Exit day is 31st October (this day is set out in a Statutory Instrument)
This Blog does not post on intellectual property. But, in the interests of completeness, and because the matter of exhaustion of IP rights is a (possibly overlooked) aspect of the circulation of goods, this Blog post publicises the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) instructions on IP and Brexit (updated today 11th September).
Intellectual property rights give rights holders the right to control distribution and re-sale of a product that is protected by IP after they have been put on the market.
Currently, exhaustion of IP rights occurs in the UK when an IP-protected good is placed on the market anywhere in the European Economic Area (EEA). This means that rights holders (such as the owner of a brand) may not prevent the movement of those goods within the EEA. These goods are known as parallel goods, which are genuine goods (that is not counterfeit).
While the UK remains a full member of the EU, intellectual property rights remain exhausted after the first sale of a good. This is with the right holders permission and within the territory of the European Economic Area (EEA).
If there is a no-deal, the UK will continue to recognise EEA exhaustion so the rules affecting imports of goods into the UK will not change. Goods placed on the market [in the EU], after the UK has exited the EU, will continue to be considered exhausted in the UK. This means that parallel imports of these genuine goods from the EEA to the UK will continue unaffected.
However, there may be restrictions on the parallel export of goods from the UK to the EEA. This is because goods placed on the UK market, after the UK has exited the EU, will not be considered exhausted in the EEA.
Businesses that wish to export IP-protected goods to the EEA that have already been legitimately put on the market in the UK, may need the rights holder’s consent. All businesses may wish to seek legal advice on how this arrangement could affect their business model or intellectual property rights.