As you will no doubt know by now, on 23 June 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union.  While the precise impact of the “Brexit” is unclear at this stage, the “leave” vote will definitely have implications on how you manage and enforce your Intellectual Property rights in Europe.

Key take away points:

  • Overall: in the short term, it is business as usual with an orderly transition for registered rights envisaged.

Short / medium priorities:

  • Licensing / brand sharing: Any existing and new IP licence, agreements, etc. that include a definition of the EU (e.g. as the territory) should be checked to see whether it is the EU as constituted at the date of agreement or as constituted from time to time. Amendments may be required.

Watching Brief:

  • Patents: No changes expected to existing patent laws in the UK and Europe (EPC). Notably, the EPC is entirely independent from the EU. There will be an impact on the pending Unitary Patent, but it is not possible to foresee where that will end up.
  • Trade Marks / Designs: No immediate changes for UK and EU designs and trade marks. Once the UK has left the EU (not for several years still), it is expected that the EUTMs/RCDs would be split and the UK part be transformed into a national UK right, with the rest of the EUTM/RCD covering the remainder of the EU.
  • Copyright: No immediate changes expected for copyright laws, though impact of separation on territorial licensing to be seen once the UK is no longer subject to EU competition laws.
  • Sui Generis Database Rights: Databases created in the UK may no longer be protected.

Trade Secrets: It is unclear whether the UK will implement the recently passed Trade Secrets Directive.

What next? For further detail, please see our client alert “Brexit” and the potential impact on your IP – what do you need to do now?


Jessica's practice focuses on international trade and anti-bribery work, encompassing customs, export control and sanctions matters. Jessica's trade work includes advising international clients on fast-moving and evolving EU and UN sanctions, notably in respect of Iran and Russia, and on compliance with UK and EU export controls. Her trade experience also includes advising on tariff classification and customs valuations. Jessica's anti-bribery experience includes assisting with investigations, and advising clients on compliance with anti-bribery laws. Jessica has also taken a lead role in monitoring Brexit-related developments; analysing how they will affect the UK's trading position generally, and clients' businesses specifically. She has helped clients begin to conduct risk assessments of how Brexit will impact their businesses, and has assisted them in developing tailored Brexit strategies. Jessica also presents at various seminars, webinars, and conferences on the complexities of Brexit. Jessica advises global clients on complex issues arising from international transactions and works with clients across a number of sectors including pharmaceuticals, defence, finance, aviation, energy, and telecommunications. Jessica has also worked previously in Paris, and is fluent in French.

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