Sorting through the implications of the UK exit of their membership to the European Union (EU), has been especially concerning for those with Intellectual Property ownership rights under EU laws. What does Brexit mean for EU Trademark owners, and how does Brexit affect Trademark applicants now? Trademark registration concerns will depend on whether a Trademark application has already been filed with the EU Trademark Office, or will be filed in the future (after Dec 2020).  

Pending Applications

The UK worked to create a transition standard for current Trademark owners to assure continuity of law, and Trademark protection. As such, they adopted regulation stating that current EU Trademarks will be replicated under UK law as well, and will receive the same recognition of rights and priority of ownership by the UK as was granted by the EUIPO.

Additionally, if a Trademark application was pending approval by the EUIPO as of December 31, 2020, applications to the EUIPO will now include the existing EU member states, and exclude the UK, however, applicants can file an identical application with the UKIPO for the same categories and will be permitted to back-date their applications to the date used on the EU application.  

Although the EU Trademark application no longer includes UK registration, the UK will honor currently registered EU Trademarks.

New Applications

Trademark renewal applications will need to be filed with the EU and UK IPO’s in order to receive continued protection under both governing Trademark IPO’s.  

Looking Forward

Though Brexit may have prompted a period of uncertainty for Trademark owners registered with the EU, they should keep the following in mind as they consider future business and trade opportunities in Europe:

  • Trading in the UK will not qualify, at this time, as trading in the EU from the EU’s Court of Justice perspective. Trade must occur intentionally in the UK and the EU to show use of commerce in both regions.
  • EU Trademark applications no longer include usage and protection in the UK.
  • The UK will honor Trademarks currently registered as an EU Trademark.
  • Although the UK will honor existing EU case law and court decisions, it will initiate the process of legislating its own laws on Intellectual Property and especially Trademarks. Following UK Intellectual Property laws and developments should remain a priority for Trademark holders.

Please contact Behrends Legal with your International Trademark Registration questions!