UK-EU trademarks – Brexit impact

Posted: 1 year ago in: News, UncategorizedPosted By admin

EU trademarks & Brexit

UK-EU trademarks Brexit impact

UK-EU trademarks Brexit impact – are rights to UK & EU trademarks affected?  The UK vote on 23 June 2016 to leave the EU may affect the scope of protection of both UK & EU-wide trademarks.

  • EU-wide trademarks currently have effect in all member states which remain members of the EU.  When the UK leaves the EU, the scope of such marks is likely to be affected.
  • The scope of UK marks, once it leaves the EU may also be weaker.  UK trademarks could lose the power to oppose, invalidate or revoke EU trademarks.

UK-EU trademarks Brexit impact – Legal effect of trademark laws

  • According to the President of the European Union, Donald Tusk, EU law continues to have effect in the UK, until the parties sign exit papers.
  • Under current treaties, a state that leaves the EU has two years to  negotiate the terms of exit and future trade relationships.  This can be extended by agreement.
  • But, a super qualified majority voting may be applied.  The Lisbon Treaty provides that a super qualified majority is composed of 72% of the member states also comprising 65% of the EU-population. 
  • UK-EU trademarks Brexit impact – is likely to affect rights of UK & EU trademark registrations, even under an EEA agreement.  It probably will affect other intellectual property rights.

Four principles of EU

The four principles underlying the EU are freedom of movement of :

  • capital
  • goods
  • services
  • labour

The UK’s leave campaign focused on objections to immigration.  But Brexit negotiations will deal with the other principles also.  UK-EU trademarks Brexit impact – rights to trademarks are likely to be affected.

Brexit implies UK moves away from free movement of intellectual property rights in EU

  • The Brexit vote means that Britain will have less rights to free movement of capital, labour, goods and services in the other states of the EU.
  • This infers reduced scope for free movement of intellectual property rights.
  • Because the UK will no longer be a member of the EU, the current law implies that future EU trademark registrations may not have rights in the UK.  UK trademarks most likely will hold less rights against EU-wide trademarks.
  • Trademark owners, trading in the UK, may need to apply for registration of marks in the UK in the future.
  • UK trademark owners may also need to apply for EU registration, depending on trade and territories involved.
  • It also could mean that, after Brexit, owners of UK trademark registrations may not hold the same rights as at present to oppose, invalidate or revoke EU trademarks.

Brexit to hit UK & EU trademarks

  • Without being a member state of the EU, the UK exit could affect rights of trademark owners in the UK, as well as in the EU.
  • Overall, trademark owners may wish to review their approach to intellectual property rights affecting the UK & the EU.
  • The full implications for UK-EU trademarks should become clear by the time the exit is signed.
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