Thursday, 6 June 2013

If the United Kingdom were to leave the EU ...

An interesting posting here on Mills & Reeve's technology law blog, even if the use of the subjunctive seems a bit hit and miss (and this is a very subjunctive topic): if the United Kingdom were to leave the European Union, which with a referendum promised no-one can say is impossible, what would happen to Community trade marks and Community registered designs? I sometimes think that nothing bad enough could happen to those two sub-species of intellectual property, which have done so much to clutter the place up with dubious rights, to the detriment of IP's reputation as a whole, such that even I might favour leaving the EU if we could be rid of them. But that's just me, perhaps. However, I think it's at least arguable that CTMs and CRDs, like the EU itself, have turned out to be big disappointments - bloated, elitist, and of little relevance to the small person or business. They all promised so much, and have delivered so little.

M&R - in fact, their Richard Plaistowe, although he didn't post the piece himself, curiously: perhaps in Biglaw you have someone to post stuff to your blog for you? - look at the precedent of Irish independence, which shows just how novel the dilemma is. Holders of UK trade marks and registered designs at that time were given 6 months in which to re-register in the State and retain existing priorities. Something similar might happen if we leave the EU.

Something similar might also happen if Scotland were to leave the UK - but that's not going to happen, is it? Ah, if only someone had listened to those who called for a federal Britain in a federal Europe back in the seventies.

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