United Kingdom: IP and Brexit

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw

As ‘Brexit’ looms closer and closer without a deal so far acceptable to the UK Parliament, the UK Intellectual Property Office has issued some helpful guidance on 16 & 17 January 2019 on the future of Intellectual Property Law when the UK leaves the European Union, which is scheduled to take place at midnight on 29 March 2019.

Intellectual Property (IP) plays a significant role in Sport generally and particularly in relation to the organisation and implementation of Sports Events. In fact, without the protection afforded by IP, major sporting events could not take place, as sponsors and other sports marketers would not make any financial investments in them. Equally, sports personalities could not exploit their valuable image rights for significant financial returns, especially without the benefits of trademark and copyright protection, as, under English Common Law, there is no free-standing right that recognises and protects image rights. See the decision in the case of Victoria Park Racing and Recreation Grounds Co Ltd v Taylor (1938) 58 CLR 479.

See further on this topic of IP and Sport in the Book on ‘Sports Marketing Agreements: The Legal Practical and Fiscal Aspects’ by the author of this post, published by the Asser Press, The Hague, The Netherlands.

The UK Government guidance, referred to above, may be found respectively on line by logging onto: ‘www.gov.uk/government/publications/ip-and-brexit-the-facts’ and at  ‘www.gov.uk/government/publications/trade-marks-designs-if-theres-no-brexit-deal’.

The guidance covers, in some detail, a whole range of IP Rights: Trade Marks, Copyright, Designs and Patents.

The UK Government has committed itself, after Brexit, to continue to protect all existing Registered European Union Trade Marks, Registered Community Designs, and Unregistered Community Designs; and furthermore, will create over 1.7 million comparable UK rights, which will be granted automatically and free of charge.

And has added that “the UK will remain one of the best places in the world to obtain and protect your IP.”

As the French say: ‘on verra’!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’