On 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The process by which this happens will be lengthy, and there are no imminent changes affecting intellectual property rights.

However as negotiations progress between the UK and EU and as the post referendum government reviews the UK’s body of legislation some changes will be made. We at EIP will be monitoring these developments and will publish updates on our website as they occur.

At this early stage we wish to emphasize the following:

European Patents

The European Patent Office is not an EU organisation and is independent of the EU. There are currently no plans for the UK to leave the European Patent Convention. Consequently, even after Brexit, it will be possible to obtain patent protection in the UK by obtaining a European patent and validating it in the UK, in the normal way. EIP will continue to be able to file and prosecute these applications.

European Trade Marks and European Registered Designs

These are EU-wide rights. Whilst it is not yet clear how these will be treated by the UK on Brexit, at present these rights continue to provide protection in the UK, and will likely do so for a period of years whilst the details of Brexit are resolved. For the time being, it will still be possible to file new EU applications for trade marks and designs which will cover the UK. We will advise you on the steps you may need to take to preserve these rights in the UK as and when any transitional arrangements are announced.

EIP’s trade mark and design attorneys remain able to file and prosecute European trade mark and design applications for our clients, and this will still be the case Post-Brexit as EIP will continue to have a presence in the European Union through our German office. We will therefore continue to be able to advise and act on your European trade mark and design strategies as we do today.

Further and more detailed information on the potential impact of the UK leaving the EU on IP rights protection can be accessed using the Menu Items.