Brexit effect: less than a month from a possible no-deal. What are the scenarios?

Consequences and information needed for protection - for EU trademarks and designs - if the UK exits with no-deal. 7 February 2019

Never before as in this period have the effects of Brexit been so discussed, and in particular those of a no-deal exit, that is, a departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union without an agreement. The possible consequences that – from March 29 – could emerge are summarized below.

An overview of what is in force today
If for patents the subject is governed, on a European level, by an international agreement, as far as Community trademarks and designs are concerned, Britain’s exit from the EU needs some clarification. A Community trademark and/or design are, still today, valid within all Member States, including the United Kingdom.

Let’s talk about numbers: the ranking of countries that have registered multiple trademarks:

What happens in the event of a deal?
This has been described in a paper published by the UK government in March 2018, according to which there will be no substantive changes for the proprietors of Community trademarks or designs. According to the paper, the proprietors of Community trademarks or designs registered before the end of the transition phase (expected to be 31 December 2020) will see them automatically converted into an equivalent title in the UK with the same filing date and priority, and no examination will be required.
If the Community trademark is still pending on 31 December 2020, the registration will cover only the remaining 27 Member States, thus excluding the UK.

What would change in the event of a no-deal?
The two regulations on the Community trademark and design will no longer be applicable by the United Kingdom starting from the so-called “transition phase”, scheduled to begin on March 29, 2019. However, both a 2017 dossier from the European Commission and also a British Government document indicate procedures to be used in order not to lose the ownership of the trademarks and designs. Based on what was published, starting from March 29, 2019, a 9-month window is envisaged that will allow proprietors of European trademarks and designs to apply to obtain the recognition of an equivalent right in the United Kingdom, which - according to the declarations of the British government - will have minimal costs, even if at the moment there are no official data.

And what happens after March 29th for unregistered designs and models?
In the event of a no-deal, the British Government will ensure that all Community designs and models - not registered at the time the UK actually leaves the EU - will continue to be protected and applicable in Great Britain for the remaining period of protection. However, the scenario also provides that - for models and designs not registered and disclosed post Brexit - an adjustment of UK legislation may be introduced, in compliance with the current conditions for unregistered Community designs or models.


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