Brexit and designs: blow to the fashion industry

The EU fashion industry has long-relied on unregistered design rights to protect designs, in particular because fast-changing collections often don’t warrant the time and cost of obtaining registered protection and because designs often won’t qualify for copyright protection. Among the many current benefits of unregistered design protection are that designers enjoy automatic protection for a qualifying design, and can benefit from concurrent protection in the UK and across the EU. What happens after the UK leaves the EU at the end of this year has been part of the negotiations with the EU and in what is a blow to the fashion industry, the EU has recently rejected a UK proposal that would have maintained the current position for designers first disclosing designs in the UK. In this article we discuss the impact this will have on the UK fashion industry, and suggest some potential strategies to overcome the resulting deficit in IP protection for designs.

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