Last month the UK Government provided some welcome assurances for businesses regarding the effect of Brexit on EU intellectual property rights.
An announcement, made by Robin Walker MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union made it clear that existing EU trade marks and registered community designs would be automatically cloned on the UK register at no cost.
In his statement during a Parliamentary debate, Mr Walker said: “We have agreed to protect all existing EU trade marks, community registered designs and unregistered designs in the UK as we leave the EU. In place of those EU-level rights, 1.5 million new UK trade marks and registered designs will be granted automatically and for free.”
What does this mean?
While Mr Walker’s words provide some comfort insofar as they indicate that the UK Government has not forgotten about intellectual property rights, the status quo remains unchanged for the time being. EU trade marks and registered community designs will be automatically cloned in the UK post-Brexit provided the European Commission’s draft Withdrawal Agreement is agreed by both the EU and the UK. This might also be the case in the event of ‘no deal’ although this is yet to be expressly confirmed by the UK Government.
What do I need to do?
In the circumstances, our advice remains unchanged. If the UK is an important market for you, and you own EU registrations for trade marks that are not already protected separately in the UK, you might wish to consider putting in place separate protection for those trade marks as a precautionary measure. Similarly, should you be considering seeking protection for any new marks in the UK and the other EU Member States in the near future, there may be some merit in filing a EUTM application and a separate UK application.
For further information, please contact your usual Dehns Trade Mark Attorney, or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org