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Jessica Le Gros

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Following on from our recent alert on the “Draft Withdrawal Agreement”, this note provides an up to date summary of the two most likely outcomes for rights owners: a “no deal” or hard Brexit, or a deal substantially in the form of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement. We also provide practical advice to IP owners as to what to do now to be prepared for most eventualities.

The recent publication of the “Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community” (Draft Withdrawal Agreement) in November 2018 and the publication of various technical notices dealing with a no deal Brexit by the UK Government in the summer, mean that we now have some welcome clarity on the EU and UK positions on IP rights as a consequence of Brexit, although of course the political situation is rapidly changing and uncertain.

The Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (‘draft agreement’) was – finally – published on 14 November 2018. The draft has been endorsed by the UK Cabinet but will require approval in the House of Commons and it could meet with stiff opposition. The draft agreement also contains provisions which  impact upon certain IP rights, including trade marks and designs.

Overall, the draft agreement provides welcome clarifications with respect to EU-law based IP rights and allows for a smooth transition and an end-point that is as close to the status quo as could be hoped for. Most notably it provides for a continued protection in the UK of EU trade marks.  Of course, the biggest risk at present is whether the UK Parliament will approve the agreement in its current form.