London intellectual property firm EIP has become one of the first to nail its colours to the mast over next week's referendum on EU membership.

The firm's partners said today that they are supporting the Remain position, warning that a UK exit from the EU would be bad for IP rights holders and the UK’s creative and technological industries generally.

In a statement on the firm's website, the partners say: 'We, the partners of EIP Europe LLP, have concluded that we cannot adopt a neutral position on the EU referendum. In our view, the benefits for IP rights holders that come with the UK’s membership of the European Union are substantial.'

Leaving would lead to 'an indefinite period of legal uncertainty, as well as a potential loss in the UK of trade mark and design rights currently held as EU registrations'. Furthermore, they say, Brexit poses a threat to the introduction of the EU's unitary patent and Unified Patent Court system, which is due to begin operations next year. One section of the court of first instance is to be based in London. 

The statement concedes that EU interventions and initiatives in intellectual property 'have not always been optimal', but that overall the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. 'The creative and technological industries are best protected by the United Kingdom remaining in the European Union.'