We write following the result of yesterday's referendum on
the UK's membership of the EU, in which UK voters chose to
leave the EU.
There is inevitably some uncertainty as to how the UK's
relationship with the EU will change in the coming months and
years. However, as a first observation, we would note that there is
no immediate change in relation to intellectual property law. It is
likely to be months if not years before the position changes
substantively. In the meantime, we provide some initial
The UK's membership of the EU has no effect at all on its
membership of the European Patent Organisation. As such, European
Patents will continue to cover the UK and we will continue to be
able to represent clients in all matters before the European Patent
acknowledged by EPO President Benoît Battistelli.
Similarly membership of the EU has no effect on any national
patents or applications, nor does it have any effect on PCT
applications. Enforcement will continue to be available in the UK
Courts as presently.
The future of the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court must
now be uncertain and it seems clear that the UK will now not be a
part of that project – should it proceed at all. This,
however, does not affect any current rights held by our
Trade marks and designs
These areas of intellectual property are likely to be more
greatly affected by the decision to leave the EU. Specifically it
is to be expected that EU Trade Mark and Community Design
Registrations will in future not apply to the UK. With three
offices across France and Luxembourg, whatever changes come into
effect, we will remain able to register EU IP rights. There are
likely to be transitional provisions to cover community rights
filed before the UK formally leaves the EU. It is too early to
speculate how those transitional provisions will develop, but for
the time being clients should continue with their existing filing
strategies. Likewise, there is no change to enforcement routes for
the time being.
Transactional work, copyright, etc
Withdrawal from the EU might affect aspects of the law
underlying contracts, copyright and other areas of relevance to IP.
For the moment, however, nothing will change and things are not
likely to move quickly on this aspect.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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