Our UK Consumer team is delighted to present our Doing Business in the UK guide. The following overview takes you through intellectual property challenges while the full publication also provides an overview of consumer protection laws, product regulation, potential litigation concerns, changing tariffs and customs, key data privacy matters, and other issues that could impact businesses looking to enter the UK consumer markets or conduct business in the UK.

UK perspective

The UK’s consumer sector has shown resilience against the backdrop of challenging political and economic conditions. Consumers in the UK remain willing to spend; however, the way in which they do so is changing, with e-commerce accounting for around 20 percent of retail sales in 2019. Meanwhile, regulation attempts to keep pace with the changes in both consumer behaviors and the geopolitical landscape. For those seeking to do business in the UK, an understanding of how to best navigate this legal and regulatory environment has never been more crucial to success.

Whether you are already well established in the UK or looking to enter the market, this overview provides a guide to navigating legal pitfalls and successfully conducting business in the UK’s dynamic consumer sector.

IP issues

British luxury brands have a reputation for highly skilled craftsmanship and exceptional quality. They are estimated to be worth £48 billion to the British economy, mainly due to exports. Sales from the luxury sector are reported to have grown nearly 50 percent in the last four years and are predicted to continue to grow. Underpinning the value of a British luxury brand is the intellectual property in the brand and its designs.

The UK has a sophisticated and well-developed framework for the protection of IP. Although litigation is seen as expensive compared to other jurisdictions, the UK has a robust and internationally respected enforcement system with a variety of specialist IP courts. In addition, the relevant law enforcement authorities (including the specialist Police IP Crime Unit) and criminal courts are highly sophisticated and very thorough. Unlike in many other high-performing jurisdictions, criminal prosecutions in the UK are an attractive enforcement method in relation to infringing goods. The police and local Trading Standards officers carry out investigations at little or no cost to the rights owner, and their investigations can act as a deterrent.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.