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Brexit IP: Prepare for the worst, hope for the best

by | Oct 20, 2020

Brexit - 31 January 2020


After several years of debate and negotiation, the UK will finally leave the European Union at midnight on the 31st December 2020. This brings with it some fundamental changes for UK companies with European trade mark and design registrations. Julia House, trade mark Attorney and Director at Albright IP outlines what companies need to think about and how Albright IP is ready to support them…


Following Brexit, the UK will no longer be governed by European law and in particular, be bound by decisions of the European Courts. This also means that the UK can no longer be part of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO)


So, what does this mean? Well, in a nutshell, EU and UK trade mark and design protection will now be separate.


Moving forward, any existing European registrations will be automatically cloned in the UK (to create UK registrations) as EU registrations will cease to be covered in the UK.


Patents, however, will remain unaffected as they are covered by a separate treaty, which, hopefully, will not be repealed.


The newly cloned registrations will become your UK equivalent right and while this will be created freely and automatically, there will be renewal fees in the future which will have to be paid separately and will need to budgeted for.


Preparation is key


At Albright IP we are well prepared for Brexit, we have a network of European mainland attorneys who will assist us with our European cases. But essentially not a lot will change, we will continue to handle all cases, be the first point of contact for our clients and continue to provide the same high level of service, advice, and support as always.


For us this is a tried and tested approach, as a specialist IP attorney we have been working in partnership with foreign attorneys for over a decade now, it helps to minimise client costs (no overheads of foreign offices) and gives our clients the ‘on the ground’ expertise for each individual country we operate in.


Most of all, it gives our clients choice, our trusted partners have established businesses within Europe and it will be no different to how we operate in the US, China or Australia, where we are also not direct representatives.


Business as usual


For both existing and new clients, it will be business as usual and we will remain the key point of contact for your IP, we will continue to monitor your cases on our database, send renewal reminders, and ensure that the deadlines are met.


Our corporate customers will also be able to use our IP portal which will be uploaded with cloned cases once they have been generated by the UKIPO, helping to give you a ‘real-time’ view of your IP across the EU and the world.


For any of our clients with existing EU trade mark and design registrations, we will be writing to them directly to advise them of their cloned registrations and sending timely reminders for any decisions that need to be taken.


For any trade mark and design applications that are yet to be filed, we will guide you towards the most cost-effective and cohesive filing strategy to follow, to ensure the best protection is secured in the UK, EU, and beyond.


Worry not, it will be a smooth transition, and we will continue to keep you up to speed with your new rights, and the full implications of Brexit upon your IP.