19 December 2017
The United Kingdom notified its intention to withdraw from the European Union on 29 March 2017. This means that, unless another date is agreed or the deadline is extended by the European Council, as of 30 March 2019 all primary and secondary legislation of the European Union will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.
Therefore, as of 30 March 2019, all EU rules on EU trademarks and Community designs will no longer have effect in the United Kingdom unless a possible withdrawal agreement provides for transitional arrangements. The chance of a soft BREXIT with a withdrawal agreement and transitional measures is getting bigger every day but political squabbles in the United Kingdom can throw a spanner in the works.
If no agreement is reached between the European Union and the United Kingdom, from 30 March 2019 all EU trademarks and all registered and non-registered Community designs will only be in force in the EU27 Member States. Any EU-mark or Community design that was pending before the date of withdrawal will as from 30 March 2019 no longer have effect in the United Kingdom and any EU trademark or Community design registered on or after 30 March 2019 will only apply to the EU27 Member States. The same is true for International Registrations of trademarks and designs with effect in the European Union. Also, as from 30 March 2019, holders of EU trademarks or Community designs currently represented by UK attorneys will have to seek representation elsewhere on the continent.
Clearly, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union is not only a matter for the European and national authorities but also for entrepreneurs and companies that hold EU trademarks and registered or unregistered Community designs. Of course everyone hopes for a soft BREXIT with a withdrawal agreement that provides for transitional measures regarding intellectual property rights, but what if this hope will prove vain within a little more than one year?
De Clercq & Partners has developed a checklist of recommendations with a number of practical examples and measures that you could take today if you, as a careful entrepreneur or representative, do not wish to entrust the fate of your intellectual property rights to our politicians.
In case you would wish to receive additional information, then please do not hesitate to contact us.