On 24 September 2018 the UK Government published a series of Technical Notices addressing various scenarios in which the UK leaves the European Union without an agreement, the so-called “no deal” or “hard” Brexit scenario. The Technical Notice dealing with trade marks and designs is here.
The Government has already set out its position with respect to trade marks and geographical indications (“GIs”) in its White Paper on the future relationship between the EU and the UK.
In the event of there being no deal, the UK Government will ensure that all existing registered EU trade marks and registered Community designs will continue to be protected and enforceable in the UK by providing an equivalent trade mark or design registered in the UK. EU trade mark and Community design applicants at the date of exit will have a period of 9 months to file for a UK trade mark or design retaining the date of the EU application for priority purposes. It is envisaged that the new UK rights “will be provided with minimal administrative burden”. However, no guidance is provided at this time as to what additional steps may be required of holders of EU registered rights in order to avail themselves of UK protection at point of exit. The UK government indicates that it will work with the World Intellectual Property Office in relation to the parallel stream of trade mark and design rights obtainable under the Madrid Protocol and Hague Convention.
Provision will be made regarding the status of legal disputes involving EU trade marks or registered Community designs which are ongoing before the UK Courts at the point at which the UK exits from the EU. No detail is provided as to what may occur with such actions.
Please contact your usual J A Kemp adviser if you have any general queries or would like to assess specific implications for your business.
25 September 2018