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EU Exit Business Readiness Forum meeting on 21st February covering Workforce & People and Intellectual Property

Please find below summary notes from the EU Exit Business Readiness Forum meeting on 21st February covering Workforce & People and Intellectual Property

Panellists

  • Donna Leong, Director of EU Exit Business Intelligence & Readiness, BEIS
  • Mathew Porter, the Home Office
  • Thomas Walkden, Deputy Director EU Exit & Trade, BEIS
  • David Rogers, Deputy Director- EU Exit Business Intelligence & Readiness, BEIS (closing meeting)

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) held their fourth EU Exit Business Readiness Forum on Thursday 21st February at BEIS central London offices in Victoria, covering in this session Data and Organisational Compliance.

The forum was hosted by Donna Leong, Director EU Exit Business Readiness in BEIS with panellists Matthew Porter (Home Office) and Thomas Walkden (BEIS).

The Forum, aimed primarily at representative organisations such as trade associations and professional bodies, has 3 main objectives - to share the information UK businesses need to prepare for EU Exit; to provide materials to association bodies to cascade to members; and to respond to and gather feedback on existing and new materials circulated in readiness for the UK’s withdrawal.

Donna Leong welcomed attendees and gave an update on recent actions following feedback from delegates after the first 3 forum sessions. This included presenting information on a how it is now vs what will change basis. Copies of 8 new guidance leaflets were provided as part of delegate packs on preparing for changes at the UK border if there’s a no-deal EU Exit specifically for the following - intermediaries; chemicals organisations; hauliers; retail industry; agriculture and food industry; arts, sport and culture organisations and the automotive industry as well as a general leaflet for businesses. This information can be found in the Partnership Pack at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/partnership-pack-preparing-for-a-no-deal-eu-exit.

The importance of obtaining an EORI registration number was again stressed for those businesses not already trading with EU countries. For those businesses already trading with the EU / EEA, an EORI number should already have been obtained, and there is no need to re-apply.

In relation to customs declarations, specific reference was made to training grants which are available to help companies who intend to complete their own customs declarations. Further details can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/grants-for-businesses-that-complete-customs-declarations

It was also noted that the Department for International trade were publishing information on trade continuity on the morning of the 21st. Further information can now be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/existing-trade-agreements-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-without-a-deal

Mathew Porter - the Home Office

Mr Porter began the session on the subject of EU settlement and temporary leave to remain by highlighting how things currently work in relation to freedom of movement for EU citizens and their families to live, work or study within the UK without the need for permission to do so.

From the 1st March, EU citizens who are already in the UK, and those entering the UK before 29th March, will be required to apply for the EU settlement Scheme in order to live, work or study in the UK after the date of exit.

Whilst from 30th March, EU/EEA citizens will still be able to enter, live, work and study within the UK without the need for a visa, this will be limited to a period of 3 months. Should EU/EEA citizens want to stay in the UK beyond 3 months, they will need to apply for Temporary Leave to Remain but will need to do this whilst still in the UK. This will enable them to stay for a period of 3 years, however it is important to understand that this time period is not extendable and there is no guarantee following this period that UK settlement will be agreed. Employers should note that in both a deal or no-deal scenario, the same right to work checks as applied currently should continue to be applied until 2021.

EU/EEA citizens wanting to remain in the UK longer than 3 years, for example for study or work, will need to apply for and qualify under the new skills based immigration system which will begin from 2021.

It is possible for EU/EEA citizens to apply for “settled” status under the new immigration policy providing that they have 5 years continuous residence in the UK. It is worth noting that in order to calculate continuous residence, if the person is resident in the UK for at least 6 out of 12 months per year, this would qualify as 1 year of continuous residence.

Those who have less than 5 years continuous residence may apply for “pre-settled” status. This is equivalent to the old “temporary leave to remain” policy.

It should be noted that at this stage the settlement scheme is in its “test phase” and is expected to be fully live from the 30th March 2019. At this time, the application fee of £65 per adult and £32.50 per child(under 16) is still payable, but on full launch of the scheme on 30th March any application fees already paid will be refunded.

Deadlines for applications to the EU settlement scheme in the event of a no-deal is 21st December 2020.

Further details can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status

https://www.gov.uk/apply-stay-uk-leaves-eu-test-phase?step-by-step-nav=0c79b832-75de-4854-8154-d62774a8dfb8

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/european-temporary-leave-to-remain-in-the-uk

Further information on the rights of EU/ EEA citizens can be found at: https://ec.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/services/your-rights/Brexit_en

Thomas Walkden – BEIS

The session covered the 5 main topics of copyright; trade marks and registered designs; unregistered community designs; patents and exhaustion of rights.

Whilst the UK is a member of a range of international agreements on copyright that ensure reciprocal protection for all countries who sign up to these, the EU Directives make provisions which go further to harmonise copyright law within the EU itself.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the basic level of copyright will remain the same and the UK will continue to be a member of international treaties and agreements meaning both new and existing UK copyright works such as books, music and film will continue to be protected. IP protection is harmonised to an extent through the WTO TRIPS agreement which is not tied specifically to the EU.

However, there are certain cross border copyright issues that will stop if we leave the EU with no deal including portability of online streaming or rental services; country of origin rules for copyright clearance in satellite broadcasting; the exception for what are termed “orphan works” and there will no longer be mutual recognition of sui generis database rights.

There may also be disruption to cross border exchange of accessible formats of copyright works between the UK and countries who have signed the Marrakesh Treaty as the UK has not yet ratified the treaty. This includes works for the visually impaired or blind. Plans are in place to ratify this upon leaving the EU.

Trade Marks

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, protection around existing trademarks and registered designs will largely remain the same. International trade marks (the Madrid system), and international registered designs (the Hague system) remain valid in a wide range of countries including the UK and the EU.

Existing UK owned and international trade marks and registered designs will continue to be valid and enforceable in EU member states and UK businesses can continue to protect new trade marks and designs through both the EU and international systems.

Existing EU trade marks and EU registered designs will receive new and equivalent UK rights which will come into force on day 1. There is no action required as coverage is automatic although trade marks and designs will also be subject to UK legislation including renewal fees.

New and pending EU applications will need to be filed separately with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property (IP) rights including patents, designs, trade marks and copyright. Rights holders who are re-filing applications in the UK will need to meet UK application fees. The UK will also recognise filing dates and claims on ongoing EU applications for a period of up to 9 months.

Unregistered community designs

Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, existing design rights will continue to be protected in the UK and the EU. In the UK this will be under an equivalent right to that currently in Europe and no action will be required by rights holders, this will apply automatically.

Any new signs disclosed in the UK after March 29th will continue to be protected under a newly created unregistered design right which is similar to the current system.

Patents

The majority of UK patent lay is set by the European Patent Convention or EPC and is independent from EU Law. Any EU legislation on patents will be retained and supported under UK legislation. Existing patents are not affected and EU patents will still be granted that cover both the EU and the UK as the UK will remain a member of the European Patent Office.

EU patent attorneys based in the UK will continue to be able to represent applicants before the EPO

Exhaustion

The UK is currently part of the regional EEA exhaustion regime. Typically, after placing a product on the EEA market, the rights holder loses rights to restrict movement of a product. If the UK leaves the EU/EEA without a deal, businesses may need to apply additional rights holder approval when exporting goods from the UK to the EEA.

For products already placed on the EEA market before the UK’s exit, the rights will remain exhausted and for a short period of time IP rights on imports from the EEA to the UK will also be exhausted in the UK, although further work is ongoing in this area.

Businesses who continue to export products from the UK into the EEA may need to confirm exhaustion with any owners of those rights within the EEA.

Further information in relation to intellectual property rights can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ip-and-brexit-the-facts/ip-and-brexit

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-copyright-law-in-the-event-of-no-deal/changes-to-copyright-law-in-the-event-of-no-deal

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/copyright-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/copyright-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

https://euipo.europa.eu/tunnel-web/secure/webdav/guest/document_library/contentPdfs/news/Brexit_preparedness_notice_on_IP.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trade-marks-and-designs-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/trade-marks-and-designs-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/patents-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/patents-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exhaustion-of-intellectual-property-rights-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/exhaustion-of-intellectual-property-rights-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

Programme – to end of February

28th February – EU/UK Funding, Public Procurement and Energy & Climate

Programme to 21st March

Dates for forum meetings in March confirmed as 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th.

7th March – Importing and Exporting –Tariffs and

People & Workforce – MRPQ & Business mobility

14th March – Regulations and Standards – Reach, Goods, Product safety

21st March - Digital and Data – Providing services on-line and Data roaming.

Please note that topics are yet to be announced for the forum on 28th March. These will be based on key announcements and business needs.

The government is interested in hearing the feedback of the industry in relation to the information available. Members are invited to forward any queries or feedback they may have to Suzie Radcliffe-Hart sradcliffe-hart@fira.co.uk or info@fira.co.uk

Association members can find further information on preparations for a potential “no-deal” Brexit including links to relevant documents and sources on .Gov/ HMRC platforms, information on importing, exporting and transporting goods, trading goods covered by the “New Approach” framework (CE marking directives), trading timber products and chemicals www.fira.co.uk/news/article/guidance-for-industry-leaving-the-eu-without-a-deal

This document will be updated on a regular basis as information is confirmed and released.

Links to:

21 Feb 2019 EU Exit Business Readiness Forum - Presentation Materials

21 Feb 2019 EU Exit Business Readiness Forum Q&A

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