19 January 2022Alex Baldwin

UK govt retains IP exhaustion regime

The UK government has decided to maintain the current IP exhaustion framework but said further development of the policy is “needed” in due course.

This follows a consultation launched in June last year asking the public to submit their views on the current IP exhaustion regime post-Brexit and offer any potential changes to the system.

However, according to an announcement made yesterday, 18 January, the UK government has now decided against any immediate action, but will provide further updates “in due course”.

The consultation ran for 12 weeks and closed in August 2021. In total, the government received 150 responses from businesses, organisations, and law firms.

Businesses in the creative industries were the most prominent responders, representing 54 of the total 150, followed by companies in the health sector which comprised 39 responders.

Several prominent IP associations and law firms also responded to the consultation, including MARQUES, Bristows, and Gowling WLG.

Regime changes

Under the “UK+” regime, the government permits the parallel importation of goods that have been sold in other EEA countries. But parallel imports to the EEA from the UK are not permitted.

The consultation asked correspondence to answer questions regarding a new regime for IP exhaustions’ impact on parallel trade, pricing differences between markets, the UK’s current exhaustion regime, possible future regimes, the impact any possible changes to the current regime could have, and potential legal implications.

However, the government claims that, upon analysis of the responses, there was “not enough data” to effectively evaluate the economic impact of any alternative regime changes that would alter the current “UK+” regime.

As a result, the government declined to arrive at a decision based on the original consultation criteria.

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