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Don’t Go Brexit My Heart!

09

JUN

2020

Britain finally decides on a finale, ending a half century bond and “divorcing” Europe officially on 31 January 2020.

Does this mean that all its problems are solved? Hardly! Some may be wondering what the effect will be on their European Union (EU) Intellectual Property rights. Worry not! This piece is meant to debunk all the qualms, queries and questions of what should come next.

Let's start with the basics. Although effective from 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) is no longer associated with the EU, we have to bear in mind that the interim period before any changes will take into effect is until 31 December 2020. Until then, everything remains unchanged.

Let’s now look at the changes brought forth after the interim period ends:

  • Registered EU trademarks: Owners will automatically be granted the same trademark rights in the UK, as they have in the EU. There will be no UK registration certificate or notification issued to owners. However, the automatically granted UK trademark rights will be recorded in the UK trademark database, therefore these details will be accessible by trademark owners via GOV.UK.
  • Pending EU trademarks: There will be a period of 9 months following the end of the interim period to enable the owner to file a UK trademark application claiming the filing date (priority date) of an identical EUTM application.
  • Pending Madrid Protocol trademark applications designating the EU: Applications which have obtained protection for their marks in the EU before the end of the interim period (meaning that their EU marks have been registered before the interim period ends) will continue to enjoy protection for those marks in the UK after this period has ended.
  • EU design applications and registrations: The same rules apply to pending and registered EU Designs.
  • Unregistered design rights: At the end of the transition period, these rights will automatically be recognized in the UK for the remainder period of the protection.
  • Patent rights, pending or granted: The rights remain unchanged as these rights are not affected by Brexit.

As "Intellectual Property is the oil of 21st century", of course it brings us to the essential question by IP owners, which is... WHAT WOULD THE PROPOSED STEPS DURING THE INTERIM PERIOD BE??

Listen closely, here are our tips…

Firstly, it is highly recommended to file a new EU application now if you haven't already. Seize this moment as there will be a good chance that the application will be registered before 1 January 2021 and if so, UK trademark rights will be obtained gratis!

For owners of pending EU applications – stay still! Yes, you read it right – you do not need to take any specific action but to wait until the interim period ends. If your mark is registered by then, equivalent UK trademark rights will be granted. Otherwise, we can still opt to file for an equivalent UK trademark application without any loss of priority. This will, however, incur additional fees, so keep your fingers crossed that your pending marks get registered before the interim period ends.

Having said the above, right or wrong, Brexit is definitely a brave move, shifting from International Governance to Domestic Governance. Maybe it is not always about trying to fix something that is broken, but to start over and create something better. Only time can tell whether Brexit is a healthy or a painful divorce with absolutely no strings attached.

To IP owners who have Brexit-related questions for their IP assets, do drop us an email at hello@kass.asia and we’ll get in touch with you immediately!

About the Firm

KASS International Sdn. Bhd.
Address Suite 8-13A-2, Menara Mutiara Bangsar, Jalan Liku, Off Jalan Riong, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel 60-3-2284 7872
Fax 60-3-2284 1125
Email hello@kass.asia
Link www.kass.asia

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