Developments to watch out for in 2018 include:

  • Further progress in the controversial copyright proposals forming part of the EU Digital Single Market project, including the proposed related right for press publishers, and increased obligations on platforms such as YouTube to prevent infringements of IP rights ( Read more on the initial proposals).
  • The Portability Regulation will apply from 1 April 2018 and will allow subscribers to access online content when temporarily in another Member State e.g. when on holiday.
  • The Trade Secrets Directive must be implemented by Member States, including the UK, by 9 June 2018. It is not yet clear what approach the UK Government will take to implementation – it is possible that it will decide that the UK law is already largely compliant with the Directive and it will not be necessary to implement specific legislation, with any issues that arise being dealt with by judicial interpretation. Otherwise, any legislation will need to jostle for priority.
  • The Trade Marks Directive meanwhile must be implemented by Member States by 14 January 2019, which will bring national laws in line with the reforms already implemented in relation to EU trade marks.
  • Finally, the UK Government has indicated that it intends to ratify by 31 March 2018 the Hague Agreement on Industrial Designs (in its own right, as the UK is already a member through EU membership) with the new registration service being available from Spring 2018. By joining the Hague system, UK businesses will continue to have access to the international system of design registration after Brexit.

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.