Intellectual Property after Brexit

Policy alterations driven by Brexit will reshape the IP and patent world.

Here are some changes that are to be implemented:

By the 31st December 2020, several ‘copyright’ cross-border agreements will cease to an end. There is also no alternative arrangement in place as of now. This will have a big impact on things such as satellite broadcasting and database rights.

From the 1st January 2021, EU trademarks and Registered Community Designs will no longer have effect in the UK. Comparable national rights will be created instead. This will provide continued protection of intellectual property rights in the UK.

The EU and the UK have agreed the terms of a detailed post-Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“TCA”). This is given effect from the 1stJanuary 2021. The TCA allows the UK and EU to determine their own approaches to the exhaustion of IP rights. Those who are applying for registration will have to choose carefully if they would like to first register in the EU or the UK.

There will also be some changes implemented for patent rights, however, as patents are national rights, they will remain mostly the same. Patents covering the UK will continue to be granted both by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO). European patents will still have the same legal effect in the UK as national patents granted by the UKIPO.

However, the new EU patent regime will also provide patentees with the option to apply for a single pan-EU Unitary Patent (UP) covering most of the EU. It would also create the Unified Patent Court (UPC) to hear and determine patent disputes on an EU-wide basis.

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