IP NEWS

Brexit and Your Intellectual Property: Is it Business as Usual?

27/06/2016

The historic United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union will have resounding effects, including upon some forms of intellectual property rights. At present there is tremendous uncertainty over what will happen next in the process, but the following is based on preliminary comments that we have received from our UK and European colleagues on the issue.

How Does Brexit Affect Your Intellectual Property?

The historic United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union will have resounding effects, including upon some forms of intellectual property rights. At present there is tremendous uncertainty over what will happen next in the process, but the following is based on preliminary comments that we have received from our UK and European colleagues on the issue.

Patents

The European Patent Office (EPO) is not an EU institution and thus prosecution of EU patent applications is unaffected; similarly, granted European patents will continue to be valid in the UK.

UK patents issued by the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) are also unaffected.

It remains to be seen what will happen to the Unitary Patent System with the Unified Patent Court, envisioned to guarantee uniform scope and equal effect across the EU; at the very least, there is likely to be some delay with its introduction and the UK’s absence may even threaten the continuation of this initiative.

Trademarks and Designs

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), formerly known as the Office for the International Market (OHIM), is an EU institution. Brexit will thus have implications for owners of EU trademark and design rights administered by EUIPO. The exact nature of the implications will not become clear until exit negotiations are complete. However, it is expected that the UK will enact transitional provisions to provide ongoing protection for EU trademarks and Community designs that exist as of the date of departure from the EU. The transitional provisions may automatically establish corresponding national UK rights or rights holders may be expected to re-register their rights in the UK. After departure, trademark and design owners will have to protect their rights in the UK by applying directly to the UKIPO. In addition, the unregistered design right which lasts for three years throughout the EU would presumably no longer apply.

Brexit should not affect the UK’s membership in the Madrid Protocol trademark filing system. Thus, once Canada’s incoming trademark legislative amendments come into force, Canadians will be able to protect their trademark rights in the UK (and other jurisdictions) by filing a single international trademark application.

We will be monitoring and assessing developments.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about how Brexit affects your intellectual property, please contact one of our professionals.

Author: Marcus Gallie

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.

  • WHAT IS IP?

    WHAT IS IP?

  • OUR PEOPLE

    OUR PEOPLE

  • EVENTS

    EVENTS

  • GET IN TOUCH

    GET IN TOUCH