So far this year, ‘Meghxit’ and the crisis in Iran have pushed Brexit firmly down the list of top news stories in the UK. However, with relatively little fanfare, Boris Johnson and his new Government have recently managed to achieve what Theresa May was unable to achieve last year, namely, securing Parliament’s approval of a Brexit deal.

On 9 January 2020, MPs voted in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the legislation which will implement the Government’s proposed Withdrawal Agreement. The Bill has now passed to the House of Lords for further review and it is expected that the Withdrawal Agreement will be ratified by the European Parliament later this month.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 31 January 2020.  Assuming the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, an 11-month transition period until 31 December 2020 will commence immediately upon the UK’s exit, during which the status quo will remain. EU trade mark registrations will continue to have legal effect in the UK during the transition period and UK trade mark attorneys will retain their rights of representation before the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

At the end of the transition period, EU trade marks which are fully registered will be automatically cloned in the UK by the creation of comparable UK national rights which will retain the EU filing dates (and any relevant priority/seniority dates). These national rights will be created by the UK Intellectual Property Office free-of-charge.

EU trade marks which are the subject of pending applications when the transition period ends will not be automatically cloned in the UK.  Instead, their owners will have a period of nine months in which to re-file in the UK while retaining the EU filing date and, if appropriate, priority/seniority date(s).  Regular official filing fees will apply.

If you have any questions about how your trade marks or other intellectual property rights are going to be affected by Brexit, please contact us or click here to view the Brexit section of our website.  Owing to the existence of our long-established German office, Dehns will be able to continue handling EU trade marks and Registered Community Designs.