27 March 2018Trademarks

Marques and INTA offer up Brexit IP suggestions

Marques and the International Trademark Association (INTA) were among a selection of industry bodies that have penned their views on how best to protect IP in the UK after Brexit.

The open letter, published on Friday, March 23, followed on from a meeting that the organisations had with Francois Arbault of the European Commission’s Brexit negotiations taskforce in June last year.

The letter was signed by the European Brands Association, Association of Trademarks and Designs Rights Practitioners, the Benelux Trademark Association, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, European Communities Trade Mark Association, INTA and Marques.

In February, the EU and UK announced a draft withdrawal agreement. This was followed by the release of a document on March 19 featuring provisional agreements on IP. The agreement also noted that a transitional period from March 29, 2019, to December 31, 2020, during which time the UK will remain part of the EU, would take place

The latest draft said that EU trademark registrations, Community designs, plant verity rights and database rights will all be protected after the transition period, which will take place between March 29, 2019 and December 31, 2020. However, the mechanisms for ensuring protection have yet to be outlined.

Highlighting the importance of IP to the economy, the industry representatives offered their views on how the EU and UK can achieve their joint goals.

“We recommend that negotiations be conducted with maximum transparency, including consultation of users on potential solutions, wherever appropriate,” said the letter.

“We would also recommend that any changes to the IP system be intensively publicised and introduced with sufficient transition periods so that businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises, are adequately informed and enabled to take all the necessary actions.”

The letter noted that the protection of geographical indications will also need to be considered.

The associations requested that procedures concerning pending EU trademarks and registered Community designs are clearly defined upon the UK’s departure from the EU.

In particular, it should be decided whether the European Union Intellectual Property Office handles applications until registration, or if the UK Intellectual Property Office should examine them separately regarding registration in the UK when it is no longer a part of the EU.

The industry representatives also urged the UK to continue enforcing a common customs system to prevent the trade of counterfeit and pirated goods between the UK and the EU.

The letter’s signatories said that they will continue a multilateral dialogue, if required, as negotiations continue.

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1 March 2018   Proposals in the European Commission’s Brexit withdrawal agreement could cause confusion in some IP areas, lawyers have told WIPR.
29 March 2018   The Alliance for Intellectual Property is the latest industry body to lend its voice to the Brexit negotiations.