Following the recent referendum decision to leave the EU, the UK IPO has now released a short guide offering some factual information on the future of various intellectual property rights which can be summarised as follows:

Trade Marks

The UK IPO has said “UK rights holders can continue to protect their IP abroad. While the UK remains a full member of the EU then EU Trade Marks (EUTM) and Registered Community Designs (RCD) continue to be valid in the UK. We recognise that for EU trade marks, users will want clarity over the long-term coverage of those rights. The government is exploring various options and we will be consulting users of the system about the best way forward.

In addition, the UK is a member of the international trade mark system called the “Madrid System”, which allows users to file one application, in one language, and pay one set of fees to protect trade marks in up to 113 territories including the European Union.


The UK IPO reiterated the government’s intention to ratify the Hague Agreement and said, “the government has also made clear its intention to ratify the Hague Agreement in a national capacity, which provides a practical business solution for registering up to 100 designs in over 65 territories through filing one single international application. We are currently working through the steps of joining and hope to introduce the service within the next year.


The UK IPO confirmed that the referendum result has no impact on UK businesses’ ability to apply to the European Patent Office (EPO) for patent protection. It has said that, “it will remain possible to obtain patents from the EPO which apply in the UK. Existing European patents covering the UK are also unaffected. British exit from the EU will not affect the current European patent system as governed by the European Patent Convention (EPC).

The UK remains a Contracting Member State of the Unified Patent Court at present. We will continue to attend and participate in UPC meetings in that capacity. There will be no immediate changes.


The UK IPO has said that, “the continued effect of EU Directives and Regulations following our exit from the EU will depend on the terms of our future relationship.” In addition the UK IPO reiterated that, “the UK is a member of a number of international treaties and agreements. This means that UK copyright works (such as music, films, books and photographs) are protected around the world. This will continue to be the case following our exit from the EU.


The UK IPO confirmed that, “for the time being the UK’s enforcement framework remains unchanged. We are still part of the EU and we will still play a part at the EUIPOs Observatory, and in bodies like Europol. The process for intercepting counterfeits and other infringing goods at the border remains unchanged.

It is clear that the main message to take away is that the UK remains a part of the EU until the negotiations to exit are concluded. However, clearly there will be changes if and when Brexit actually happens. The nature of those changes is at present unclear but is likely to differ from right to right.  We will continue to monitor the situation and update you.  Please see our Brexit Implications page on our website for further updates.

If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised above, please contact Karen Lee – Associate, or any member of the Edwin Coe Intellectual Property team.

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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