EU Trade Marks - Life after Brexit

EU Trade Marks - Life after Brexit

What are the key issues?

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March 2019.  After that date, in the absence of any formal arrangements to the contrary, EU trade marks will cease to have legal effect in the UK.  It also looks likely that UK attorneys will lose their rights of representation before the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), meaning they will no longer be able to represent EU trade mark owners directly before the EUIPO.

It is anticipated that provisions will be in place to allow existing EU trade marks (including those obtained via the Madrid System of International Registration) to continue to have effect in the UK but, at present, the details of such provisions remain undecided.  The future rights of UK attorneys are also the subject of debate.  The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), and other relevant organisations are making concerted efforts to ensure that these issues are not overlooked in the negotiations between the UK and the EU.  

What should you do now?

In the meantime, given the uncertainty, we are recommending to clients who own EU registrations for trade marks which are not separately protected in the UK that, if the UK is an important territory, they consider obtaining separate protection as a precautionary measure.  Likewise, for new trade marks, consideration should be given to filing both UK and EU applications.

Planning for the future

Dehns is prepared for every Brexit-related eventuality.  We have had an office in Germany for over 20 years so, whatever the outcome of the settlement negotiations for UK attorneys, our ability to continue handling EU trade mark work will not be affected.  Our attorneys in the UK and Germany already work closely together and this will continue following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Should you require further information or advice regarding the implications of Brexit for your trade marks, patents or designs, please contact us using the details below.

T: +44 (0)20 7632 7200