IP Information & News

Brexit update — business as usual

It’s simply business as usual for us after the UK officially withdraws from the European Union.

Below is a quick update that provides information on the Brexit formalities and your IP rights. For more detail, visit udl.co.uk/brexit. If you have any specific questions about Brexit, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your usual UDL adviser.

Since the decisive UK General Election result in December, the arrangements for Brexit have progressed.

The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020, which sets out the arrangements for the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, has been agreed by the UK Parliament. It has been signed by the European Commission.

The UK is therefore due to leave the EU on 31 January 2020 at 11pm (GMT). There will then be an implementation period, which will run until 11pm on 31 December 2020 (Exit Day).

Until then, EU law will continue to apply to the UK — and EU rules will continue to be interpreted and applied consistently in the UK and EU. There will be no changes to EU trade mark and design applications, registrations, proceedings or the ability to act before the EUIPO prior to 31 December 2020.

At the expiry of the implementation period on 31 December 2020, registered EU trade marks (EUTMs) will be immediately and automatically granted comparable trade mark rights in the UK. EUTMs which are pending on exit day will not be automatically granted equivalent UK trade mark rights, but applicants will be able to apply to:

  • register a comparable UK trade mark in the nine months after exit day
  • retain the earlier filing date of the pending EUTM
  • claim any valid international priority you had on the pending EU application, along with any UK seniority claims recorded against it

At the expiry of the implementation period on 31 December 2020, registered and published Community designs (RCDs), unregistered Community designs (UCDs), and protected international trade mark and design registrations designating the EU will be immediately and automatically replaced by comparable UK rights.

The European Patent Office is not an EU agency and so Brexit does not affect UK membership of the European Patent Organisation and does not affect European patents in the UK in any way.

UDL Intellectual Property will be able to represent and act for you as usual after exit day in all of your European IP matters, whether patents, trade marks or designs.

Please contact your usual UDL adviser if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss any specific IP implications for your business.

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