After years of uncertainty and political turmoil, the Withdrawal Agreement has finally been ratified confirming the UK’s departure from the EU today. Ultimately, this departure will have an important impact on owners of intellectual property (IP).
For clients with trade-marks or designs that are registered with European IP agencies, the shift in the UK’s relationship with Europe poses a shift in how those marks and designs will be recognised. The ‘Transition Period’ provided by the Withdrawal Agreement provides for a short period of comfort from 1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020, during which there will be essentially no change to the IP regime for registering of EU trade-marks (EUTM’s) and registered designs (RCD’s) so protections in the UK will not be lost.
So it is business as usual… for now, but after the Transition Period ends on 1 January 2021:
- EUTM’s and RCD’s will no longer afford protection in the UK, so the IPO will create equivalent UK rights for any existing EU rights registered before that date, converting 700,000 RCD’s and 1.4 million EUTM’s into “cloned” UK rights and crucially, keeping the original EU filing date and any existing priority dates, for free.
- Any applications to register a EUTM or RCD that has not yet been granted will fall away and you will need to re-apply within the UK for the relevant IP protections. There is a 9-month window to make these re-applications but they will come at an extra cost to any fees paid to the EU agencies.
Time to put ‘Pedal to the Metal’ and protect your Brand
With only 11 months until the end of the Transition Period, the clock is ticking to take advantage of the opportunity to get your EUTM or RCD registered in Europe and receive your ‘cloned’ UK rights in 2021. Any applications pending at that point will have to be re-submitted in the UK, inevitably taking extra time and cost.
The application process for a EUTM or RCD takes several months because applications require:
- A period for examination; and
- A period for allowing third parties to raise objections to a mark or design.
As such, now is the time to look at reviewing your IP requirements and protecting your brands by filing applications in good time to get registered before the deadline. Taking action now will help you avoid queues and enhanced costs.
How Blaser Mills Law can help
Blaser Mills Law can provide a whole suite of services to protect your brand and IP rights, from auditing and registration applications to reviewing and updating your commercial contracts and terms and conditions.
For more information on the contents of this article, please contact Johanna Biscardine Stacy on 01494 932616 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Rebecca Cooper on 01494 932614 or at email@example.com.