21 January 2021

Impact of Brexit on Trademarks

Businesses obtain registered trademarks in order to protect their brand and prevent other entities from using similar marks and trading off the goodwill generated by that brand. In the current post-Brexit landscape many companies will now be considering what protection their existing trademark portfolio continues to provide.

UK Trademarks Post-Brexit

Those that have existing registered UK trademarks will be unaffected and will continue to have the same scope of protection as they had pre-Brexit.

Registered EU Trademarks Post-Brexit

There is also positive news for EU trademark owners.

In the first instance, on 1st January 2021, the UK Intellectual Property Office created a comparable UK trademark for every registered EU trademark. Each of these registrations will:

  1. be recorded on the UK register of trademarks;
  2. have the same status as they had originally been applied for;
  3. keep the original EUTM filing date;
  4. keep the original priority or UK seniority dates; and
  5. be a fully independent UK trade mark that can be challenged, assigned, licensed or renewed separately from the original EU trademark.

Current EU Trademark Applications Post-Brexit

If an application has been submitted for an EU trademark that is still pending as of 1st January 2021 the EU trademark will not, once registered, automatically have a comparable UK trademark created. Rather, companies will have to apply to register the same trade mark as a UK mark within nine months of the end of the transition period (i.e. up to and including 30th September 2021).

Such application must relate to the same trade mark that was the subject of the EU trademark application and seek registration in respect of the exact same goods and/or service specifications as those which the EU trademark application was registered under.

If this application is submitted prior to 30th September 2021 the EU application shall be treated as a UK application and shall be examined in accordance with UK law with the benefit of being able to claim the same filing date as the EU trademark application.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

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