Brexit – Trade Marks & Designs… did the plan work??
For those of you who have been following the UK Intellectual Property Office’s post-Brexit plans (just me?) I’m sure you’re wondering, did it work?
The short answer is yes, on 1 January 2021 the UKIPO added over 2 million new trade mark and registered design records to its database. No mean feat and actually quite impressive given the unprecedented nature of the task.
Just in case the above comes us a complete surprise, let me recap. Once Brexit became a reality the powers that be realised that there would be a lot of business who hold EU trade marks or registered designs that will no longer be of any use in the UK following the end of the transition period. To address this it was decided that anyone holding these registered rights would be granted, automatically and for free, equivalent rights in the UK on 1 January 2021, thereby ensuring that they retained their protection in both the UK and the remaining 27 EU Member States.
These “cloned” UK rights have the same filing dates, renewal dates, registered owners and representatives. It was a good plan, albeit one that resulted double renewals for rights holders.
We all waited (again, maybe just me) on New Years Eve to see if this would work and, sure enough, in the cold light of a January morning the records appeared, just like that. Luckily they’re quite easy to spot based on their registration numbers. Essentially the UKIPO decided to copy the existing EU numbers and add a prefix of UK009 for EU trade marks and UK008 for International Registrations Designating the EU. So, if you have an EUTM numbered 012345678 you now also have a UKTM numbered UK00912345678.
But what about pending applications I hear you ask? Well for EU trade marks and designs that didn’t quite get through to registration before the end of the year, the UK is allowing separate UK applications to be filed within the first 9 months of this year that claim priority from their EU counterparts, so essentially this means you can keep your earlier EU filing date on your later UK application. Lucky you.
Of course, if the above isn’t enough and you would like to speak to a trade mark or design geek specialist about how best to protect your rights, please just email [email protected] and you’ll hear back from us quicker than you can say Boris Johnson.
Written by Will Miles, Solicitor