News

30.01.2020

BREXIT: Back to national intellectual property rights.

EU trademarks and designs are intellectual property rights that cover the whole EU. This is very interesting for companies because they receive uniform protection for 28 countries at relatively low costs. The withdrawal of the British reduces the EU and thus the scope of EU intellectual property rights. In the future, anyone who wants to protect their brand or design in the UK must apply for national or international registration.

Great Britain will leave the European Union on January 31, 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement provides a transition period, in which the UK remains part of the European single market and adheres to all EU rules and laws. Unless the transition period is extended at a later date, it ends on December 31, 2020.

Until the end of this transition period, nothing will change regarding UK intellectual property protection. Only after the transition period there will be changes.
After the transition period, there will be no EU trademarks (Community trademarks) or EU designs (Community designs) for Great Britain. To avoid deprivation of rights from one day to the next, there will be “parachutes” for a gentle landing.

Transitional regulation for EU trademarks:

If an EU trademark is registered before the end of the transition period, it will apply to both the UK and the EU. The same applies to EU trademarks that will be renewed during the transition period.

After the end of the transition period, such EU trademarks are automatically converted into national British trademarks. These are completely independent of the original EU trademark. A piece of the EU trademark is thus virtually cut off and continued at the national level. Such British trademarks must then also be renewed at the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) in due time when the basic term of protection expires.

If an EU trademark application is not yet registered at the end of the transition period, however, it will not be automatically converted into a national British trademark. If such an EU trademark application is also to have an effect in the UK, an application must be made to the UK Trademark Office within nine months of the end of the transition period. After the conversion has taken place, such national, British trademarks are also completely independent of the EU trademark from which they originated. Of course, these national trademarks will also have to be renewed in the future via the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO). So there is no "central" renewal it is the case for the EU trademark and the corresponding British trademark.

The existing system for national and international trademark registrations with effect for Great Britain does not change.

Transitional arrangements for EU designs:

The same applies to EU designs and to the future protection of designs in Great Britain. After the transition period, only national and international design protection will be possible for Great Britain.


With respect to patents the BREXIT does not change anything. Since there has been no EU patent so far, the BREXIT has no impact on patents for Great Britain. You can still apply for international applications and European patents for the UK.