The Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 received Royal Assent on January 23 and was approved by the European Parliament on January 29. That means that the UK will leave the European Union at 11:00 pm GMT on January 31, 2020 and the EU will then have 27 rather than 28 Member States. The UK’s departure from the EU will in due course have a number of implications for intellectual property, in particular registered trademarks and design rights, but none will be felt immediately. That is because the Withdrawal Agreement provides for an implementation period (also called a transition period), which will last until December 31, 2020. The Agreement provides for the possibility to extend this period, but the UK Government has said it will not do so and has legislated to that effect. The most important point to note therefore is that in practice nothing changes. Previous articles discussing the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, without an implementation period, can now be disregarded.

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