I our last issue I promised the start of a guide to some of the implications of Brexit. It seems increasingly likely that there will not be a ‘hard’ Brexit and therefore most of the planning needs to be timed for 31 December 2020, when we will, under the draft agreement, leave the single market.
Of course, anything might happen, but what is the prudent advice with regard to the legal issues? Whatever flavour of exit takes place, there will be some level of disruption to physical trade. This may fall within force majeure and may excuse contractual performance of one of the parties in a supply chain. Force majeure can allow one party to escape from a contract when something unforeseen happens – usually events like strikes and floods. This could affect all of us.
Another area that will be affected is the ability of business to charge different prices in different markets. This is currently outlawed across the EU, but once we have left, will mean that the UK price of goods or services could be entirely different to that charged in the EU.
The area close to our heart is trade marks and the loss of our right to act in Europe. This will increase the cost of an EU trade mark and will give rise to anomalies in protection. Reviewing your current marks against your actual use is a first step in the process.