March 29, 2019 marks the deadline for Brexit. However, until today, the British government has not yet approved the pending exit agreement. What would be the impact of a “Hard Brexit” on Intellectual Property rights in the EU?
Both the UK Government and the European Commission have confirmed that all existing registered EU trade marks and registered Community designs will continue to be protected and enforceable in the UK. For all registered EU trade marks and Community designs, the UK will create equivalent UK trade marks and UK design registrations after a “Hard Brexit”. There will be no fee and a minimal administrative burden for the creation of these equivalent UK rights. The equivalent UK trade marks and registered designs will be treated like ordinary UK trademarks and registered designs.
Rights holders will be notified of their equivalent UK rights via a publication and guidance on the UK government website. Owners who wish to not have an equivalent UK right may choose to opt-out under certain conditions.
As for pending trademark and design applications, these will need to be refiled under the same terms for a UK equivalent right, using the normal application process for registered trade marks and registered designs in the UK. During a period of 9 months (until December 29, 2019), the UK government will recognize priority and filing dates (and UK seniority claims) which are mentioned on the pending equivalent EU or WIPO application designating the EU. The costs for this should be the same as for current UK trademark and design applications with priority claims.
Please do not hesitate to consult with GEVERS should you have any concerns or wish our assistance with a new UK filing by contacting either your attorney team or Trademarks@gevers.eu.
Katia De Clercq
Pieter De Grauwe