Following the referendum to leave the European Union there will be no immediate loss of Intellectual Property (IP) protection for owners of EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs).

Nothing will change in the immediate – or indeed the foreseeable – future. EUTMs and RCDs remain valid in the UK and there is no immediate loss of IP protection. Exit will not take place until at least two years after formal notice to quit has been given, and that notice will not be given for some time yet. The UK Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) of which IP partners Maggie Ramage and Simon Miles are council members will be working hard with key stakeholders including the UK’s Intellectual Property Office and Minister for Intellectual Property to influence the forthcoming negotiations on exit from the EU and make sure IP is not forgotten. In particular, ITMA will be calling on the UK Government to ensure that UK practitioners remain entitled to represent clients before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (the EU IPO) and that the transition of all EUTMs and RCDs to UK-based protection will be simple and cost effective.

Although it is currently unclear how existing EUTM and RCD rights will be extended to the United Kingdom I do not expect a situation where rights would simply be lost. Presumably, transitional provisions would be implemented allowing owners of EUTMs and RCDs to extend their rights to the UK whilst retaining priority.

To quote directly from this morning’s press release from ITMA, “The UK trade mark attorney profession has built up a reputation and trust over decades for the quality of its work, as recognised by the recent grant of our Royal Charter, and this will not be diminished by the UK exiting from the European Union”.

We will be assessing the situation regularly and providing updates as they become available. If you have any questions about this article please contact Eric Ramage or any member of the Intellectual Property team or your usual contact at Edwin Coe.

Eric Ramage, of Counsel. Eric joined the trade mark profession in 1969, took an active part in the discussions to set up what became the EU IPO, and has been a member of ECTA, the European trade mark association, since it was founded and is a long serving member of its governing Council.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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