The trademark landscape in Europe is changing. With Brexit behind us, you may want to consider both what has changed (or is changing) and what has not changed.
At present, the UK is expected to remain a member of the EU until mid-2018. Until that time, all EU rights granted to holders of EU Trademarks (“EUTM”) – previously known as a “Community Trademarks” or “CTM” – will remain in effect.
While there is still a chance (albeit it slim) that the UK will not depart the EU, it would be prudent to plan on the UK leaving the EU in or shortly after 2018. On that basis, you may wish to implement a plan for the continued protection of existing and new EUTM trademarks.
- For current holders of issued EUTMs, it is expected that a procedure will be created to continue protection in the UK. However, no specific plans are yet in place. A variety of proposals are currently under consideration.
- If the UK is a key market for your goods and/or services, it is recommended that you consider filing for trademark protection in the UK directly. While this may be unnecessary depending on the procedure for protecting current EUTMs, applying for national protection can provide you the peace of mind that your protection extends to the UK, regardless of how the Brexit strategies are implemented.
- If you have filed a EUTM in the last six months, consider filing an application for a UK national mark claiming priority from the EUTM.
- If you are considering filing a new trademark application seeking protection in Europe, consider filing that application with both the EUIPO and UKIPO.
- If you have an EUTM registration, it is important to maintain records showing where and how the mark is used in the marketplace. Trademark use in at least two EU countries is best.
Please contact us to discuss the particulars of the Brexit vote and its impact on your current foreign IP portfolio or future protection strategies.