March 15, 2016
We have been receiving quite a few questions from UK businesses and remanufacturers concerned about the potential implications of the UK voting to leave the EU in June this year. Many of those contacting The Recycler have questioned what will happen with EU legislation including WEEE, the forthcoming circular economy package and patents, while there are also many questions to be asked about how the split might affect European businesses’ trade with British companies.
The Recycler asked Tim Parsons, Sales and Technical Manager at Promax Imaging, and Legal Consultant at UK trade association UKCRA, for his views on what might happen, and on WEEE, he stated: “When it comes to regulations, my assumption is that they will remain in place (for the time being at least). Without being too technical, I should point out that WEEE comes from a EU directive not EU regulations. EU directives (such as WEEE) don’t apply to EU citizens directly (Regulations on the other hand do).
“Instead they bind the governments of member states to develop their own domestic legislation to comply with the requirements of the directive. The UK government introduced the WEEE Regulations 2013 as the British interpretation, and it is that piece of domestic legislation that British companies must comply with.
“I don’t believe (I haven’t read thoroughly on the topic) that there is any legislative provision to automatically nullify any domestic legislation that is being used to interpret EU directives. One would assume that should ‘Brexit’ happen, then the government will start to move away from the constraints of the directives with legislative amendments but this would take time.”
On patents, Parsons added: “My understanding on EU patents is that whilst they are applied for and granted as an ‘EU patent’, the actual registration of the patent is done in each individual member state as per the directions of the patent holder (you pick the member states you want to be covered in and pay for each individual registration).
“You then renew the patents each year with each individual member state office. Therefore I assume patents that have already been granted and registered will continue to be active in the same way. I would also assume that British companies could still apply for an EU patent post Brexit but it may not cover the UK as a result.
“I would like to add that there is no legislative guidance on how exactly the UK moves after ‘Brexit’ (should it happen), and it will be largely down to the mood and make-up of the post-referendum Government to decide how and when changes occur.”
As David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, is the local Member of Parliament for Witney, Oxfordshire – where The Recycler is based – The Recycler will be looking to contact him with a number of questions relating to the referendum and remanufacturing, and we will report back on any response we receive.
Categories : World Focus