On 6 March 2018, the UK government published a technical note on its approach to certain separation issues that are to be agreed as part of the UK’s withdrawal agreement with the EU. This note includes general guidance on both intellectual property rights and data protection.

In summary:

Intellectual property rights

  • The UK’s objective is to provide maximum clarity and legal certainty for users, applicants and rights holders by agreeing arrangements appropriate to each of the rights that are within the scope of the separation discussions.
  • Where the UK does not have existing domestic legislation to protect certain types of rights, it will establish new schemes.

Data protection

  • The UK and the EU should agree to continue to provide appropriate protections for data and information exchanged before exit and under the withdrawal agreement.
  • UK law will be aligned with EU law at the point of exit, in part due to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation.
  • The UK’s objective is to agree early in the process a basis for the continued free flows of data between the EU (and other EU adequate countries) and the UK from the point of exit until such time as new and more permanent arrangements come into force.

While these aims are laudable, unfortunately they do not offer clarity on how IP rights will be transitioned and the EU is not yet in agreement on the UK’s position on data protection.