At present, the nature of the future connection between the United Kingdom and Europe is still uncertain. What we do know, however, is that the UK will leave the European Union on March 29, 2019. As a consequence of this withdrawal, legal texts originating in Europe, including those covering industrial property, will cease to apply on this date. As such, and unless the Parties reach a specific agreement or transitional measures are put in place, pan-European industrial property laws and the rules governing them will no longer apply in the United Kingdom. Clearly this is cause for concern to holders of industrial property rights. Although negotiations are currently in progress, the Parties have not yet reached an agreement about the fate of European Union Trademarks, and Community Designs and Utility Models. Therefore, on December 1, 2017, the European Commission published a “warning 1” for rights holders, asking them to prepare for the consequences of the UK’s withdrawal in light of the current uncertainties. Effectively, in the absence of an agreement or transitional measures determining the handling and the extent of pan-European intellectual property rights in the UK, these rights and the protection that goes with them will simply cease to apply. Similarly, all seniority claims filed by British trademark owners will lose their effect on March 30, 2019. Naturally, API Conseil is following developments on this front with great attention and will keep its clients informed. In the meantime, and as a precautionary measure, we advise our clients wishing to secure their rights in the United Kingdom to:
– (Re)register their trademarks in the UK, via either domestic channels or an international trademark.
– Provide their new designs and utility models with protection specific to the UK. In addition, seek separate protection at European Union level. Naturally, our team is at your service to offer individual advice