How will Brexit affect IP rights? Are you covered? | Zacco

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How will Brexit affect IP rights? Are you covered?

4 November 2020

Brexit has happened, and the transition period ended on the 31st December 2020. Have your IP assets, contracts and agreements been reviewed accordingly? If not, talk to us!

Please note, this article was updated on 15th February 2021 to reflect the latest and most relevant information following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.


Brexit has happened, and the transition period ended on the 31st December 2020. Have your IP assets, contracts and agreements been reviewed accordingly? If not, talk to us!


Here are some quick tips on what you need to consider:


IP Rights after Brexit


From the 1st January 2021, EU Trademarks (EUTM) and Community designs no longer offer protection rights within the UK. Current EUTMs, licenses or agreements covering Intellectual Property (IP) rights remain valid within the EU, while in respect of registered IP rights, the UKIPO has created a comparable UK trademark or design right for IP holders and owners. These cloned rights, being separate from those of the EU, may still require amendments to or redrafting of existing contracts referring to the EU to acknowledge existence of the new rights, and ensure that they remain recognised under existing agreements.


New legislation within the UK ensures that licenses or security interests recorded against an EUTM or Community design, subject to any specific conditions therein, continue to hold legal effect. Zacco can assist with amending current or drafting new rights agreements and help you to fulfil your obligations to inform potential licensees of their existence and any changes. This includes identifying if the creation of said rights has potentially breached existing contractual obligations or agreements.


The UK remains part of the European Patent Convention and, as such, applications to the EPO, as well as existing patent validity, remain largely unaffected. The European Patent Office is an independent international organisation, rather than an EU agency, and therefore Zacco can continue to represent your interests from either our UK or offices within the EU without additional measures.


Geographical Scope


With Brexit, the UK has ceased to be a member of the European Union and, following the end of the transition period, any agreement that refers to an ‘EU’ jurisdiction may no longer provide the same level of protection within the UK. Even if an IP agreement or contract acknowledges the UK as separate from the EU, it is still considered best practice to identify if the change has had any impact on its validity. Such an impact might include, but is not limited to, Freedom to Operate (FTO), existing injunctions, settlement restrictions and other impositions. If you haven’t already, now is the time to act and conduct a thorough review of all your IP assets and agreements, ensuring that you avoid any unwanted surprises now that the UK has withdrawn from the EU.


The Next Steps


Brexit has happened but Zacco is here to help. With a full review of your license and other agreements, we can identify if any amendments or redrafts are required and ensure that the EU and UK are defined as separate independent territories and jurisdictions across all of your IP.


As to trademarks, designs, or other IP assets, Zacco can assist with advice on your need for additional protection and guide you through the reregistration process, acting on your behalf to ensure that your IP is updated and, where necessary, create new registrations to ensure that your IP is remains protected across the UK and Europe following Brexit.


For more information, get in touch.


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