Posted: 16 January, 2018 at 12:25 pm
MP John Healey has urged the Brexit Secretary, David Davis, to protect jobs in South Yorkshire from potential redundancies and relocations in the trade mark industry.
At a meeting with the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, Mr Healey heard concerns from business regarding the government’s failure to protect UK Trademarks.
The government has not made clear what will happen to EU trade marks held by UK companies, nor has it announced what will happen to the UK’s trade mark attorneys after Brexit.
In a letter to David Davis – the man in charge of the UK’s negotiations with the EU, Mr Healey stressed the government will be putting a billion pound industry, which employs millions, under threat if trade mark recognition for UK companies is not guaranteed.
UK trade mark-intensive industries contributes to an estimated 38.4% (£650 billion) of UK GDP and 21.5% (6.4 million) of UK employment per year.
Mr Healey called on the Mr Davis to protect this important employer in South Yorkshire.
“Listening to concerns raised by local businesses, I am seriously troubled by the government’s apparent lack of action to protect UK companies with EU trade marks. Every business boss knows how vital trade marks and copyrights are, because protecting products means protecting profits.
“Theresa May’s hard Brexit is putting an industry which underpins millions of jobs at risk. It’s essential Ministers get a deal that means UK firms don’t lose out to the EU system.
“The government has no answers as to what will happen after Brexit to UK companies with trade marks or to the many British trade mark lawyers fighting for UK firms in European courts.
“Enough is enough. I am calling on David Davis to guarantee protection in his negotiations with the EU, before the clock runs out on Brexit.”
Currently UK businesses are able to apply for trade marks and patents through one application, which applies in all other 27 EU member states.
Companies outside the EU frequently use UK trade mark attorneys to act on their behalf in attaining EU trade mark recognition.
In a research document published by the CITMA (Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys), the body warned that when the UK leaves the EU, if the UK does not remain in the European Economic Area (EEA), UK based trade mark attorneys will no longer be able to act as professional representatives before the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
Dr Abigail Welford, a chartered trade mark attorney at Franks and Co. Ltd in Brightside, Sheffield, said:
“The impact of the loss of representation rights on trade mark-intensive industries in South Yorkshire and a decreased workload in turn this would result in, decreased taxable profits, more over redundancies if the workload cannot support a full complement of staff.
“This will be felt nationwide with an entire professional sector competing for reduced, workload and job availability.
“It is likely that the majority of jobs will be relocated away from South Yorkshire towards London, reducing diversity and taking professionals away from the region.”