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BREXIT: Rights holders might need to re-register IP in the UK as a result of Brexit, says expert

Businesses that own EU trade marks or design rights might have to re-register those rights with national registry offices across Europe to retain protections against infringers as a result of the UK's vote to leave the EU, an expert has said.24 Jun 2016

This is part of Out-Law's series of news and insights from Pinsent Masons experts on the impact of the UK's EU referendum. Watch our video on the issues facing businesses and sign up to receive our 'What next?' checklist.

Intellectual property law specialist Iain Connor of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said Brexit could spell the end for "automatic EU-wide IP protection".

The "territorial definition" of EU-registered trade marks and design rights would be affected by Brexit, but it is likely that UK and EU officials will agree a system that gives recognition to existing rights across the remaining 27 EU countries while also providing for the conversion of EU-wide rights into UK national rights.

"With harmonised intellectual property rights ranging from registered trade marks and design rights to unregistered rights such as copyright and database right, automatic EU-wide IP protection is now under threat," Connor said.

"While the core scheme of protection for these rights is unlikely to change, leaving the EU will mean that rights which cover all 28 member states will need to be transitioned to a new regime which either transposes EU rights into national rights or requires rights holders to begin afresh the process of securing IP protection in the UK and other member states," he said.

Intellectual property experts Deborah Bould and Helen Cline of Pinsent Masons said that the Brexit vote should spur businesses to review their patent filing and commercialisation strategies.