The European Union (EU) referendum result for the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the EU (commonly known as Brexit) will have implications for British SMEs although it has been noted that there will be no immediate impact for the next two years whilst the UK is negotiating its exit arrangements from the EU.

The UK, once no longer a member state, will not be permitted to be part of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) system.  Separate applications will be needed for the UK as well as the EU to allow full coverage and this will increase costs.

EU trade marks and registered designs continue to apply until the Brexit negotiations are complete.

The long term effects of Brexit on intellectual property (IP) rights remain unclear but these points are worth noting for current and future IP owners:

  • Consider potential registration applications in the UK as well as the EU.
  • UK unregistered design rights will remain but protection outside of the UK will only be possible through registration.
  • Review all current IP contracts.