CIPA President writes to Theresa May urging action on EUIPO Brexit issue

CIPA President Stephen Jones has written to Prime Minister Theresa May, and to the “Brexit” Secretary Dominic Raab, urging the Government to include the UK’s continued participation in the European Union trade marks and design system in ongoing negotiations with the EU.  

Brexit will have no effect on the existing arrangements for patents because the European Patent Office is not an EU institution, but European Trade Marks and Community Designs are filed at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). To avoid the Government having to create new equivalent UK trade mark and design rights to provide continued protection for rights holders, with potentially significant inconvenience and cost to businesses of all kinds, Mr Jones asked Mrs May to add the EUIPO to the list of EU agencies in which the UK would continue to participate after Brexit. In the White Paper on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU, the Government lists these as the European Chemicals Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency and the European Medicines Agency. This would be consistent also with the commitment in the White Paper to explore other options on intellectual property, including participation in the proposed new Unified Patent Court and unitary patent system. 

Mr Jones reminded the Prime Minister that, given the White Paper’s emphasis on frictionless trade between the UK and the EU, including between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the provisions for protection of trade marks and designs were of crucial importance. In CIPA’s view, the best way of ensuring continuity would be the UK’s continued participation in the EUIPO system, under new arrangements that recognised the UK would not be a Member State, as proposed for the other agencies listed.

Mr Jones said: “CIPA urges the Government to add the EUIPO to the list and explore with the EU ways in which the UK can continue to participate in a common registration system for trade marks and designs after leaving the EU. This will greatly benefit UK and EU businesses as well as our trading partners in the rest of the world, and facilitate the commitment in the White Paper to providing the means for continuation of frictionless trade between the UK and the EU.”