The United Kingdom officially left the European Union (EU) at midnight on 31 January 2020. Under the terms of the ratified withdrawal agreement, there is a transition period until 31 December 2020. During this period, European intellectual property rights (trademarks and designs) will continue to have normal effect within the UK.
In brief :
- No change by 31 December 2020.
- At the end of the transition period, holders of registered European rights will automatically benefit from equivalent national rights in the United Kingdom free of charge.
- For registration applications pending after 31 December 2020, there will be a nine-month period for requests for conversion of European rights into national rights valid in the United Kingdom, at the expense of the applicant.
As intellectual property is not impacted by Brexit during the transition period, the question of intellectual property rights after 31 December 2020 must be considered.
1. Registrations: automatic conversion
All European trademarks and designs registered before 31 December 2020 will automatically generate equivalent national rights in the UK.
These will benefit from the prior art of the European titles, from which they originate, and will cover exactly the same goods and services.
This conversion will be automatic and free of charge for all European rights registered before 31 December 2020.
2. Applications for registration: conversion on request
For registration applications which remain pending at the end of the transitional period, there will no longer be an automatic conversion of the European rights into national rights valid in the United Kingdom.
However, it will be possible to request this conversion during a nine-month period at the expense of the applicant. We will of course be able to assist you in this process if necessary.
3. Our recommendation
The transition period open until 31 December 2020 is a final window of opportunity to file European trademarks that will automatically produce their effects in the United Kingdom.
We therefore recommend that you take this opportunity to give some thought to the issue without delay.