Beyond Brexit – what you need to know about the deal and IP

Contacts: Sahira Khwaja, Stephen Bennett

Welcome to our Beyond Brexit Series. The UK and EU announced on 24 December 2020 that they had reached a deal, pursuant to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA),  that determines the framework for the new UK-EU relationship with effect from 1 January 2021. This is a short insight into the impact of the Brexit deal on IP.

What you need to know about the deal and IP:

The deal is focused on trade in goods and related issues however it does include provisions on IP, which set out the agreed minimum standards on protection and enforcement. In general, these minimum standards flow from the various IP-related international treaties, which the EU and the UK are already party to, such as the TRIPS Agreement, membership of which is not affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

These minimum standards already unpin the UK’s intellectual property framework, so what has been agreed in the deal will not in itself have a significant impact on the current framework. Changes have instead been driven by the 2019 Withdrawal Agreement, already agreed with the EU prior to the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020, in which the UK agreed to continued recognition of existing unitary rights (EU trade marks and community designs) by creating equivalent protection under UK law and also the UK’s no-deal planning Statutory Instruments (SI’s) on intellectual property, which were enacted to prepare UK law for a no-deal Brexit and which came into force from 1 January 2021.

Of particular interest in relation to the deal however are some of the areas where the UK has not come to a deal with the EU or has sought to explicitly remain free to diverge from the EU going forward. For example, in the areas of copyright and designs, exhaustion of intellectual property rights and geographical indications. Further, nothing has been agreed on jurisdiction and enforcement (the UK is requesting to be allowed to accede to the Lugano Convention – to get back to the pre-Brexit position - but nothing has been agreed yet).

For more detail on the changes that came into force on 1 January 2021 in relation to registered trade marks and designs, see our earlier articles: 5 key changes to your EU trade marks to look out for on 1 Jan 2021 and Beyond Brexit transition: the impact on IP.

For a more detailed discussion, please join us for our webinar at 12pm UK/1pm CET on 14 January 2021 where members of our Brexit taskforce will discuss the key implications of the TCA and how our clients can best plan for the future.



Beyond Brexit: Practical considerations for business

Thursday 14 January

12 pm GMT

Join our panel of speakers as we discuss the practical considerations for trade, policy and dealmaking, and examine what the Agreement means for business strategy.

Register your interest here.

Beyond Brexit transition – the impact on IP

From the end of the transition period, EU Trade Marks (“EUTMs”), International Trade Mark Registrations designating the EU (“IR(EU)s”), registered Community Designs (“RCDs”) and International Design Registrations designating the EU (“IR(RCD)s”) (collectively “EU Rights”) will cease to have effect in the UK.