By: Jeffrey G. Sheldon, Esq.
The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (“EU”) will affect intellectual property rights in different ways. In particular:
- UK national patents obtained through the UK Intellectual Property Office (“UK IPO”) will not be affected. This is true whether the UK patent was obtained by a direct national filing or a filing through the European Patent Office (“EPO”). Patents obtained via the EPO will not be affected by the UK exit from the EU because the EPO is not an EU institution.
- National UK trademark registrations obtained through the UK IPO will not be affected, and will remain in place and enforceable in the UK.
- EU registered trademarks and registered designs, which currently cover the UK, will remain in place and enforceable in the UK. However, this coverage could lapse once the UK is no longer an EU member state.
If you have EU trademark or design registrations, sometimes referred to as “Community Trademark” or “Community Design” and want protection in the UK, many UK attorneys are recommending that EU registrants should file applications for trademark and design protection in UK to ensure that protection does not lapse when the UK is no longer part of the EU. This is very conservative advice. It may be satisfactory to wait and see what happens. There is a possibility that the UK will “grandfather” in existing community registrations.
We do recommend that when filing new trademark applications for Europe, if protection in the UK is desired, an application be filed directly in the UK.
If you have questions about intellectual property protection in the UK, or anywhere else in the world, feel free to contact our Intellectual Property Attorneys.