Brexit: An Update on Planned Legislative Reforms Affecting IP Rights

By: Francesca Giovannini

British Prime Minister Theresa May stated on October 2, 2016 that the notification under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the formal mechanism for leaving the European Union (EU), will be sent by the end of March 2017 and announced a so-called Great Repeal Bill repealing the 1972 European Communities Act giving direct effect to all EU law. The Great Repeal Bill will incorporate the body of existing EU law into a corresponding United Kingdom (UK) law, said the Prime Minister.

Thus, starting out, the current EU regulations, which include (among others): EU designs, trademarks, jurisdiction, enforcement and governing law regulations, will be entirely reflected in the new UK law. These regulations are intended to come into force once Great Britain leaves the EU, so as not to create any legislative gap. Although amendments to the new UK law replacing the EU law are not excluded, this announcement implies that nothing is supposed to change for owners of IP rights and users of cross-border enforcement tools provided by EU law before March 2019, if the current schedule is followed and perhaps  for some time to come.