Brexit Changes European Trademark Registration Strategies

With the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union becoming official on January 31, 2020, trademark owners should evaluate their trademark registration strategies to ensure their marks remain protected throughout Europe. While the U.K. was a member of the E.U., trademark owners were able to protect their marks in the U.K. and all other E.U. member states with a single, European-Union trademark registration. The U.K.’s withdrawal will not bring any immediate changes to the trademark registration process, as E.U. trademark registrations will continue to be valid in the U.K. until the end of the transition period on December 31, 2020.

The U.K. Intellectual Property Office issued guidance explaining trademark rights following the end of the transition period. As of January 1, 2021, E.U. trademark registrations will no longer confer protection in the U.K.  However, all valid trademark registrations in the E.U. as of December 31, 2020 will be accorded trademark registrations in the U.K. This eliminates the need to file separate trademark applications in the E.U. for those owning valid E.U. registrations. Trademark owners will still need to maintain those registrations in the same manner as any other U.K. registration. After December 31, 2020, E.U. registrations will no longer confer trademark protection in the U.K. To protect a new mark or to expand protection for an existing mark, trademark owners will need to file separate applications in the U.K. and the E.U. to register their marks throughout the rest of Europe.

We have worked with legal counsel throughout the world to help clients protect their trademarks.  Please contact us if you would like our assistance registering a trademark in the U.K. or E.U.

This article is provided for general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice for a specific situation. If you are in need of specific advice or legal representation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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