This paper analyzes the impact of Brexit on trademark and design laws. Both areas are deemed to be profoundly affected by the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, since they have been substantially Europeanized. The European Union created unitary rights in both areas of law that would cease to extend to the United Kingdom after it leaves the European Union. In addition, the national laws on trademarks and designs in EU member states have been harmonized by European legislation. The United Kingdom may diverge from this common approach post-Brexit, but this depends heavily on the specific shape that Brexit may eventually take. Finally, the paper will discuss the effects of Brexit on the laws of geographical indications, the doctrine of exhaustion and the interface of intellectual property and competition law. Since they derive from EU legislation or case law, the specific shape of Brexit will define their fate in UK law.
Brexit: The International Legal Implications is a series examining the political, economic, social and legal storm that was unleashed by the United Kingdom’s June 2016 referendum and the government’s response to it. After decades of strengthening European integration and independence, the giving of notice under article 50 of the Treaty on European Union forces the UK government and the European Union to address the complex challenge of unravelling the many threads that bind them, and to chart a new course of separation and autonomy. Brexit necessitates a deep understanding of its international law implications on both sides of the English Channel, in order to chart the stormy seas of negotiating and advancing beyond separation. The paper series features international law practitioners and academics from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and Europe, explaining the challenges that need to be addressed in the diverse fields of trade, financial services, insolvency, intellectual property, environment and human rights.