Brexit and IP - UK government White Paper

It has been an eventful 24 hours for the UK:  the departure of the England football team from the World Cup at the semi-final stage, the arrival of President Donald Trump, and the publication this morning (in controversial and somewhat chaotic circumstances) of the UK Government's long awaited Brexit White Paper: the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
So is there anything specific on IP in the White Paper? Yes - a little.  The 104 page paper will take some time to fully digest, but a few provisions caught this Kat's eye. First up, the UPC:

The IPKat's feline friend Larry of No 10
"150. There is a long history of European cooperation on patents, which can be costly to enforce in multiple jurisdictions. Most recently, this includes the agreement on a Unified Patent Court to provide businesses with a streamlined process for enforcing patents through a single court, rather than through multiple courts.

151. The UK has ratified the Unified Patent Court Agreement and intends to explore staying in the Court and unitary patent system after the UK leaves the EU. The Unified Patent Court has a unique structure as an international court that is a dispute forum for the EU’s unitary patent and for European patents, both of which will be administered by the European Patent Office. The UK will therefore work with other contracting states to make sure the Unified Patent Court Agreement can continue on a firm legal basis.

152. Arrangements on future cooperation on IP would provide important protections for right holders, giving them a confident and secure basis from which to operate in and between the UK and the EU

[Merpel: The UK "intends to explore staying in the Court and unitary patent system after the UK leaves the EU" - what will this hesitant language lead to in practice?

Paragraphs 38 and 39 of the White Paper confirm that the UK will establish its own geographical indication scheme after Brexit which will go beyond the requirements of TRIPS and will provide a "clear and simple set of rules on GIs, and continuous protection for GIs in the UK".  This will be open to UK and non-UK applicants from the day it enters into force [which is when? Muses Merpel].

This Kat has not found anything specific to trade marks, designs, copyright or exhaustion issues, although there is general recognition of the importance of IP rights and future cooperation in paragraphs 149 and 152. 

On civil judicial cooperation, the UK's proposals include "seeking to join the Lugano convention" after Brexit (see paragraphs 145 to 148), while exploring a new bilateral agreement with the EU to build on the principles in the Lugano convention and subsequent developments at EU level.  

Update at 17.07 on 12.7.2018 - a spokesman for the UK IPO said:  

"The UK intends to stay in the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent system after we leave the EU. The UPC and unitary patent project are an important means of simplifying the protection of innovative products throughout Europe. This Agreement sets the bar for the level of constructive cooperation that the UK seeks with European partners in the future.

UK participation in the UPC and Unitary Patent will extend the benefits of these systems to businesses operating in the UK.

The UK will work with our European Partners to ensure the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court continue on a firm legal basis. This will need to reflect the change in the UK's status as we cease to be an EU Member State, which will require negotiations with our European Partners. We look forward to beginning those negotiations with our European Partners so as to ensure the continuing success of this new system."
Brexit and IP - UK government White Paper Brexit and IP  - UK government White Paper Reviewed by Eibhlin Vardy on Thursday, July 12, 2018 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. I am wondering, what about representation by UK patent attorneys? Currently, if the place of business of the UK patent attorney is in EEA, no problem with representation. After Brexit, would said attorney in Munich cannot represent or could there be grandfather clause or similar?


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