It seems hard to believe that it is now almost two years since the United Kingdom left the European Union.
This paper provides a summary of the changes made to law and practice regarding UK Intellectual Property Rights, which took effect from 1 January 2021. Those changes have been fine tuned and continue to evolve:
The European Patent Office (EPO) is an institution that is not related to the EU, so the current system for obtaining European patents remains unaffected by Brexit.
- Equivalent cloned rights created from EU and International (EU) trade marks registered at 31 December 2020 continue to have force in the UK but are treated as entirely separate rights from their ‘parent’ EU rights. The cloned rights must be renewed and any changes to ownership or name recorded separately.
- Any EU trade mark application that was pending as at 31 December 2020 will no longer cover the UK, and trade marks need to be protected separately in the UK through a national filing or as a separate designation within an International trade mark application.
- Challenges to UK trade mark applications or registrations can be based on a cloned UK right created from an EU or International (EU) trade mark. Up to 31 December 2025 use of such a right in the EU will maintain the UK cloned right and can be relied on for the purposes of any opposition or cancellation.
- Update: The UKIPO introduced a change to the transitional provisions on 26 November 2021. Where opposition is made to an application filed before 31 December 2020, the opponent must rely on its EU right if its only UK right is a cloned right. If the EU right relied on is subject to a successful challenge at the EUIPO or EU Courts, it can no longer be relied on as an earlier right in the UK opposition proceedings. Read more