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Brexit Transition Period Checklist

The UK has left the EU and the transition period will end on 31 December 2020. As the UK transitions to a new relationship with the EU, the government has advised that businesses need to take action to prepare.

To assist with this, we’ve highlighted some areas you may need to consider below, signposting to further guidance and advice on each of these areas. This is not an exhaustive list, but you can download this checklist to help you prepare for the end of the Transition Period and visit gov.uk/transition to use a simple checker tool to find out what actions your business may need to take.

Importing and exporting:

The process for importing and exporting goods from the EU will change. More information on how to import and export goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021 can be found here.

Data:

If you receive personal data (any information that can be used to identify a living person including names, delivery details, IP addresses, or HR data such as payroll details) from the EU for business use, you may need to take action on data protection. Additionally, if you provide online service in the EU, you will have to ensure that you are compliant with relevant requirements in each EU country you operate in.

A UK company that receives customer information from an EU/EEA company, such as names and addresses of customers, suppliers or partners to provide goods or services should check how they can legally keep receiving the data from 1 January 2021. Head here to understand more about the steps you need to take.

.eu top level domain names:

If you hold a .eu domain, you should check if you need to replace it. From 1 January 2021, you’ll no longer be able to register or renew .eu domain names if your organisation, business or undertaking is established in the UK but not in the EU/European Economic Area (EEA), or if you live outside of the EU/EEA and are not an EU/EEA citizen. Find out more here.

Your people:

Recruiting staff from outside of the UK

Now that the UK has left the EU, from 31 December 2020, free movement of people between the UK and EU will end. Currently, EU citizens have the right to move freely into the UK to live, work and study here. This will come to an end after the transition period.

From 1 January 2021, the UK will introduce a points-based immigration system. EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally and will need to meet certain requirements to come to the UK to work. If you want to recruit workers from outside the UK from 1 January 2021, you will need to be a licensed sponsor. Registering as a sponsor normally takes eight weeks and fees apply. To find out more about the new system, including how to register as a sponsor, visit: pbisemployers.campaign.gov.uk/

The DBA has also created this page of resources on the new immigration system.

 

How to support current employees

If you employ EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, you can signpost them to the information they’ll need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, helping them to secure their future in the UK. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. As an employer, you can also use this toolkit to support EU citizens to apply to stay in the UK. 

 

Traveling for work purposes

If you travel to the EU for work purposes from 1 January 2021, you may need a visa or work permit. The country you are travelling to might also ask you to have other additional documents depending on the activity you perform. This advice may be relevant to anyone travelling to the EU for work purposes: this could include anyone working in the private, public or third sector, for example, professional and business services, manufacturing, charities, or the arts. More information can be found here.

Companies registered in the EEA and Switzerland:

If you have a UK business or are a UK citizen, you might face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a company registered in an EEA country or Switzerland from 1 January 2021. You should be prepared for: additional requirements on the nationality or residency of senior managers or directors and/or limits on the amount of equity that can be held by non-nationals. Find out more.

Intellectual Property:

The Intellectual Property system will continue as it is until 31 December 2020. There will be no disruption to IPO services or changes to the UK IP system during this transition period. The IPO will convert almost 1.4 million EU trade marks and 700,000 EU designs to comparable UK rights at the end of the transition period. however, there will be some actions business will have to take in order to protect their intellectual property.

The government advises that businesses should consider whether changes to the framework for the exhaustion of IP rights will impact their business. And they may want to seek legal advice to inform your assessment. More information here.

The government advises that businesses should consider if any potential changes to the eligibility for unregistered designs rights in the UK and the EU will impact their business.

From 1 January 2021 onwards the unregistered Community design will no longer cover the UK. A new supplementary unregistered design, mirroring the characteristics of the Community right will be introduced in the UK. Unless there is an agreement on disclosure, eligibility will be restricted to the territory in which a design is first disclosed, either the UK or EU. You may not have IP protection in your most important market if you do not make an informed choice about first disclosure of their unregistered designs.

You should consider if any potential changes to disclosure requirements will impact your business and check with your legal team about how best to secure unregistered design protection in the UK and EU. More information is available here.

DBA members can also view these helpful bite-sized webinars from D Young & Co about the implication of Brexit on IP. 

Further guidance:

Download a Master Checklist of information to help you prepare for the end of the Transition Period and visit gov.uk/transition to use a simple checker tool to find out what actions your business may need to take.

 

DBA members have access to free expert advice through our legal and HR support lines run by Humphries Kirk and Corner. 

 

Legal Helpline – our solicitors Humphries Kirk are highly experienced in design law. Throughout your membership, you can access half an hour free consultation on any particular topic. This service is unlimited, meaning DBA members can access free consultations on any number of topics at any time.

 

HR and Employment Helpline – unlimited access to Croner’s team of highly experienced, professional consultants who can provide practical, reliable HR and employment advice. 

 

Contact these helplines if you need further support. 

This article was published on 9 November 2020. Government advice does change regularly and we advise always checking gov.uk for the most up to date guidance.

Image credit:

Andrew Neel | Unsplash

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