For most people in the UK, whichever side of the political divide they sit, mentioning Brexit is fast becoming the equivalent to running over your neighbour’s cat. Careless, disrespectful and, ultimately, unforgivable.
However, you’re going to have to forgive me for bringing it up again. Not because I want to upset you but instead because I want to warn you (and I promise this isn’t project fear).
I need to warn you that now is the time, more than ever before, to prepare your business for Brexit.
From an intellectual property perspective there’s lots to do. For example, you might be in a brand-led business reliant upon trade in the UK and the EU. If so, what’s your trade mark portfolio looking like? Might it be a good time to apply for an EU trade mark before the UK leaves the EU (if registered in time it will generate an extra UK trade mark for free)? Or perhaps you’re all about the design, in which case, have you secured the correct registered rights and are you properly leveraging the automatic grant of UK designs to EU registered design holders?
There’s also a lot to think about from a wider commercial angle. Particularly when it comes to your contracts. For example, are you prepared for new trading conditions (e.g. trade barriers or currency fluctuations) and have you thought about how this might make a previously good deal, into a really rather rubbish deal? If you have, maybe you’ve also thought about how you might be able to terminate a contract after Brexit, or possibly just before? Or maybe you’re already discussing new contractual terms with your trading partners to account for this?
In any event, now is the time to conduct a Brexit audit and luckily Briffa is on hand to help you through the process. The first step is to speak to one of our friendly lawyers, starting the conversation with the codeword BREXIT, and then sit back and listen to their advice, safe in the knowledge that you’re in a Nigel Farage-free space.
By the way, if, like me, you’re still quite in interested in the outcome of Brexit, I strongly suggest that you listen to Brexitcast (an award-winning BBC podcast). It’s full of journalistic insight into the politics of the whole thing and it may just make you feel, if only for a moment, that you have a bit of insight into what’s going to happen next.
Anyway, that’s it, I’ll stop now. You can go back to thinking about the weather.
Written by Will Miles, Partner