Today at midnight, the agreement that formalizes United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union will enter into force, meaning that UK will no longer be an EU Member State.
The withdrawal agreement ensures an orderly exit of the United Kingdom from the Union. Its entry into force marks the beginning of a transition period that will last until 31 December 2020 and that could be extended once for a period of up to one or two years, if both sides agree so.
During the transition period, though the UK will no longer be represented in the EU institutions, it will continue to apply EU law, thus the protection of intellectual property rights, EU geographical indications included, will continue to be enforced.
As a matter of fact, under the Withdrawal Agreement, all intellectual property rights will have to be protected by the UK as national intellectual property rights. The conversion of the EU right into a UK right for the purpose of protection across the Channel, will be automatic and free of cost. The United Kingdom will guarantee at least the same level of protection for the existing stock of EU-approved geographical indications, that will be legally protected until a new agreement is concluded in the context of the future relationship.
Furthermore, all geographical indications bearing names of UK origin (e.g. Welsh Lamb) will continue to be protected in the EU.
For more information, please consult the slides on the withdrawal agreement.