Government publishes Technical Notice on what happens to the Exhaustion of IP Rights principle and parallel imports if there is a no deal Brexit

As part of its planning for a no deal Brexit, the Government has been publishing Technical Notices across all sectors setting out information to allow businesses and citizens to understand what they would need to do in such a scenario.

On 24 September 2018, the Government published a series of Technical Notices covering various aspects of intellectual property, including the exhaustion of IP rights.

The UK is currently part of a regional European Economic Area (EEA) exhaustion scheme, meaning that IP rights are considered exhausted once they have been put on the market anywhere in the EEA with the rights holder’s permission.

If there is no deal, the Government says that the UK will continue to recognise the EEA regional exhaustion regime from exit day to provide continuity in the immediate term for businesses and consumers. Therefore, there will be no change to the rules affecting imports of goods into the UK.

However, the Notice states, there may be restrictions on the parallel import of goods from the UK to the EEA. Therefore, businesses undertaking such activities “may need to check with EU right holders to see if permission is needed”.

The Government says that it is currently “considering all options for how the exhaustion regime should operate after this temporary period” and is undertaking a research programme to support this decision.

In order to prepare the UK’s statute book for its exit from the EU, the UK Government will be passing technical changes through statutory legislation in Parliament over the coming months, using powers under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The Government will be publishing detailed guidance alongside any legislative changes and will “work closely with business representatives, trade associations and stakeholders on the implications”. To read the Technical Notice in full, click here.