Intellectual Property Rights: Impact of Brexit

Two torn flags - EU and UK in hands. Brexit concept. Print publication


As the UK digests the decision to leave the European Union, we consider the potential impact Brexit will have on EU Intellectual Property Rights (IPR’s).

No Immediate Loss of Registered EU Intellectual Property Rights

The decision does not have an immediate impact on EU registered rights; EU Trade Marks (formerly Community Trade Marks) and Registered Community Designs remain valid and subsisting in the UK.

It is anticipated that transitional provisions will be introduced to provide proprietors with a mechanism to maintain or re-register their EU Trade Marks in the UK. At this time we do not know what form (if any) the transitional provisions will take or when they will be introduced.

This period of limbo is unlikely to be palatable for businesses. An alternative option to waiting for transitional provisions to be introduced is to re-file core EU Trade Marks in the UK under a separate national application. We can assist you with this. However, it will not be possible to re-file Registered Community Designs in the UK, unless filing within the 6 month priority period.

The IP Team at Walker Morris

We will continue to advise on and manage your trade mark and design portfolios in the UK, Europe, and any other foreign jurisdictions. Depending on the route the UK takes, the way we effect the filing of EU Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs may change.

For the time being, it is business as usual for all UK based Trade Mark Attorneys and we remain able to file EU Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs directly with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).  However, given the outcome of the referendum, it is a sensible strategy for any new filing programmes which cover the EU to also cover the UK separately.

Once the UK ceases to be a member of the EU, subsequent applications for EU Trade Marks and Community Designs will only have effect in the remaining 27 Member States of the EU.  It will be necessary to file separate applications at the UK Intellectual Property Office if UK rights are required.

If the UK negotiates to remain a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), the Registered Trade Mark Attorneys within the IP Team will continue to represent clients before the EUIPO, and will retain the ability to file EU Registered Rights directly.

If the UK does not remain in the EEA, we can continue to file EU Trade Marks via the International Trade Mark filing route, if appropriate. In addition, we have established relationships with attorneys throughout the EU, whom we would instruct and manage on your behalf as we already do for all other overseas territories.

We will continue to update you on developments which will impact on your IP rights. If you have any questions in the interim, please get in touch.