IP Federation Brexit policy position – design rights

17 March 2017

The IP Federation policy position on the protection of design rights following United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union is as follows:

  • We recognise the extreme practical difficulties in securing a suitable bilat­eral arrangement with the EU which would effectively keep the UK in the Community design system after Brexit.
  • Assuming therefore that Community designs will cease to have effect in the UK at Brexit, our strong preference is for all RCDs [Community registered design rights] auto­matic­ally to be transferred across to the UK register at the time of Brexit.
  • On unregistered designs, we acknowledge that the loss of UCD [Community unregistered design right, UDR] is a particular concern for certain sectors of the UK design industry. A new Community-style UK UDR which ‘mirrors’ the existing UCD would go part way to addressing those concerns.
  • Existing UK UDR should nonetheless be maintained on Brexit. UK UDR is a well-established and valuable IP right.
  • Any newly-created Community-style UK UDR should sit alongside the exist­ing UK UDR and should mirror the existing UCD exactly. The 3 year term of protection for UCDs should not be increased in the UK.
  • The UK should make it a priority to secure an agreement with the EU that disclosure in the UK after Brexit would still qualify for UCD in the remaining states of the EU.
  • Any potential wider review of the UK law on unregistered design should only be undertaken after Brexit.
  • Brexit should not be seen as a reason to introduce criminal sanctions for in­fringement of unregistered design rights. We strongly oppose such sanctions.

We oppose any introduction of criminal sanctions for UDRs in the strongest possible terms. See IP Federation policy paper PP 1/14 in re­lation to criminal sanctions for existing UK UDR – many of the same concerns would apply to a Community-style UK UDR.

For full details, click HERE.

To see all our policy papers, click HERE.