Brexit and trademark and design law: update

We issued a brief on the state of play of Brexit negotiations about a year ago. Back then it was thought that the United Kingdom (UK) would leave the EU on 29 March 2019. Since then, the UK's departure has been postponed to 31 October 2019. Now we would like to inform you of what we currently know about Brexit and its possible consequences for IP rights with respect to the UK, in particular trademark and design rights.

Status of Brexit

Given that Brexit has been postponed, the UK is still a member of the EU. For the time being, therefore, there is no change for citizens or companies, nor for your intellectual property (IP) rights pertaining to the UK.

The UK and the EU are continuing to discuss the conditions under which Brexit will take place. However, a "no-deal Brexit", i.e. the UK leaving the EU without agreeing such conditions, is still possible.

Trademark and design rights

It is not yet known exactly what the consequences of Brexit will be for IP rights, and in particular trademark and design rights relating to the UK inter alia. Everything depends on whether the parties succeed in reaching an agreement and what the conditions of such an agreement are. The British government has in any case stated that it would make every effort to ensure a smooth transition, even in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Preparing for Brexit

The UK, through the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), has published a guide containing information on the future of IP after Brexit. Please refer to this guide for the latest information.

Preparing for a "no-deal" Brexit

The British government has published a series of technical notices regarding the situation that would prevail in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal. These notices are to inform companies and citizens how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. One notice specifically addresses the repercussions for trademarks and designs.

For more information on the impact of Brexit on EU trademarks and Community designs and on how the EUIPO plans to handle a no-deal Brexit, please see the EUIPO website.

Further information

We are continuing to monitor Brexit-related developments closely. As soon as there is more clarity on the precise conditions under which the UK will leave the EU, we will provide more information on our website. If you have any questions further to this message, please feel free to contact our Information Centre.

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