The UK’s exit from the European Union will have a significant effect on UK business practices and legislation including intellectual property. The next two years will be clouded by uncertainty as negotiations between the UK and Brussels continue. There is no precedent so we are entering into unknown territory.
During the negotiation period, SH&P will be providing ongoing guidance on how best to maintain and secure effective UK and EU IP rights relating to both existing and future projects.
In conjunction with the likes of the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), International Trade Mark Association (INTA) and the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO), we will lobby both the UK Government and European Parliament to ensure that a suitable mechanism is put in place which allows legal rights secured under existing laws to be maintained in the UK after it leaves the EU.
We cannot predict the final outcome of the UK’s negotiated withdrawal from the EU. However, we can reassure our clients that SH&P will remain on hand to advise on all aspects of EU IP strategy both during Brexit negotiations and beyond. With over 100 years involvement in the UK intellectual property field, SH&P is no stranger to change. Whatever the outcome of the exit negotiations, we will continue to offer the same high quality representation before both the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and European Patent Office (EPO) at competitive rates.
Existing IP Rights
Whilst change is inevitable in the longer term, for the time being it is business as usual for UK Plc.
The referendum decision has no impact on the UK’s relationship with the EPO. The EPO is not an EU institution and is independently governed by the European Patent Convention. The UK will remain a member of the EPC and SH&P will continue to represent applicants before the EPO irrespective of the EU exit negotiations.
European Union Trade Mark (EUTM) and Registered Community Design (RCD) right protection secured at the European Intellectual Property Office (EU IPO) will continue to have effect in the UK for the foreseeable future. When the UK formally leaves the EU it is highly unlikely that EUTMs and RCDs secured up to that point will cease to have effect in the UK. The likelihood is that the UKIPO and EUIPO will agree on a transitional system whereby existing EUTMs and RCDs can be “converted” into national UK rights. Therefore, for existing EU rights, until the terms of a transitional system are known, owners need not incur the cost of re-registration in the UK.
Nevertheless, we appreciate that even a small degree of risk can be unsettling for a business. Our attorneys are on hand to provide strategic advice on the means available to mitigate against any future prejudicial effect on your IP rights, related Agreements and Licensing arrangements, and to minimise your exposure to unnecessary costs.
New Trade Marks and Designs
It remains our position that trade mark and design owners should continue to use the EUTM and RCD system for the foreseeable future.
We fully expect any EUTMs or RCDs filed subsequent to the triggering of Article 50 to have either full or transitional legal effect at the point of the UK’s formal exit from the EU. There are a number of options and scenarios presently under consideration in this regard.
The implications of Brexit will be actively considered as part of any work we undertake on behalf of our clients in relation to UK and EU IP matters.