Brexit and Business as Usual

By Chris Morris, Partner

Following the December General Election the “Brexit Bill” legislation (based on the withdrawal agreement reached between the UK and the EU) has finally passed and the EU Parliament gave its approval yesterday. The UK will therefore be leaving the EU this Friday 31 January.

This has no immediate impact on our clients or their rights. Patent rights, in any event, are covered by an entirely separate treaty that is not part of the EU.

There will be a transition period until (at least) 31 December 2020. During that time the UK will continue to be treated like an EU member state, at least in relation to EU trade marks and designs, and such rights, (both existing and new filings post 31 January) will continue to cover the UK. The so-called comparable rights – new UK “clones” of existing EUTM registrations and registered designs – will come into effect automatically, and without cost, at the end of the transition period.

For the time being then, it is business as usual and HLK is not advising its clients to take any active steps either before, or immediately after, Brexit day. New EU applications (trade marks or designs) filed in the next few months will, unless they encounter significant objections, proceed to registration before the end of the transition period, so we are not currently recommending dual UK and EU filings for reasons of Brexit alone, although that is likely to change during the course of this year.

If you require any additional information or would like to discuss any of the above, please do let a member of the HLK team know. Our earlier briefing note, with some additional details, can be found here. Please also find a link to some further information published by the UK intellectual property office here.

Regardless of the outcome of the trade negotiations between the UK and the EU, Haseltine Lake Kempner will continue to offer a complete IP service to its clients covering all EU and European as well as UK and German national rights through its UK and German offices and we look forward to continuing to work as normal with our valued clients.