Brexit: Free movement of goods changes - Kuits Solicitors Manchester

Brexit: Free movement of goods changes

Brexit: Free movement of goods changes

8th January 2021 - Published by Kuits Intellectual Property team

One of the key objectives of the EU is the free movement of goods. Encompassed within this is the principle of the “exhaustion of rights”. Under this principle, once goods have been placed on the market anywhere in the EEA by the IP rights owner, or with their consent, the owner cannot then use their IP rights to prevent the further circulation of those goods within the EEA, apart from in limited circumstances.

Impact of Brexit

As of 11pm on 31 December 2020, the UK ceased to be an EU member state and is no longer subject to EU law. Consequently, there has been a change to the exhaustion of rights from a UK perspective.

As a result of the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Intellectual Property (Exhaustion of Rights) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 the position is as follows:

  1. The placing of goods on the market in the UK by the IP rights owner, or with their consent, will not exhaust the rights in the EEA. Consequently the goods cannot be freely exported to the EEA; the consent of the rights holder will be needed;
  2. The placing of goods on the market in the EEA will continue to exhaust those rights in the UK. As such, the importation of goods into the UK will not be affected.

Holders of EEA IP rights will therefore be able to block the movement of goods into the EEA from the UK. However, the converse is not true and holders of UK rights will not be able to prevent the importation of goods into the UK.

Parallel exporters looking to export goods which have been placed on the UK market after 1 January 2021 should be reviewing their trading arrangements and in particular considering whether consent is needed from the rights owner.

Get in touch with an intellectual property solicitor in Manchester

If you are looking for advice in relation to the free movement of goods following Brexit, please contact our Claire Meyers in the Kuits Intellectual Property team on 0161 838 7816 or at clairemeyers@kuits.com

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