On 29th March 2017, the UK government started the formal process of withdrawal from the European Union, by sending a notification to the European Council under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union. The treaty provisions envisage a period of up to two years for negotiation of future arrangements between the UK and the remaining countries of the EU, which means that the UK’s withdrawal is likely to take place on or before 29th March 2019 (although it is possible that this period may be extended).
Many aspects of law and trade will need to be discussed and agreed. As there is a significant level of integration of intellectual property systems on a European level, the IP professions are already working hard to ensure that IP is given high priority in these negotiations. Even so, it is likely to be some time before the shape of future IP structures emerges with any degree of clarity. In the meantime, it is important to note that everything remains as it is for the present (see our note entitled “EU Referendum”). Indeed, there may even be further integration in the short term, by means of the planned “European patent with unitary effect” and the “Unified Patent Court” – both of which the UK government has stated that it intends to implement.
Further general updates will appear on this site, as and when significant developments occur. For more specific advice, or if you have any questions on this or any other IP-related issue, please contact the partner with whom you usually deal or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bromhead Johnson 29.03.2017