Despite the continued uncertainty caused by the rejection of the draft withdrawal agreement by the UK Parliament on the evening of 15 January 2019, applicants and holders of EU IP rights should be reassured that their rights are protected.
As we reported in September last year, the UK government published papers outlining what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 29 March 2019. Implementing legislation under the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 is progressing, with Statutory Instruments on Trade Marks, Patents (mainly SPCs), Plant Breeders rights, and Copyright being published. The only Statutory Instrument we haven’t seen relates to Designs but it is expected shortly. The UKIPO also announced at the start of December that in the event of a no deal existing, Madrid and Hague registrations would give rise to corresponding UK rights.
There are some slight differences in approach to the draft withdrawal agreement, with the key difference being when the transition occurs (29 March 2019 for no-deal and 31 December 2021 for the proposed deal).
We have already offered to manage the process to convert existing and new clients’ pending EU trade mark applications into UK trade mark applications – for free, and will be keeping a close eye on developments and updating our advice as needed. Whatever happens, we will be able to continue directly filing trade mark and design applications for our clients at the EUIPO, as well as UK and German IP offices.