Brexit could cause a majority change in the EU Trade Mark system. Brand owners who chose to rely solely on the protection provided by EU Trade Marks and have not registered trade marks under the UK’s national regime could be left without any protection in the UK.
We don’t yet know what transitional provisions will be put into place for owners of EU Trade Marks. It seems likely there will be provision for a conversion of those EU rights into national UK rights either through automatic process or by brand owners re-applying for those rights.
There is no need for EU Trade Mark owners to panic but they should regularly review their trade mark portfolios and consider the following:
- Where they are using their marks – are EU Trade Marks being used throughout the EU or merely in certain Member States?
- What any co-existence agreements say – agreements that define the EU as the territory may need to be clarified to ensure that they continue to apply to the UK post Brexit
- When filing new applications –consider whether the mark is going to be used in the EU (outside of the UK). If not file a UK application instead. If the mark is to be used in the UK and EU file both UK and EU applications.