Brexit’s Impact on Intellectual Property
EU Intellectual Property law has continued to operate as normal during the transition period. No changes to the services provided by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) were proposed during this period and the withdrawal agreement included provisions for dealing with IP rights at the end of the transition period, ensuring continued protection of existing EU level IP rights.
The UK remains a participating state in the European Patent Convention which means leaving the EU should not affect the current European patent system or European patents covering the UK.
The Unitary Patent & Unified Patent Court
This unified system is expected to be available at the start of 2022 however the UK has already announced that it will not currently participate.
At the end of the transition period EU Trade Marks will continue to protect trade marks in EU member states however they will no longer protect trade marks in the UK.
Under the withdrawal agreement the IPO will immediately and automatically create a comparable UK trade mark for all existing EU trade marks to ensure protection of trade marks in the UK is maintained. Businesses that have applications pending for EU trade marks at the end of the transition period will be granted 9 months to apply for the same protection in the UK.
Other rights and designs
The withdrawal agreement ensures continued protection of existing EU rights and designs in the UK following the end of the transition period.
- If you have pending design right or trade mark applications, monitor the anticipated timescale to grant and assess the need for registering a UK right if the application remains pending at the end of the transition period
- If you are considering trade mark filings in the months running up to the end of the transition period you should file in both the EU and UK
- Monitor rights that are due to expire post transition period as there may be additional steps to be taken to ensure renewal in all required states
- Ensure any additional cost and administrative burdens are considered as part of future budgeting and resource planning exercise sea
- Consider the need to seek legal advice if any of your IP is subject to pending proceedings
- Consider the need to seek legal advice if your commercial agreements refer to the EU in relation to IP rights
- Explore whether government funded schemes to support and accelerate innovation can be taken advantage of if access to talented staff is restricted post transition period and as a result of Covid-19.