I expect most people who will read this have become tired of the “B”-word in relation to the vote by citizens of the UK on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU, so it will not be used here. It is likely that people who have EU or UK patents and trademarks will, at minimum, be curious as to how those rights/properties may be affected.
The Changes to Eventually Occur
Changes will eventually occur but nothing will be lost. That does not negate the possibility that rearrangements may involve some costs, but they are unlikely to be onerous.
- There will be plenty of time to attend to details. The changeover will likely take at least two years.
- It is important to note that the European Patent Office (EPO) is a creature of a separate convention (EPC) and is not a part of the EU. Thus, EPO patents which are validated in the UK will see no change.
- The EUTM (previously CTM) provides trademark registrations which are effective throughout the EU. Thus, provisions will need to be devised to maintain enforceability of EUTM registrations in the UK. There may be a requirement for a transfer of UK rights to the UK trademark Office. That will be orderly and there will be plenty of time to make any necessary changes.
- Out of an abundance of caution, some have recommended filing now for direct UK registration. This is probably not necessary, but for ease of enforcement during a period of possible uncertainty, primary or core marks might well be directly registered in the UK.
- For newly filed marks, the EUTM system is still applicable for trademark rights to include the UK.
So What does this mean for you?
As of now there have been no changes to the Intellectual Property structure and your intellectual rights and property will not lose their value or protection. The Maxham Firm will keep you up-to-date on any changes that may occur. In the meantime, if you have further questions regarding BREXIT and how it may affect your business please contact us by clicking here.