The message following the EU referendum result in the UK is simple: it is business as usual and there will be no immediate changes.

UK national rights will not be affected and European Union trade marks and designs (EUTMs and RCDs) will continue to cover the UK for the time being.

It is likely that EUTMs and RCDs will cease to have effect in this country once the UK actually leaves the EU but, if this is the case, it is expected that arrangements will be made for the existing protection to continue at UK national level.

The professional bodies for patent and trade mark attorneys in the UK are working with the UK Intellectual Property Office and the UK Government to ensure that trade marks, designs and other IP issues are given proper consideration in the upcoming exit negotiations. The Institute of Trade Mark attorneys (ITMA) has recently published some possible options for how existing EUTM and RCD protection might continue after Brexit and, while they are purely speculative at this point, you can see these various options here for Trade Marks and here for Designs.

If EUTMs and RCDs do cease to have effect in this country, they will no longer provide a one-stop route to protection in the UK and the EU. In this scenario, it will be necessary to apply separately for UK protection and EU-wide protection, either via the UK and EU IP Offices or via the International (Madrid Protocol or Hague Agreement) route. 

The picture will become clearer as the formal exit negotiations progress over the next couple of years.

Brexit and your IP