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Intellectual Property

The Intellectual Property system will continue as it is until 31 December 2020. There will be no disruption to IPO services or changes to the UK IP system during this transition period. The IPO will convert almost 1.4 million EU trade marks and 700,000 EU designs to comparable UK rights at the end of the transition period. However, there will be some actions business will have to take in order to protect their intellectual property.  

Business should consider whether changes to the framework for the exhaustion of IP rights will impact their business. They may want to seek legal advice to inform their assessment.  

If you currently export intellectual property protected goods (such as goods branded with a trade mark) from the UK to the EEA that have already been placed on the UK market, you may need to contact the rights holder to get permission to continue after 1 January 2021. If you own intellectual property rights in goods first sold in the UK, you will need to consider if you want to allow parallel exports of your intellectual property-protected goods from the UK to the EEA after 1 January 2021. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exhaustion-of-ip-rights-and-parallel-trade-after-the-transition-period.  

Business should consider if any potential changes to the eligibility for unregistered designs rights in the UK and the EU will impact their business.  

From 1 January 2021 onwards the unregistered Community design will no longer cover the UK. A new supplementary unregistered design, mirroring the characteristics of the Community right will be introduced in the UK. Unless there is an agreement on disclosure, eligibility will be restricted to the territory in which a design is first disclosed, either the UK or EU. You may not have IP protection in your most important market if you do not make an informed choice about first disclosure of their unregistered designs.

You should consider if any potential changes to disclosure requirements will impact your business and check with your legal team about how best to secure unregistered design protection in the UK and EU. More information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/changes-to-unregistered-designs-after-the-transition-period.