As of the publication date of this article, The UK still has three primary options on the table with varying levels of flexibility regarding its exit from the European Union; ‘no deal’, ‘the deal’ or a ‘new deal’. For the sake of my sanity and your own I’m not going to run through the generic pros and cons of each of these options for the ten-thousandth time. Instead, I’m going to summarize the effect that Brexit will likely have on intellectual property law, specifically in the form of trade marks.
It’s important to stress that whilst nothing is set in stone, the potential disruption that would be caused by a huge upheaval to UK intellectual property law would not benefit anyone. The government has made it clear that regardless of the potential outcomes touched on above, a ‘smooth transitioning process’ will be implemented. But, what do they mean by this?
In a ‘NO-DEAL’ scenario the UK Intellectual Property Office is ‘ready to act to protect the rights of trade mark owners’. Come October 31st, if there is not a deal in place, EU registered Trademarks will be issued a trademark registration in UK law. This process will be at no cost to the owner. According to the Government these comparable UK Trademarks will still have the filing dates recorded against the corresponding EU trademarks and they will inherit any priority and/or seniority dates. If your trademark is pending at the date the UK leaves the EU, you will have a period of nine months to submit an application for the new equivalent UK Right. The easy way to look at this is by simply saying that the trademarks will be ‘cloned’ in to UK law, the registered trademark at EU level will even be issued with an additional reference number to illustrate that it is a cloned trademark.
If the UK Government does strike a deal, the ‘DEAL’ scenario as it stands (08/19) is as follows:
It’s arguably very similar to that of ‘no-deal’. The primary difference is that the Withdrawal Agreement brokered by the guidance of Theresa May’s now toppled premiership allows for a ‘transition period’ ending on the 31st December 2020 at the very earliest. But, this could in theory carry on for far longer. If the May deal some how makes its way through both Chambers in Westminster, we should expect an ‘orderly division of registered EU trade marks that will all be cloned in to UK law on exit day’.
So, luckily for trade mark owners, it does appear as though the Government has prioritised clarity regarding trade mark rights after Brexit. Regardless of the outcome there are plans being put in to place. Having said this, as we have seen over the last few years, a day definitely is a long time in politics! Things may change; talk of attempting a ‘new deal’ is rife. We at Lawdit will endeavor to keep you as up to date as possible on the law in this area.
The intellectual property department here at Lawdit is vastly experienced. Please feel free to give the office a call on 023 8023 5979. We can help and advice in ensuring your trademarks are appropriate for the goods or services you provide.