What is Brexit?
“Britain’s exit from the European Union”.
In a referendum held on 23 June 2016, 51.9% of UK voters were in favour of leaving the EU. At the date that takes effect, the EU will cover 27 countries, not 28. The EU, and therefore geographic coverage of pan-EU IP rights, has grown before, but has never shrunk. The consequences are still being worked out, but we have some guidelines.
When does it happen?
The date ‘Brexit’ is supposed to take effect is 29 March 2019. That hasn’t been finalised yet.
The current versions of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement (an agreement negotiated between the current UK government and the EU) contain a transitional period that would make the effective date of the UK’s exit 31 December 2020. If no Agreement can be reached prior to 29 March 2019, the default position is that the UK will leave the EU at 11pm on the 29 March. This has been called the “No-Deal” exit.
Some are even calling for further voting on whether the UK should actually leave. That would prevent Brexit. The present UK Government have ruled that out….for now.
Do I need to worry?
The short answer is “Not really”.
Only pan-EU IP rights granted by the EUIPO are affected. There is no impact on European Patents granted by the EPO.
European Union Trade Marks and Community Designs will no longer have effect in the UK once it has finally left the EU but provisions are in place to ensure that the holders of EU-based rights will be provided with equivalent rights in the UK post-Brexit, or the opportunity to re-apply for such rights if they have not reached granted status at the relevant date. This will apply even in a No-Deal exit. IP holders will not be put in a position where action has to be taken on 30 March 2019.
Reddie & Grose is monitoring events and updating you through newsletters, Twitter and LinkedIn. We are monitoring the cases of all of our clients and will provide tailored alerts as and when we find out that something definite happens.
There are some proactive steps you might like to think about. For further information, please see Brexit & IP: Not too much, not too little and Brexit & IP: Everything you have ever wanted to know about Brexit.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.