Find out more from a recently published UK Government set of papers covering IP issues relating to a possible ‘no deal’ Brexit. These cover:

The IPO says, A scenario in which the UK leaves the EU without agreement (a ‘no deal’ scenario) remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome. Negotiations are progressing well and both we and the EU continue to work hard to seek a positive deal. However, it’s our duty as a responsible government to prepare for all eventualities, including ‘no deal’, until we can be certain of the outcome of those negotiations. For two years, the government has been implementing a significant programme of work to ensure the UK will be ready from day 1 in all scenarios, including a potential ‘no deal’ outcome in March 2019.

It has always been the case that as we get nearer to March 2019, preparations for a no deal scenario would have to be accelerated. Such an acceleration does not reflect an increased likelihood of a ‘no deal’ outcome. Rather it is about ensuring our plans are in place in the unlikely scenario that they need to be relied upon. This series of technical notices sets out information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in a ‘no deal’ scenario, so they can make informed plans and preparations”.

Dids Macdonald, OBE, CEO of ACID said, “ACID will be keeping a close eye on negotiations and will be re-assessing as information emerges. Most importantly, for the majority of UK designers the key question is, what will happen to EU Unregistered design rights and the current protection afforded in 27 other EU member states? EU unregistered design rights’ protection offers a much broader protection for designers than the current UK unregistered design rights’ protection (shape & configuration only) so it is essential that our Government keeps up the dialogue to make negotiators fully aware. ACID has already provided evidence to the IPO team in meetings held in June.”

Unregistered EU-wide design right

This guidance confirms that all unregistered Community designs which exist at Brexit will continue to be protected and enforceable in the UK for the remaining period of protection of the right, requiring no action from the right holder. The Government has also said it will create a new unregistered design right in UK law mirroring the characteristics of the unregistered Community design, a point ACID has raised consistently with the IPO, so this would be beneficial for UK designers. The question remains, however, that UK designers would need to be assured of EU protection and, similarly, EU designers would need to be assured of UK protection of their unregistered design rights so there is still a question mark over this. Some designers are saying that in order to be assured of protection they may need to “publish” their designs first in the EU if they are to have protection in 27 other EU countries, as well as in the UK.