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A “To Do” suggestion for the new IP Minister

brexit-1481028_1920“Uncertainty abounds” might as well be the summary for any article that’s written at the moment about Brexit.

After a 2017 in which the Prime Minister apparently sought to find out just how many times she could shoot her own party in the foot (triggering Article 50 before the UK was ready, setting out unnecessary redlines and calling a snap General Election) we somehow managed to agree a deal in the first phase of the EU talks. However, the shape of the UK’s post-Brexit relationship is still unknown and the negotiations are on a break while everyone works out what they want. (more…)

Brexit and IP – looking ahead in 2018

IMG_8533Following the UK’s EU referendum and the triggering of the Article 50 notification, the UK is currently scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. Until the final arrangements between the UK and the EU are known there is widespread uncertainty in a range of areas including the intellectual property system within the UK.

For example, a particular IP related area of concern is what will happen in respect of EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered community designs (RCDs) post-Brexit. Without arrangements to the contrary it is unlikely that such EUTMs and RCDs will continue to cover the UK post-Brexit. [However, it is noted that it is completely within the UK’s ability to arrange for the implementation of an equivalent UK trade mark or design right to mirror the EU right. As such, holders of EUTMs and RCDs should expect that, even if arrangements are currently unclear, it is highly likely that the UK will announce the mechanism for continued protection in due course.]

As the UK and the EU move into the next phase of the Brexit negotiations IPcopy thought that this would be a good opportunity to recap how the referendum result impacts the IP world, what the current official announcements are and what action IP right holders can consider taking now. (more…)

EUIPO Notice on Brexit – December 2017

On 5th December, the European Commission issued a notice, countersigned by the EUIPO, to right-holders of, and applicants for, EU trade marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs), looking at the potential scenario in which no agreement is reached between the UK and the remaining 27 EU Member States in the Brexit negotiations.

The notice states that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another withdrawal date or the period is extended, on 30th March 2019 the UK will become a “third country”, i.e. it will no longer be an EU Member State. Any EUTM or RCD rights granted by the EUIPO on or after the withdrawal date will only be valid in the 27 EU Member States and will no longer have effect in the UK.

It is expected that the UKIPO will recognise EUTMs and RCDs that were registered prior to the above cut-off date by granting protection on the UK Register. However, IPcopy recommends giving consideration to filing UK and EU trade marks and designs simultaneously, to ensure adequate protection. (more…)

The Lords consider the UPC: “Where is it?”

IMG_8533With the ongoing UPC related court case in Germany and the uncertainties arising due to Brexit, the preparations for the unitary patent system have, for the moment at least, something of the feel of a dead rubber match in a sporting competition.

Perhaps, once (if?) the German case allows German ratification preparations to continue and the UK has managed to make its intentions clear, the project will get up and running again. Until then any developments have, to my mind at least, the feel of going through the motions.

It was against this backdrop that the House of Lords Grand Committee met on 6 December 2017 to consider the draft Unified Patent Court (Immunities and Privileges) Order 2017. The approval of this Order by the House of Lords and its subsequent approval (along with the corresponding Scottish Order) by the Privy Council are the last pieces of the UK’s ratification process that need to be completed before the UK can formally ratify the UPC Agreement. (more…)

New York City Bar Association Trademark and Unfair Competition Committee Seminar

statue-of-liberty-267948_960_720During an unseasonably freezing spell in autumnal New York, I was honoured to be amongst the speakers at a NYC Bar Association seminar on 13 November 2017 organised and hosted by Ainslee Schreiber in her debut event since being recently appointed Chairwoman of the Trademark and Unfair Competition Committee of the Association.

Taking advantage of several International trade mark practitioners who were transiting through New York after the INTA Leadership Meeting in Washington, DC, the previous week, Ainslee organised and hosted an evening seminar on latest developments in key jurisdictions of interest to the Association’s members. Many braved the cold and it was a well-attended session, at the end of which I was delighted to meet Ronald Coleman, who successfully took THE SLANTS trade mark application all the way up to the Supreme Court and obtained registration of the mark.

Here is a review of the seminar with a few take-home points on each one of the presentations. (more…)

European Commission Brexit Paper on Intellectual Property – a closer look

brexit-1481028_1920As noted in our post earlier this week, the European Commission has released its position paper on the treatment of intellectual property (IP) rights (including geographical indicators) after the UK completes its exit from the EU. It sets out general principles on unitary IP rights, geographical indicators, exhaustion, supplementary protection certificates and the protection of databases.

CITMA recently published its position paper on post-Brexit registered trade mark and design rights, and rights of representation. Many elements of the EU paper reflect the position of CITMA, in particular the unitary character of IP protection for European Union Trade Marks (EUTMs) in the UK and EU after the withdrawal date. However, there are two aspects of particular interest to UK practitioners that were not addressed: rights of representation and reciprocity of UK geographical indicators. (more…)

Brexit, IP and the European Commission’s Position Paper

brexit-1481028_1920Earlier in September the European Commission published this position paper on Intellectual Property Rights (including geographical indications) in the context of negotiations under Article 50 TEU.

The position paper, which runs only to 5 pages (actually a fairly meagre 3 and a half pages once you strip out the cover sheet and white space), notes that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will create uncertainty both for Intellectual Property Right (IPR) holders in the UK and the remaining 27 members of the EU (EU27) in relation to the scope of protection of intellectual property rights.

The position paper goes on to set out some general principles that should apply when the Withdrawal Agreement comes into force. The paper mentions trade mark rights, design rights, supplementary protection certificates (SPCs), database rights and exhaustion of rights. Much media attention was also directed toward the section on Geographical Indications (GIs).

IPcopy has summarised the main points of the paper below but feels like the paper comes across as a bit of a weak effort. It’s quite a high level document which is looking at matters pretty much only from the point of view of EU27 stakeholders. There is nothing on representation rights for EU trade mark and design attorneys (which is important for UK stakeholders as well as attorneys) and nothing on the unitary patent system.

The paper also strays, to my mind at least, into the territory of future arrangements (see reference to UK putting in place domestic legislation for GIs) which is something that Michel Barnier said wouldn’t happen until “sufficient progress” had been made on the withdrawal negotiations. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it….. (more…)

UPC: Summer Recess Update

The UK Parliament is now on its summer recess until September which seems like a good time for a brief update on some unitary patent related bits and bobs from the last couple of weeks. (more…)

UPC: UK/DE Ratification update and new version of CMS expected soon

DDZiBDkXYAAgvPY (1)We’ve had some developments of sorts over the last week as far as ratification progress for the UK and Germany is concerned. A new version of the Case Management System for the UPC is also expected to arrive shortly. (more…)

UK Election likely to delay Unified Patent Court?

IMG_8533This week’s snap decision by the Prime Minister to call an early election caught pretty much everyone by surprise and, in IPcopy’s view, is likely to delay (again) the progress of the unitary patent system as the processes around the election seem likely to interfere with the UK’s ratification of the UPC Agreement. In this post we take a look at the timeline for the election and how, in our view, it might potentially push the unitary patent system start date into early 2018. (more…)