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Intellectual property protection post-Brexit

28 May 2021 | Paul Hardman

Paul Hardman, Director and Head of Commercial and Corporate law, explores the latest issues around Intellectual Property protection post-Brexit.

Protecting your business’ intellectual property (IP) and branding is a key element in future proofing your organisation against imposters and imitators. But the legal landscape of IP and trade marking internationally can be something of a minefield for business leaders.

The issues around protecting your intellectual property around the world have never been so complex. The UK having now left the regulatory frameworks of the European Union, the globalisation of business, the rise of the Chinese commercial superpower in particular and other rising manufacturing nations – all of which combines to create a tangled web of IP-related pitfalls in the road of growing manufacturers and South West brands.

Intellectual Property (IP) has developed in the UK since the end of World War II so that today there will not be any business owner that has not had to consider it or understand its value to their business. In many cases IP rights are the valuable assets owned and commercialised by businesses, whether in the form of copyright, patents, designs, databases, trade secrets, know-how, trademarks and domain names.

But protecting IP is expensive – UK investment in protecting IP has risen from £23.8 billion to £63.5 billion in the last 20 years – and jurisdiction specific. Neither trade nor counterfeiters are. The direct economic costs to EU industries caused by counterfeit goods in the EU markets total £43 billion per year in lost sales, or 416,000 jobs.

The UK’s departure from the EU regulatory union has added to the cost of protection and market access and now requires a twin track approach to cover both the UK and EU.  In addition, for GDPR purposes, the UK and EU regard each other as ‘third countries’ and the rules about data transfer have yet to be finalised. 

However, these costs need not always fall to UK businesses. The national jurisdictional basis of IP allows IP owners to consider using territory specific exclusive licence partnering arrangements where these costs can be passed on.

The new landscape therefore calls business owners to invest time and money in reviewing their IP strategies portfolios and wider partnering arrangements to see if they remain the most efficient way to protect and grow the value in their IP.

Specialist IP legal advice

If you would like to discuss any IP issue, please contact Paul Hardman by calling 0117 906 9400 or email hello@gl.law

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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