BREXIT: Implications on trademarks & designs

01 March 2020

31 January 2020 marked the UK’s departure from the European Union. Based on the withdrawal agreement reached between the EU and the UK, there will be a transitional period until 31 December 2020 for which EU law remains applicable to and in the UK. Brexit-related changes regarding trademarks and designs will therefore only enter into force on 1 January 2021.

Following the withdrawal agreement reached between the EU and the UK, there will be a transitional period that is set to last until 31 December 2020. EU law remains applicable to and in the UK until that date and this procedure excludes any changes to European Union Trademarks (EUTMs) or Registered Community Designs (RCDs) for the time being.

No changes by now

As a consequence, no immediate action has to be taken by the owners of EU trademark applications or registrations as well as Registered Community Designs as registrations remain into force and pending proceedings will continue without any change.

Starting from 1 January 2021, existing registered EUTMs and RCDs will be automatically converted into equivalent national UK registrations.  In fact, the UK IPO will create comparable UK trademarks and designs for all EU registrations and registered EUTMs and RCDs will be duplicated in the UK’s national registers and in the registers of the EUIPO. Rightsholders will not have to take any further actions with respect to this conversation but may opt out.

Automatic conversion into national UK registrations

The automatic conversion will imply no further costs to the owner of the registrations and these converted registrations will:

  • Have the same legal status in the UK as in the EU;
  • Keep the original filing date of the comparable EUTM and RCD;
  • Keep the original priority (or UK seniority) date;
  • Be completely independent from the comparable EUTM and RCD;
  • Have all details available online on GOV.UK.

Since the registers will exist independently from each other, rightholders will have to perform a renewal procedure for their registrations with respect to each register separately.

Pending applications

Applications to register EUTMs and RCDs that have not been granted until 31 December 2020 will not be converted automatically. However, if the EUTM/the RCD is granted after 31 December 2020, there will be a period of nine months to obtain a comparable registration in the United Kingdom. As long as the application is identical to the EU application, the applicant must have the same rights as those mentioned above. Upon the request of the applicant, the corresponding right will be examined in accordance with UK law and there will be costs associated with this procedure.