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3 February 2020BiotechnologySarah Morgan

CIPA and UKIPO join forces to change misleading Brexit advice

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) have worked together to ensure changes are made to “misleading” advice issued by the EU’s Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO).

The CPVO, which is the EU body responsible for managing Community plant variety rights (IP rights that protect new plant varieties), had notified rights owners of their obligation to appoint an EU-based legal representative by Brexit day on January 31, 2020, if they wanted to retain their rights and proceed with a pending application.

Simon Bradbury, a CIPA fellow and partner at Appleyard Lees, wrote to the CPVO to point out that the EU and the UK had agreed a withdrawal deal and that the UK would be treated as if it were a member of the EU until the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.

The withdrawal agreement, which will see the UK abide by EU rules during a transition period until the end of the year, was signed in late January.

Staff at CIPA alerted colleagues at the IPO who took the matter up with the CPVO. Bradbury also escalated the matter, writing to Martin Ekvad, president of the CPVO.

According to a release from CIPA, the combined lobbying led the CPVO to publish fresh guidance in late January, confirming that “neither a refusal of applications nor the cancellation of existing rights will occur during the said transition period based on the non-designation of a procedural representative in EU27 for UK applicants or applicants represented by UK procedural representatives”.

The CPVO also apologised for “not having referred to the eventual impact of a ratified withdrawal agreement in the previous note and for any inconvenience this may have caused”.

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