Today, the EU have published their position paper on intellectual property rights post Brexit.
With respect to EU trade marks and registered designs, the EU is seeking the following:
1. EU registered trade marks should be extended automatically to the UK after the withdrawal date. Implementation of this principle should not result in financial costs to the holders of the trade marks and designs and any administrative burden should be kept to a strict minimum.
2. Any pending EU trade mark applications on the withdrawal date will need to be refiled at the UK IPO but they will retain their original filing/priority date of the EU application.
3.The process relating to registered rights should respect priority and seniority claims, determine renewal dates and adapt the rules relating to "genuine use" of a trade mark.
Paul Cox, partner in our Intellectual Property team, said: "This provides some welcomed clarity for brand owners which have been wrestling with what do in the U.K. following the decision of the UK to leave the EU.
Overall, the position taken by the EU seems fairly reasonable (except I do not understand why applications can't be treated in the same way as registrations). It remains to be seen how the UK Government respond to these proposals. In the meantime, as Brexit will not happen until March 2019, brand owners can continue to file EU trade marks which on average take 6 to 9 months to get registered assuming no oppositions are filed."
Position paper transmitted to EU27 on Intellectual property rights (including geographical indications)