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No Deal Brexit could mean additional costs for tech businesses

The government plans to continue to enforce existing intellectual property rights in the event of a No Deal Brexit, according to the latest planning notices, but businesses could face additional costs to access EU and UK markets

The government has published its latest tranche of No Deal Brexit contingency planning notices, including setting out plans for intellectual property rights, copyright and veterinary IT.

The planning notices aim to prepare organisations and citizens on changes likely to take place should the UK leave the EU with no deal.

The latest notice on intellectual property (IP) rights in the event of a no deal could impact UK tech businesses. 

The government promises the UK will continue to recognise the European Economic Areas (EEA) exhaustion scheme the country is currently part of, which means IP rights are “considered exhausted once they have been put on the market in the EEA with the rights holder’s permission, which means that for importing goods to the UK, there won’t be any changes to the rules.  

However, for exporting of goods, there could be significant changes. There could also be changes for parallel imports.

“Goods placed on the UK market by or with the consent of the right holder after the UK has exited the EU will not, however, be considered exhausted in the EEA,” the planning notice said.

“This means businesses exporting these goods from the UK to the EEA might need the right holder’s consent.”

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Industry body techUK’s CEO Julian David, said UK tech businesses welcomed that the government will “continue to protect and enforce existing intellectual property rights in the UK”.

“However, these notices demonstrate the additional costs and burdens businesses will face when seeking access to both the UK and EU markets, duplicating systems and regulators across a number of areas,” he said.

“For example, the requirement to register chemicals both in the UK and in Europe will lead to significant duplication.”

The government said it’s continuting to drive forward plans for a Common Rulebook approacvh to limit the duplication.

“UK tech manufacturers, including SMEs, rely on a steady supply of safe and high quality chemicals to make the products we use every day, so avoiding additional complexity should be a priority,” said David. 

Copyright and veterinary IT

A No Deal Brexit could also bring changes for copyright law, particularly when it comes to portability of online content. This means online content providers won’t be able to offer cross-border access to UK consumers when they travel to the EU, and content could be restricted.  

The planning notices also highlights potential changes to animal medicine IT systems, as many of the current systems are EU-wide and fall under the EU veterinary medicine regulatory networks, which the UK would no longer be a member of.  

The sharing of common systems, and exchange and recognition of data submitted for regulatory activities, between the UK and EU member states would cease,” the notice said.

This would affect several IT systems and submissions, including periodic safety update reports. 

The government has now published numerous planning documents, each serving as a stark reminder of the extent of upheaval, and potential damage to the UK economy, its businesses and citizens in the event of a no deal.

TechUK CEO Julian David said the notices “once again” demonstrate that a “No Deal Brexit would be deeply damaging for our economy”.

“The best way to avoid the consequences of a No Deal, as set out in these notices, is by renewing efforts to seek agreement on the outstanding issues in the negotiations,” he said. 

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