The UK Government has given assurances to holders of EU intellectual property rights that after Brexit those rights will remain protected in the UK.
Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons last week, Robin Walker MP, Undersecretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU, announced that existing EU trade marks and registered community designs will be cloned onto the UK register “automatically and for free”. This will create over 1.7 million comparable UK rights. Existing unregistered community designs will also continue to enjoy protection in the UK after Brexit.
Mr Walker said that holders of EU rights could “be confident that their existing intellectual property rights will not be diminished, and that the UK will remain one of the best places in the world to protect and enforce IP rights”.
The announcement follows the UK Government’s publication of a paper highlighting the points in the European Commission’s draft Withdrawal Agreement that have been “agreed at negotiators' level”. This was the first indication of the UK Government’s intention to grant an equivalent UK right to each holder of an EU IP right. It remains, however, subject to approval of the Withdrawal Agreement as a whole by both the EU and the UK.