The Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020. Until this date, EU trade mark (EUTM) and Registered Community Design (RCD) filings cover the UK. After this date, registered rights will be transferred automatically so they continue to remain in force in the UK. However, pending rights will not be transferred automatically and rights can only be maintained by reapplying for the EU application as a UK application at the UKIPO. European patents and applications are not affected by Brexit.

Patents

The European Patent Convention (EPC) is not based on or governed by EU law, therefore UK departure from the EU will not affect the well-established system to grant European patents as the UK will remain a member of the EPC. There are several countries, such as Norway, which are members of the EPC but are not members of the EU. All of our European Patent Attorneys will continue to be able to act as Professional Representatives before the EPO, and European patents will continue to be enforced by national courts under national law, as has been the case for many years. In summary, there is no change to the current systems for UK, International and European patent applications or patents.

EU Trade Mark Applications and Registrations

During and after the transition period, UK companies can file and own EUTMs. After the end of the transition period, EUTMs will no longer extend to the UK. However, EUTMs that are already registered at the end of the transition period will be “cloned” automatically to equivalent UK national trade marks that will benefit from the EU filing date but will be an independent right.

EUTM applications that are still pending at the end of the transition period will not be lost in the UK if the applicant selects the option to refile in the UK up to nine months after the end of the transition period and keep the original filing date of the EUTM application. There is a cost associated with the refiling and the trade mark application will have to go through the UK examination process just like a normal UK trade mark application.

Of course, after the end of the transition period, a separate UK trade mark application will need to be filed for new trade marks requiring protection in the UK.

Clients using EUTMs in commerce in the UK only should be aware that such use will no longer be sufficient to maintain an EUTM registration.

We are well placed to continue to advise on UK and EU trade marks, and we can provide assistance relating to all aspects of UK and EU trade marks both during and after the transition period.

Registered Community Designs

Similarly to above for EUTMs, during and after the transition period, UK companies can file and own Registered Community Designs (RCDs), and after the end of the transition period RCDs will no longer extend to the UK. RCDs that are already registered at the end of the transition period will be “cloned” automatically to equivalent UK national registered designs.

Applicants with pending RCDs will be able to apply to register a UK design retaining the original filing date up to nine months after the end of the transition period.

Of course, after the end of the transition period, a separate UK design application will need to be filed for new designs requiring protection in the UK.

We are well placed to continue to advise on UK and EU registered designs, and we can provide assistance relating to all aspects of UK and EU registered designs both during and after the transition period.

Litigation after Brexit

The UK courts will continue to have jurisdiction with regard to all UK Intellectual Property rights. UK patents, European patents validated in the UK, “cloned” EUTMs and RCDs and direct UK trade marks and designs will continue to be covered by the UK courts for litigation.

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