How Will Brexit Impact EU Trademark Protections?


As you are likely aware by now, in June of 2016, the U.K. public voted on a referendum to leave the European Union. The passing of this referendum, referred to as “Brexit”, was the start of what is proving to be a long and difficult period of negotiation economic uncertainty. Many business owners within the United Kingdom and around the world have been left wondering how the decisions currently being made on how to proceed will affect their companies. Aside from the implications Brexit will have on trade and immigration, the effects could impact businesses and brands trying to secure their trademarks in both the UK and the remaining European nations. This is largely due to the fact that for over 20 years the European Trademark (EUTM) has been a simple and well functioning solution to Trademark and brand protection within the EU. With one registration, trademark owners were able to secure the protection of their brands within all of the EU member states and protect the path to expansion from the get-go.

The circumstances surrounding the UK’s decision to leave the EU call into question whether the existing agreement regarding the reciprocity of trademark rights will remain intact post-Brexit. The UK has not yet made a decision on what will happen to existing Trademarks, but given the somewhat contentious relationship that has developed out of the negotiations to date, the future of the current system of cooperation is precarious. As a result of the uncertainty, it is important that trademark owners have a plan moving forward to ensure the continuity of brand protection. In the event that European Trademarks are no longer honoured within the UK post-Brexit, it may be wise to consider securing UK trademarks and EU trademarks separately to ensure complete and continuous protection. For the moment though, EU trademarks continue to provide full protection including the UK and will do so until the Brexit negotiations say otherwise.

If you need assistance with determining which type of trademark is right for your business please feel free to call us on 0161 833 5400 to speak with a trademark expert.

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