Unitary intellectual property (IP) rights should continue to apply in the UK after Brexit, the European Commission has said in a position paper.

“This is good news for the fashion industry,” said Simon Bennett, Fashion Law partner at law firm Fox Williams. “Brands wouldn’t have to re-register their rights as UK rights. It would save on costs and there would be less uncertainty.”

He pointed out that the EU’s unregistered community design right covers surface decorations, such as patterns on a dress. There equivalent UK design right gives a degree of protection from copying, but it excludes surface decoration.

“If the UK government accepts [the EU’s] proposals, designers will see the protection they have at the moment continuing.”

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