Lawyers Say Firms Must Protect Their Property Rights To Secure Success
A new survey revealing that international consumers are willing to pay a premium for products marked ‘Made in Britain’ has led lawyers to point out that the opportunity to boost UK trade underlines the importance of trade marks and intellectual property (IP) in a post Brexit world.
The survey of 10,000 people by Barclays Corporate Banking, showed 39% had a ‘British is best’ attitude, with nations like India willing to pay an 11.8% mark-up for UK made products.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell say the findings are a reminder of the value of IP and the key role of brand protection and Geographical Indications (GI), not just for successful continental trade, but as the UK looks to develop its presence in the global marketplace.
Irwin Mitchell has been assisting clients in protecting their products in both the UK and the EU and is advising other firms to identify any gaps in their own protection. There are concerns that failing to do so risks real harm, not just in terms of EU trade, but on potential Brexit benefits in respect of wider international exports.
The corporate banking report suggests that taking advantage of the ‘Made in Britain’ mark could add £3.5bn to the value of UK exports, with those surveyed saying they would be willing to pay more for UK-made products, due to perceived higher quality and reliability.
Expert Opinion“In a post-Brexit world, brand protection for UK products has never been more important. An understandable focus has been placed on UK/EU rights following the TCA agreement, but this report suggests there is a tangible value to products made in Britain.
“In terms of EU trade marks, there is now just six months to ensure rights have been done correctly before the window closes on 30 September. However, this is also an opportunity for firms to audit portfolios, review strategy and identify any gaps in protection, not just for local trade benefits but in terms of wider global export opportunities.
“GI also matters and while different to a trade mark, this survey shows it is of no less value. It’s an issue that will continue to surface and horizon scanning for future change in this area is essential to protect wider business interests.
“There is no agreement in the TCA for GI protection post-Brexit, but this could well be reviewed and will likely form part of future UK trade deals. The government has already agreed to protect the names of some wines and spirits of US origin and while it is in the interests of other nations to reciprocate, this report shows the potential for loss for due to complacency over such a key issue.
“GI protects products such as Scotch whisky and Welsh lamb mentioned in the report but all UK exporters need to act to ensure they are receiving full value, not just from GI but in terms of their own trademarks and broader IP to take full advantage of the UK’s global reputation for quality.” Georgie Collins - Partner