The most powerful asset for your business is your intellectual property. This article explains how Brexit may impact your rights and what you can do to mitigate those impacts.
What is a patent?
Patents provide inventors with protection from the unauthorised use, production or sale of their inventions for a specified period. Patents are territorial in nature; therefore, the holder will only enjoy the rights given by a patent in it's registered jurisdiction. Patents are only granted to protect inventions that are technical, new and inventive.
For assistance with the patentability of your invention or to get a patent registered, why not submit an enquiry through Lexoo to get three to four fixed fee quotes from experienced, expert lawyers in one to two business days.
How will Brexit affect patents?
The UK was one of the first countries to sign up to the European Patent Convention which provides the framework for registering and maintaining patents in Europe. This convention is not dependant on the UK’s membership status with the EU. Therefore, patents will remain mostly unchanged by Brexit, and the European Patent will be available to UK individuals and businesses post-Brexit through the European Patent Office.
What is a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC)?
A Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) extends the protection given by a patent on patented active ingredients in pharmaceutical and plant protection products after the patent expires. This protection can last up to five years on the basis that regulatory approval can delay the use of a patent within those industries.
How will Brexit affect a Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC)?
The legal basis of Supplementary Protection Certificate’s (SPC) is in EU legislation which may not automatically apply within the UK after Brexit. Therefore, SPC’s are likely to be largely affected by Brexit. To offer similar protections in the UK post-Brexit, the UK would need to either develop a national equivalent of the regime or come to an agreement to be included in the European SPC framework.
Next Steps: Keep an eye on the progress of the negotiations between the UK and the EU to remain informed on the status of SPC’s post-Brexit.
What is the Unified Patent Court?
The Unified Patent Court is a court that becomes a part of all ratifying member states’ judicial systems with exclusive jurisdiction on European patent disputes. There are three divisional courts proposed, one of which was intended to be in London, and the agreement governing the court is only open to member states of the EU.
How will Brexit affect the Unified Patent Court (UPC)?
Despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the UK ratified the Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement on 26th April 2018. However, it is unclear how (if at all) the UK will be involved in the UPC post-Brexit, as the agreement is only open to EU member states. As the court and agreement are still in the process of ratification, Brexit will not affect any existing rights of IP rights holders regarding the (UPC).
What is a design?
You can register ‘the look’ of a product or rather, its design, to protect it from being copied or stolen. A product's design can include its appearance, physical shape, configuration or decoration. This protection, while requiring renewal every five years, can last as long as 25 years.
What is a Registered Community Design?
A Registered Community Design is a design you can register with the European Union Intellectual Property Office and is valid and enforceable in every member state of the European Union.
How will Brexit affect designs?
Brexit will not affect the enforceability of UK designs registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office. However, if the UK does not reach an agreement with the EU regarding intellectual property post-Brexit, existing Registered Community Designs will be invalid and unenforceable in the UK.
Next Steps: This proposed impact will very much depend on the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU so once again, keep an eye on the progress of these negotiations. Additionally, you could consider registering a UK design as well as a Registered Community Design before the UK’s exit from the EU to alleviate concerns now. If you so do, be sure to arrange for the use of the design in both the UK and the EU to prevent it from being revoked for non-use.
For general advice and assistance with registering both UK and EU Community Designs, why not submit an enquiry through Lexoo who can provide you with fixed fee quotes from specialist and experienced IP lawyers.
What is a trademark?
Trademarks can be words, slogans, logos, shapes, colours and sounds that differentiate products or services from one manufacturer or provider to another.
How will Brexit affect trademarks?
European trademarks may no longer be valid or enforceable in the UK after Brexit if the UK does not come to some form of agreement regarding Intellectual Property Rights. However, UK registered trademarks will see no change.
Additionally, it may be the case that European Trademarks could be revoked from the right holder for non-use after Brexit if the use of that trademark is mainly within the UK.
Next Steps: The effects of Brexit on trademarks are highly dependent on the agreements made between the UK and the EU governing their relationship post-Brexit. For security, consider registering a European Trademark and arrange for its use outside of the UK to continue holding the rights to the trademark in the EU after Brexit.
Additionally, the UK will continue to be a member of the Madrid System post-Brexit which allows for the registration of trademarks in up to 113 jurisdictions (including the EU) through one application.
If you are concerned about these effects and wish to seek advice on taking action now to alleviate those concerns, Lexoo has a variety of highly experienced trademark experts who can provide you with fixed fee quotes alongside a free no-obligation phone call. Click here for more information or to submit an enquiry.
What is a copyright?
Copyright protects your work from being copied, distributed, rented, lent, performed, shown, adapted or put online without your permission. Copyright protection is automatic and does not require registration. Copyrights apply to original literary and non-literary works, dramatic works, musical works, artistic works, sounds, films, broadcasts and the layout of published editions.
How will Brexit affect copyrights?
The law governing Copyright is found in the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. While European legislation and the UK's membership in the EU are the primary influences of this act, it is unlikely that Brexit will have much effect on this UK legislation unless amended by Parliament.
What is a licence agreement?
A licence agreement permits another party to use your intellectual property in a way which would otherwise infringe upon those rights. You as the grantor of the licence are known as the licensor, and the receiver of the licence is known as the licensee.
How will Brexit affect licence agreements?
As with any contract that previously assumes that the UK is in the EU, Brexit will affect any terms of the agreement that consider or are dependent on a geographical location or jurisdiction.
Next Steps: Review all existing licence agreements to identify any =such clauses and ensure they are clear enough to rely upon post-Brexit.
As with any contract review, it is highly recommended that you seek legal assistance to ensure the contract reflects your intentions. Lexoo can help you get fast fixed-fee quotes from trusted intellectual property specialists. Click here for more information or to submit an enquiry.
Intellectual Property law is changing as a result of Brexit. These changes will depend on the arrangements made between the UK and the EU. Consequently, the legal landscape is becoming highly uncertain. Seek advice now to mitigate any future intellectual property risks. Find a lawyer today with Lexoo.