Intellectual property rights are an area of law for which we’ve sought to harmonise our laws with those of Europe over many years, some areas of which are still in transition, so this is likely to be an area very much affected by Brexit.
Most of the registered rights, such as trade marks, design rights and patents, have an EU-wide form which is going to need a transitional measure to confirm the date at which it no longer covers the UK and, presumably that it will be transitioned into a UK-equivalent form of protection to ensure rights-holders.
As well as IP rights having a territorial scope, any existing licences granting permission to use those rights will also have a territorial element, that is likely to need review in the event of changes to the underlying rights themselves. Variations to those licences might need negotiation.
What to do at this stage
Ensure your business has a clear audit of its IP rights, understanding any that are European-based and so likely to be affected by Brexit changes. If you use an IP agent regularly they should be able to give you an overview summary of your current portfolio of registered rights.
Ensure you’ve reviewed existing IP licences to know which would be affected by territorial scope changes.
- 'How Brexit will impact the sale of branded goods', WWB, October 2017
- 'How Brexit will impact the sale of trademarked beauty products', www.cosmeticsbusiness.com, October 2017
- 'OPINION: How Brexit will impact the sale of branded goods', Lingerie Insight, October 2017