Patents, Trade Marks, Designs & Copyright
Posted on 8/11/2016

Brexit – Triggering Article 50

The first step to the UK formally exiting the European Union.

Earlier this month three High Court judges ruled that Parliament must vote on whether Article 50 can be triggered, the first step to the UK formally exiting the European Union.

This decision prevents the UK government from triggering Article 50, and therefore beginning formal exit negotiations with the EU, without the support of MPs and peers.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May had announced prior to the ruling that she intended to trigger Article 50 by the end of March 2017 by using the Crown’s prerogative power – the power of the monarch vested in the Prime Minister.

However the High Court’s decision on 3 November rejected the government’s position, holding that “the argument is contrary to the fundamental constitutional principles of the sovereignty of Parliament and the absence of any entitlement on the part of the Crown to change domestic law by the exercise of its prerogative powers.

The government is appealing the High Court’s decision in the UK Supreme Court at the start of December, with a decision expected in the new year.


For the moment, this provides us with no further insight into how intellectual property might be affected by Brexit. The decision and subsequent appeal may delay the Brexit process until later than March 2017, however nothing is yet certain.

We will provide further updates following the outcome of the Supreme Court hearing next month. If you have any concerns about what the UK leaving the EU will mean for your intellectual property, please get in touch.

Wilson Gunn