Friday, 5 of October of 2018

In the present uncertain situation caused by the absence of deal between the European Commission and the United Kingdom, and the close date of its exit from the European Union (29 March 2019), the United Kingdom has recently made public several documents (here and here) in which it reports about the be consequences in case there is no deal between the parties.
Thus, while the United Kingdom shares the idea expressed by the European Commission to ensure that the registered EU trademarks and registered Community designs will continue to be protected in the UK by providing an equivalent trademark or design right in the UK, retaining the priority date, both the requirements and the term will be different in case no deal is reached by establishing a configured transitional period for these cases, anticipating the different scenarios that this implies.
According to the recently published documents by UK government, the following points should be noted, in relation to the unitary property Rights:

  • Applications for an EU trademark or Community design may be processed according to British legislation, maintaining the European priority date, as long as they are re-filed in the United Kingdom within a period of 9 months from the date of exit.

  • Existing registered EU trademarks or registered Community designs will have the chance to have an equivalent UK right, provided that they comply with a minimal (but not free or charge) administrative burden, which would be ruled by British laws.

  • Unregistered Community Designs will continue to be protected in the UK for the remaining period of protection of the right.

  • In patents, it is expected to continue with the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court project, and also to maintain the European rules for compulsory licenses, biotechnological inventions and supplementary protection certificates, although operating outside the EU system.

Similar rules would apply to trademarks or designs registered in the EU through the international trademark system or the international design system. It should be noted that the number of International Trademarks designating the UK has increased significantly after the decision to leave the European Union.

Thus, the British government has already outlined its position in case the UK leaves the EU with no deal, although it should be subsequently specified the system that will ensure the protection of existing rights in its territory.
We should wait to see what the European Commission decides at the prospect of an exit without deal, in particular, what will happen with the .eu domains owned by British individuals and companies, and the complicated procedure for judicial IP right protection that an exit with no deal would mean for the UK as a result of not having a centralised Court, undesirable scenario for British rights holders.