Following the signing off of the Withdrawal Agreement by the European Union Parliament on 29 January 2020, the United Kingdom will no longer be a member of the European Union (EU) with effect from 11pm on 31 January 2020.

For the time being, however, nothing will change as the UK remains closely aligned to the EU whilst the Government negotiates its new relationship with the organisation. This period of transition will last until at least 31st December 2020.

Does BREXIT impact European Patents?

No – although they have similar names, the European patent and European Union trade mark/design are entirely different species.  The European Patent Organisation is an international organisation established on the basis of the European Patent Convention (EPC). It is independent of the EU and currently has 38 member states, of which 28 are also members of the EU (the UK is one) and 10 are not. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU will consequently have no impact on its status within the European Patent Organisation.

What happens to existing EU registered rights?

Existing EU rights will continue to have effect in the UK. For further details, see our web-story on this subject.

Should my filing strategies now change?

Although filing strategies don’t need to alter yet for design filings, we do recommend that anyone filing now for EU trade mark protection considers whether a separate national application should also be made in the UK.  As the world’s 5th or 6th largest economy, the UK is an important territory in which to obtain registration.

Will Cleveland Scott York still be able to deal with the EUIPO?

Yes – in order that we can continue to represent our clients in the EU once the transitional period comes to an end, we have established Cleveland Scott York Europe in Munich as the focus of our EUTM and registered Community Design (RCD) practice. English is to remain as an official language of the office and so if you instruct us to handle EU trade mark matters after the transition period ends, you will see no difference compared with the service we offer now.

How to I keep up to date with the effects of BREXIT on IP?

We put regular updates on our website regarding the topic, and if you follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, you can get our updates as quickly as we load them. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your usual attorney contact here. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

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