The UK and European Union have reached an agreement that owners of EU trade marks, Community designs and Community plant variety rights will have their rights protected in the UK after the expiry of the post-Brexit transition period.
A draft agreement between the UK and EU was announced on 19 March 2018 and published here. In this, it was agreed that the UK would remain part of the EU until at least 31 December 2020. The draft agreement also includes provisions for the ongoing protection and enforcement of EU trade marks, Community designs and Community plant variety rights after the end of the transitional period.
Whilst the agreement is a draft, it should be noted that the provisions relating to EU trade marks, Community designs and Community plant variety rights are agreed at a negotiators’ level, so are only subject to technical amendment. The agreement provides at Article 50 that:
1. The holder of any of the following intellectual property rights which have been registered or granted before the end of the transition period shall, without any re‐examination, become the holder of a comparable registered and enforceable intellectual property right in the United Kingdom, as provided for by the law of the United Kingdom:
(a) the holder of a European Union trade mark registered in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2017/1001 of the European Parliament and of the Council shall become the holder of a trade mark in the United Kingdom, consisting of the same sign, for the same goods or services;
(b) the holder of a Community design registered and where applicable published following deferral of publication in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 6/200228 shall become the holder of a registered design right in the United Kingdom for the same design;
(c) the holder of a Community plant variety right granted pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 2100/9429 shall become the holder of a plant variety right in the United Kingdom for the same plant variety.
Negotiations continue for the protection of geographical indications and pending applications for supplementary protection certificates post-Brexit.
Article 57 of the draft agreement (which has been agreed) provides that if IP rights have been exhausted both in the UK and EU before the end of the transition period, then the rights will remain exhausted in both areas after the transition.
As with all things Brexit, however, the devil will be in the detail as to how the above is implemented in practice and the specifics of creating equivalent rights in the UK. For brand and registered design owners, we believe that this should be done as simply and efficiently as possible without charge.