March 23, 2018
As an IP owner you may worry about how Brexit will affect your rights. Now things have been clarified a bit, although some open questions remain.
According to a WIPR report, the draft agreement between the EU and the UK, published on March 19, provides some answers. The parties agreed on a transitional period during which the UK remains part of the EU, stretching from March 29, 2019 until December 31, 2020. Owners of EU trademarks and Community designs will see their rights protected even after the transitional period of Brexit has ended as planned on December 31, 2020. This intention has officially been agreed upon on a “negotiators’ level” only, opening for technical legal adjustments.
Article 50 of the draft agreement deals explicitly with the “continued protection in the UK of registered or granted rights”. Holders of European Union trademarks, Community Designs and Community plant variety rights will hold corresponding rights in the UK. Also unregistered Community designs will be protected in the UK in a similar way (Article 53). At least you can conclude that a cautious parallel filing of these rights in the EU and the UK is not needed. The agreement also outlines the registration procedure and the intention to have it free of charge, but this section is still only a proposal by the EU under ongoing negotiation. Obviously, this would be the most favourable solution for right owners.
Zacco will follow the development and give our interpretation of consequences for right owners. You are welcome to contact your trusted Zacco attorney if you have any questions.