Government gives further reassurance of EU trade marks

20th Jul 2018

The UK Government has given further reassurances to business that EU intellectual property rights will continue to be protected in the UK post-Brexit, and in a further development, at no-cost.


The announcement made it clear that existing EU trade marks, registered designs and unregistered designs will be ‘cloned’ onto the UK register “automatically and for free”.

Robin Walker MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, made the announcement during a debate in House of Commons yesterday (19th July 2018).

Robin Walker MP said: “We have agreed to protect all existing EU trade marks, community registered designs and unregistered designs in the UK as we leave the EU. In place of those EU-level rights, 1.5 million new UK trade marks and registered designs will be granted automatically and for free.

“The creative industries can therefore be confident that their existing intellectual property rights will not be diminished, and that the UK will remain one of the best places in the world to protect and enforce IP rights.

Mr Walker was responding to a question from the SNP’s Lisa Cameron MP.

This follows the UK Government’s publication of a paper highlighting the points in the European Commission’s draft withdrawal agreement that have been “agreed at negotiators' level”.

The agreement first signalled the UK Government’s intention to grant all European Union registered trade mark and design right holders an equivalent UK right with the same filing and priority dates and with no examination required.

CITMA President Tania Clark said: “It is excellent news for business that the Government has confirmed that EU intellectual property (IP) rights will be automatically protected in the UK post-Brexit at no-cost.

"The Government’s announcement mirrors the solution to IP rights we set out last year, and will help to provide maximum legal certainty at minimal cost.

"The Government must now provide clarity for business on whether UK Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys will continue to be able to represent them at the EU Intellectual Property Office after Brexit.”

UPDATE (23rd July 2018): The Intellectual Property Office has provided CITMA with a clarifying comment.

An IPO spokesperson said: “We can confirm that, subject to agreement of the Withdrawal Agreement, we will continue to protect all existing registered European Union trade marks, registered community designs, and unregistered community designs as we leave the EU. We will do so by creating over 1.7 million comparable UK rights, which will be granted automatically and free-of-charge. 

“In terms of the White Paper, as the Minister has stated, there are significant mutual benefits available to the UK and EU through intellectual property cooperation. For that reason we are seeking to explore arrangements on cooperation on IP with the EU, where this is consistent with the UK’s overall approach as set out in the White Paper.”