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EU sets out position on post-Brexit IP rights

Unitary intellectual property (IP) rights should continue to apply in the UK after Brexit, the European Commission has said in a position paper.

The commission points out that Brexit will create uncertainty for both the UK and the EU in relation to the scope of protection in the UK of certain IP rights.

It argues that the unitary protection enjoyed in the UK, including EU trademarks and the unregistered community design right, should not be undermined by Brexit.

It has advised the UK to put in place the necessary domestic legislation to provide for continued EU-wide protection once Brexit takes place in March 2019, at no additional cost to businesses.

The paper is one of a series setting out the EU’s position on various issues arising from Brexit.

“This is good news for the fashion industry,” said Simon Bennett, partner at law firm Fox Williams. “Brands wouldn’t have to re-register their rights as UK rights. It would save on costs and there would be less uncertainty.”

He pointed out that the EU’s unregistered community design right covers surface decorations, such as patterns on a dress. There equivalent UK design right gives a degree of protection from copying, but it excludes surface decoration.

“If the UK government accepts [the EU’s] proposals, designers will see the protection they have at the moment continuing.”

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