EUIPO issues Q & A on a 'no-deal' Brexit

5th Feb 2018

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has issued a new question and answer document at the recommendation of the European Commission.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has issued a new question and answer document at the recommendation of the European Commission. The question and answer guidance aims to set out what would happen to EU registered trade marks and designs for the remaining EU 27 countries if no deal was reached before the UK leaves the EU.

However, the UK Government is yet to publish its position and guidance on what will happen to EU registered trade marks and designs in the UK post-Brexit. The UK Government has the power to grant the same scope of protection for these EU intellectual property rights in the UK, so that current rights would continue to be enforceable in the UK and not lose protection the moment the UK leaves.

In our position paper (August 2017), we set-out how the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) could replicate all current EU trade marks and registered Community designs as UK rights – with the same protection in the UK as they currently have. This would protect business and ensure no loss of coverage for these valuable intellectual property rights.

CITMA President Kate O’Rourke said: “We call on the UK Government, without delay, to make clear its intentions for handling EU trade marks and registered Community designs in the UK post-Brexit, to ensure the current scope of protection in the UK is maintained.

“It is in the gift of the UK government to ensure that existing EU trade marks and registered Community designs continue to apply in the UK. We strongly believe that doing so will bring the greatest benefit to business and consumers.

“In our position paper, we set out clearly how European Union trade marks and registered Community designs could be handled by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office to ensure continuation of protection post-Brexit.

“We agree that EU trade marks and registered Community designs are unlikely to apply directly in the UK, but even if no deal between the UK and EU is reached, the UK Government has the gift to grant EU rights the same scope of protection as they have now.”

The European Commission, in its position paper (September 2017), made clear its support for cooperation between the EU and UK for transferring the trade mark and design registers to the UK.

The European Commission paper states: “For the purpose of facilitating the implementation of General Principle (1), the Withdrawal agreement should provide for adequate cooperation and the transfer of relevant data between the entities charged with the registries of intellectual property rights in the UK and in the EU27.”

MARQUES (November 2017) and INTA  (October 2017) both announced their support for the position that the rights of all EU trade marks and registered Community designs should continue in the UK post-Brexit.

Kate O’Rourke added: “We welcome both the MARQUES and INTA papers, published late last year. There is a growing consensus among the IP community internationally that replicating EU registered rights at the UK IPO would maximise legal certainly, while minimising cost to business.”