The UK government has given its clearest indication yet that it will unilaterally convert existing existing EU trade mark and design registrations into UK registrations after Brexit.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Robin Walker MP, confirmed during a debate in House of Commons on 19 July 2018:
“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."
This will not affect the existing EU registrations, which will remain in effect throughout the remaining EU27.
On 23 July 2018 the UKIPO updated its page: “IP and BREXIT: The facts”, confirming the statement made by Mr Walker. While there still may be issues to negotiate with the EU, his statements are the clearest indication yet that the UK government is committed to ensuring that existing UK protection afforded by EU rights is not lost as a result of Brexit.
This will come as a relief to owners of existing EU trade marks and designs who faced uncertainty as to whether (and at what cost) their EU rights might be protected in the UK going forward.
In the Freeths IP & Media team we will be monitoring the situation to ensure that clients receive the best advice on how the Brexit process will impact filing strategies, existing registrations, pending applications and ongoing disputes at the UKIPO and EUIPO.
"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." - Robin Walker