How the Brexit Will Affect Registered Trademarks in Europe?

The UK’s exit from the European Union (EU), popularly called the Brexit, has left holders of EU-registered trademarks in uncertainty. Brand owners are concerned about how their EU Trademarks will be protected in the UK from 1 January 2021. However, it will be ‘business as usual’, for the remainder of 2020 since it’s considered as a transition period in terms of Brexit. Moreover, the UK has released guidelines on the actions it will take to protect the trademarks after the transition period ends.

A Brief History of Brexit

Brexit, an abbreviation of Britain’s exit from the European Union, happened on 31 January 2020. The process of Brexit had been a long and controversial process that started from a referendum on 23, June 2016. The UK decided to leave the EU as the number of ‘Brexiters’ exceeded that of the ‘Remainers.’ Around 51.9% of the participants of the referendum voted to leave the European Union. Though Brexit is real now, the time period till 1 January 2021 is considered a transition period. Till then, the UK enjoys no say on the policies of the European Union.

Brexit and the CTM

Brexit has created separation anxiety among the brand owners of the European Union Trademark (EUTM), previously known as Community Trademark (CTM).  The EUTM started trademark registration as CTM from 1996, though the concept originated in 1964. The trademarks were granted through a register kept at EIPO. Under the EUTM, the brand owners enjoyed a unified registration system wherein protection was valid in all EU member states. The brand owners are now anxious about how the UK is going to provide an alternative for this situation in the wake of Brexit.

How the UK Is Going To Protect Trademarks After 1 January 2021

The EU trademarks will cease to be protected in the UK once the Brexit transition period ends at the dawn of 2021. The EU trademarks, however, will continue to be protected in other member states as usual. For the protection of businesses with existing EU trademarks, the UK will initiate the following measures at the end of the Brexit transition period:

1. Creation of Comparable Trademarks

The UK, as per the Withdrawal Agreement Act, will initiate the process of comparable trademark registration for all businesses or organizations with an existing EU trademark. For every registered EU trademark, an equivalent UK trademark registration will be initiated. The date of filing will be the same as the original filing date of the EU trademark. However, the creation of comparable trademarks applies only to the EU trademarks registered before 1 January 2021.

2. Registration for Pending EU Trademarks

The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has made provision for the businesses that have pending EU trademark registrations.  The UK IPO says such businesses or organizations can apply for comparable UK trademark registration 9 months after 1 January 2021. The holders of the pending EU trademarks can also claim valid international priorities attached to the trademark. They can also claim for UK seniority claims.

Benefits Attached to Receiving a UK Comparable Trademark

All the registered EU trademarks that receive a comparable UK trademark could have their UK rights recorded at the UK trademark register. Such trademarks can enjoy the same legal status as the UK-registered trademarks. Other major benefits are:

  • No payment required for the Comparable UK trademark
  • Fewer administration processes involved
  • Will get UK registration certificate
  • Can be a fully independent UK trademark

EU Trademarks that Expires before 1 Jan 2021

The UK has created a protective mechanism for the trademarks of EU trademarks but what about the trademarks that expire 6 months before 1 January 2021? The UK IPO will protect such trademarks by creating comparable UK trademarks. However, the UK rights of such trademarks will have an ‘expired status.’

Still Not Sure? Seek Help From Jitendra Intellectual Property

The Brexit is sure to have created worries in the minds of holders of the EU trademarks. However, the policies laid down by the UK, as per the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, are expected to offer protection for EU trademarks in the new scenario. Jitendra Intellectual Property (JIP)’s global services provide trademark registration and Community Trademark registration (CTM) in the European Union. JIP’s trademark agents provide expert advice to clients on trademark registration through search reports, selection and retention of trademarks. JIP meticulously monitors various trademark jurisdictions to detect any occurrence of trademark infringement. Our highly qualified trademark agents provide market investigations report to tackle acts of counterfeit and piracy.

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