What does a no deal Brexit mean for trade marks and designs?

The Institute for Government is not optimistic about a deal
We know what the EU27 and UK would like to see in terms of IP and Brexit but as the prospect of a deal being reached before 29 March 2019 looks increasingly unlikely, it's time to ask: what will happen if there is no deal?

Under a deal, EU designs and trade marks would be automatically converted to UK rights, apparently at no cost. This does not look to be available if there is no deal.  Instead, it is likely that the EU trade mark and Community registered and unregistered designs would cease to apply in the UK and until legislation is put in place which offers protection on similar terms, there will be no equivalent protection in the UK.

The UK government is rolling out various technical notices on a UK no deal scenario throughout September. The first collection of these notices is available here. While there is some consideration of the impact of importing and exporting as well as product labelling, the current tranche of notices do not consider intellectual property rights including what will happen to the Trade Mark Regulation ((EU) 2017/1001) or the Community Designs Regulation ((EC) No 6/2002). This will follow in one of the next tranches of technical notices.

This uncertainty is a problem for trade marks but many businesses have already taken advantage of the opportunity to file a separate UK trade mark and there is still plenty of time in which to file such a mark before 29 March. The bigger problem is designs where if the design is outside the one year grace period, it will not be possible to file a separate UK registered design as the design will lack novelty and independent character. However, there is no need to panic - at least until the UK government notice comes out later this month - we will keep you posted.

What can you do? 
  1. If you haven't already filed a UK trade mark for your key rights, now may be the time to do so (or at least to set a diary reminder for February 2019!)
  2. Get to grips with UK unregistered designs. They can fill some of the void left by Community unregistered designs and are available for ten years from first publication (or 15 years from first creation if that's shorter).
  3. File any new designs which are getting close to the end of the one year grace period at both the EUIPO and UK IPO.
If readers have any other bright ideas, please do share them in the comments section.
What does a no deal Brexit mean for trade marks and designs? What does a no deal Brexit mean for trade marks and designs? Reviewed by Rosie Burbidge on Monday, September 03, 2018 Rating: 5


  1. How about "withdraw from representation before the EUIPO in favour of a representative located in the EU".


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