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European Commission sets out principles for the continued protection of IP rights post-Brexit

The European Commission has published a position paper containing the main principles of the European Union’s (EU) position regarding intellectual property to be presented to the United Kingdom in the context of Brexit negotiations.

The Commission’s principle position is that “the protection enjoyed in the United Kingdom on the basis of Union law by both UK and EU 27 holders of intellectual property rights having unitary character within the Union before the withdrawal date is not undermined by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union”.

The Commission proposes that for rights granted prior to Brexit, an equivalent, enforceable UK right be granted automatically. It is also proposed that this should be implemented at no cost to the rights holder and with minimal administrative burden.

For applications pending at the time of Brexit, the Commission proposes that the applicant the applicant should be entitled to keep the benefit of any priority date in the original pan-EU application when applying for an equivalent UK right post-Brexit.

Regarding applications for supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) or for the extension of their duration in the United Kingdom on-going before the withdrawal date these should be completed in accordance with EU law.

There are further proposals made relating to database rights and trademark specific matters.

The UK has yet to publish its position and whilst these are merely proposals for further discussion, any movement towards reducing uncertainty is to be welcomed.

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