British IP lawyers ‘could lose £1.7bn in fees after Brexit’

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Dec 06, 2017
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British trademark attorneys deal with nearly 25 per cent of all EU trademarks

EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

British businesses with EU-registered trademarks could lose their protection unless ministers take urgent action, intellectual property specialists warned yesterday.

It is predicted that if a deal over trademarks is not reached with Brussels, the impact of Brexit on intellectual property lawyers will be between £8.5 million and £1.7 billion a year in lost fees.

Research published yesterday found that chartered trademark attorneys in the UK dealt with nearly 25 per cent of all EU trademarks, eclipsing the work done by lawyers in Germany, and those in Spain and Italy combined.

However, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, which carried out the research, warned that without a deal British specialists would lose their right to represent clients in the EU, “resulting in increased costs to UK businesses, damage to key transnational business relationships and a shrinkage in the legal profession”.

The institute added that British attorneys were the biggest group of professionals in Europe acting for EU trademark owners outside the bloc. It is understood that they are currently involved in more than 50 per cent of all EU trademarks registered by businesses from the US.

“But there are worrying signs that international clients would leave their UK attorneys if rights of representation are lost,” the institute said.

It called on ministers “to preserve the rights of representation for UK chartered trademark attorneys at the EU Intellectual Property Office and ensure that all EU registered trademarks continue to have the same scope of protection in the UK following Brexit”. 

Kate O’Rourke, the institute’s president, said that it was “not only important to chartered trademark attorneys, but to all businesses and organisations which own and utilise trademarks and designs, that acceptable and timely solutions are found on the issues of rights of representation before the EUIPO [European Union Intellectual Property Office] and what happens to existing EU registered rights”.

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