain value in their IP and the ability to take action where infringement occurs.

The UK is part of a regional European Economic Area (EEA) exhaustion scheme. IP rights are considered exhausted once the goods to which they relate have been put on the market with the rights holder’s permission, anywhere in the EEA.

Even if there is a no deal scenario following Brexit, the UK will continue to recognise the EEA regional exhaustion scheme which will provide continuity for businesses and consumers. This will have no impact on the importation of goods into the UK, but there may be restrictions on the parallel import of goods from the UK to the EEA.

Businesses should undertake a review of their imports for rights held by EU entities. Checks should be made with such rights holders to see if permission is needed to continue with export to the EEA.

The practicalities of this area post-Brexit are still unclear. The UK government is considering options for how the exhaustion regime should operate and will provide a decision in due course which is supported by a research programme, currently underway.

If you’d like some assistance in considering the steps your business should be taking to review own intellectual property rights or use of third party intellectual property rights and strategy, please contact a member of our Commercial team.

© Shulmans LLP 2017

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Shulmans LLP is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.