The Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020 and with it comes sweeping changes to the ways you must protect your brand. The current EU trade mark registration system gives protection in all 28 member states of the EU. When the United Kingdom exits the EU on 31 December 2020 it will no longer benefit from protection from EU trade mark registrations. So what are the implications for your brand and what steps should you take? Read on for an easy guide.
Already own an EU trade mark
If you own an existing EU trade mark this will get automatically registered as a corresponding UK trade mark for free. This will have the same details as the EU trade mark and have the same legal status as if you had applied for and registered it under UK law. If you are an existing EU trade mark holder then there is no action to be taken at present.
EU trade mark pending
If you have an EU trade mark application pending then those applications which are successfully registered by December 31 2020 will still benefit from this free automatic registration as a UK trade mark. If your application is still pending after 31 December 2020 then you will not benefit from the free automatic registration as a UK trade mark.
Do not have an EU trade mark
Whilst the best position would be to have an EU trade mark already registered, the lack of certainty in the registration system going forward means there is still good reason why you should register an EU trade mark before the transition period ends on December 31 2020.
The UK government has stated there will be a 9 month grace period for pending EU trade mark applications giving applicants the ability to claim priority for their trade mark application back to the original filing date of the EU trade mark. There is no guarantee this grace period will be extended which means potential applicants should move swiftly to submit their EU trade mark applications before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
Furthermore, it is also anticipated that moving forward any EU trade mark dealings which involve a UK element will become more expensive. Applying for an EU trade mark now will allow you to take advantage of the current certainty in costs.
Hamlins have a deep understanding of what Brexit means for your brand and how to take advantage of the new trade mark regime to enhance the value and protection of your trade marks. If you would like further information on how Brexit will affect your brand or would like to apply to register an EU trade mark before the transition period ends then please contact Matthew Pryke.