Brexit - the Impact on Intellectual Property

Summary

The UK has now left the EU. Rest assured that Abel + Imray will continue to act in respect of all Trade Mark and Registered Design matters before both the EU Intellectual Property office (EUIPO), from our Spanish office, and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO).  Abel + Imray will also continue to act in respect of all Patent matters before both the European Patent Office (EPO) and the UKIPO.

Trade Marks and Registered Designs

(Please see our handy guides for further details)

The most important message is that no rights will be lost as a result of Brexit. 

The holders of EUTM and RCD applications (or unpublished RCD registrations) which are pending or unpublished at the end of the transitional period will have a nine-month period (i.e. until 1 October 2021) in which to file corresponding UK applications for the same marks and designs.  Those new UK applications will accorded the same filing date and, where appropriate, the same priority date as the original EUTM or RCD. Following recent changes in legislation, those new UK applications will require a UK address for service.  For further details please see our Guidance on Address For Service Changes download.

Downloads: 

Brexit: Our handy guide to Trade Marks

Brexit: Our handy guide to Designs

Guidance On Address For Service Changes


"From the 1 January 2021 onwards it will be necessary to seek protection in the UK for trade marks and designs separately from the EU."

  

Patents

The primary functions of the UKIPO of registering UK designs and trade marks, and granting UK patents, will continue unchanged.

The EPO is not an EU institution, and the prosecution and opposition of European patents and patent applications at the EPO will not change.

The rights of representation at the EPO of UK-based European Patent Attorneys will remain the same and it will continue to be possible to designate the UK on European Patents in the same way as for other non-EU EPC-contracting states, such as Norway and Switzerland.  Abel + Imray have had a presence in Munich for over 35 years, and we will continue to represent clients before the EPO in our usual way.

The Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court

The UK Government announced in March 2020 that consistent with its aim for UK sovereignty to be unimpinged by the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), it will no longer seek to participate in the Unitary Patent system.  On 20 July 2020, the UK formally renounced ratification of the relevant treaties which had not yet come into force. Whether or not the Unitary Patent system will happen without the UK has been thrown into doubt by a ruling of the German Constitutional Court which puts a question mark against that country’s participation.  

Without Germany and the UK participating, there are serious doubts as to whether the Unitary Patent system will enter into force at all, and no change to the present arrangements for the validation and litigation of European Patents will take place in the foreseeable future.  We are of course monitoring the situation and will update this page as more information emerges.  For a more detailed look at the Unitary Patent System see our UPC page

Supplementary Protection Certificates

Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs) are important rights in the pharmaceutical and plant protection industries.  SPCs are national rights that exist separately for each EU state.  It is expected that the UK SPC regime will continue with little or no change of substance, though the link with the CJEU (the highest appeal court for SPC matters) will change. 


General

If you have any queries relating to this topic, get in touch by sending an e-mail to brexit@abelimray.com or to your normal contact at the firm.  We are here to assist you in respect of all of your IP needs in the UK and across the EU both now and in the future.