The Brexit diaries: What happens to intellectual property?

As a public service, we continue to chart the changes that Brexit, which finally arrived on Jan. 31, brings to the table. We’re now in the period during which the UK and EU will negotiate the final rules governing their future. Bottom line? During this transition, the UK and EU will continue to recognize IP rights without change. When the transition period ends at the end of the year, some changes to IP rights will come into effect in the UK and EU. In a client note, the firm Miller Canfield expects these to be the biggest changes:

Patents: The European patent system allows applicants either to file for a regional patent through the European Patent Office (EPO) or to file for national patents at the patent office within each country. Brexit will not impact patents granted through the EPO and national patent offices.

Trademarks: Before (and after) the EU was formed, individual countries provided for trademark rights through their own respective trademark offices. These national registrations will remain unchanged after Brexit.

European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO): EUIPO allows applicants to file one application to register trademarks and community designs in all EU countries simultaneously. This system will continue without much change in the EU. However, existing EU registrations and pending applications will no longer have effect in the UK. The UK plans to convert registered EU trademarks and registered community designs into “comparable” UK trademark or community design registrations at the end of the transition period, says the firm.

Copyrights: Copyright protection exists in Europe largely under the laws of each country and should remain unchanged after Brexit.

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