The Future of European Union Trademarks Post-Brexit
March 2017 saw the United Kingdom submitting a notification of its intention to withdraw from the European Union beginning a lengthy two year long negotiation process.
On January 15th, 2019, defeat was endured after the House of Commons rejected its withdrawal agreement (also known as ‘soft’ Brexit) with the European Union. Although the refusal proposed that any EU trademark registrations would be replicated on the UK register, with less than 10 weeks remaining and the Brexit deadline looming, the defeat and prospect of a ‘hard’ Brexit created uncertainty for trademark owners in the UK.
‘Union trademarks are currently effective in all 28 member states to the European Union. As part of the planned withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, Union trademarks (and also Community designs) will no longer have any effect in UK after Brexit’. On the contrary, whatever the outcome may be, this will have no effect on patent coverage or patent applications in the UK as these are recognised here as national rights.
Despite promises that any EU trademark registrations will be replicated in the UK register, the EU trademark application and European Community Design applications that have not been registered or remain pending as of March 29,2019 will reportedly not be replicated. Therefore, any application past or on this vital date, will need to be refiled specifically as UK Trademark and UK Design applications.
In essence, all European trademarks registered as of the withdrawal date will not be protected in the UK. However at the moment, these regulations are not yet set in stone and will be dependent on whether the House of Commons will pass these legal provisions on March 29th.
Till then, what seems certain is that, owners should ensure to protect their trademarks by filing a national UK trademark prior to the fast approaching Brexit deadline.
By Sena Tokel