Tuesday, August 2, 2016

UK IPO finally speaks about the "facts" of IP post-Brexit

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Article .uk consultations, Article #Brexit, Article AmeriKat, Article Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Article Brexit, Article Hague Agreement on Industrial Designs, Article Intellectual Property, Article trade mark, Article UPC Agreement,

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The AmeriKat under yet another Brexit law
Unlike many of the UK law firms who quickly climbed on board the Brexit bandwagon, the UK's Intellectual Property Office has been understandably and notably silent.  For the past several weeks they have been in listening mode as they hear from stakeholders about their post-referendum concerns.  Today, they have published a short guide called "IP and Brexit:  The Facts" to dispel the speculation on the future of IP law following the referendum result.  The main message is "The UK is still part of the EU so your EU-derived protections continue and we are considering various post-Brexit options".  Unsurprisingly, the brief is short given that the fate of EU-made rights will be determined by the ultimate relationship between the UK and EU.

On patents, the UK IPO confirmed that it was business as usual for UK businesses applying for patents at the EPO and that the referendum result will not impact the European Patent Convention (EPC).  On the UPC it stated:
"The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present. We will continue to attend and participate in UPC meetings in that capacity. There will be no immediate changes." 
On trade marks and designs, the UK IPO stated that
"We recognise that for EU trade marks, users will want clarity over the long-term coverage of those rights. The government is exploring various options and we will be consulting users of the system about the best way forward. Even after the UK leaves the EU, UK businesses will still be able to register an EU trade mark, which will cover all remaining EU Member States.  
In addition, the UK is a member of the international trade mark system called the “Madrid System”, which allows users to file one application, in one language, and pay one set of fees to protect trade marks in up to 113 territories including the European Union." 
On rights of representation of UK trade mark lawyers before EUIPO, the UK government stated that they fully recognized those concerns and "welcome views on how to address these concerns and are involving stakeholders in consideration of these issues."

The IPO's Brexit briefing summarizes
what we expected - business as
usual, until something  happens
On designs, the UK IPO reiterated the government's intention to ratify the Hague Agreement:
"in a national capacity, which provides a practical business solution for registering up to 100 designs in over 65 territories through filing one single international application. We are currently working through the steps of joining and hope to introduce the service within the next year." 
On copyright, the UK IPO stated that the continued effect of the EU Directives and Regulations post-Brexit "will depend on our future relationship".

Finally on enforcement, the UK IPO conducted some justifiable self-promotion by declaring that
"The UK is widely seen as a world leader in enforcement of IP. By working in partnership with law enforcement and industry, the government can deliver an IP environment where legitimate businesses thrive and consumers are protected. For the time being the UK’s enforcement framework remains unchanged."
The UK IPO concluded by stating that it
"...will continue to play an active role in the review of the Enforcement Directive, and the Commission’s work on tackling commercial-scale infringement."
The AmeriKat will be back later this week with an update on the Enforcement Directive consultation following June's IPR Enforcement Conference 2016.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe will definitely
need energy when it comes to
Brexit negotiations
In the meantime, Baroness Neville-Rolfe will continue as the minister for IP, but her full title is now Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property.  So with energy to her dossier, her full list of responsibilities is as follows:

  • energy (with the Minister for Industry and Energy) 
  • nuclear 
  • oil and gas, including shale gas 
  • low carbon generation 
  • security of supply 
  • electricity and gas wholesale markets and networks 
  • energy efficiency and heat, including fuel poverty 
  • smart meters and smart systems 
  • international energy energy security, including resilience and emergency planning i
  • ntellectual property 
  • EU single market
  • Lords lead on all BEIS issues
"Well if anyone can tackle that job specification," Merpel muses "Baroness Neville-Rolfe surely can...."

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