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Got your logo trademarked? Or a patent pending? Here’s what you need to know….

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has issued its guidance on IP rights during the transition phase of Brexit.

This is relevant information to any business which has to consider its own trade marks, designs, patents, copyright or exhaustion of rights during this interim phase before officially leaving the European Union. 

EU trade marks

The UK will remain part of the EU trade mark system throughout the transition period that ends on 31 December this year. The IPO has not yet created comparable UK trade mark rights These rights will be created at the end of the transition period under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Businesses, organisations or individuals withapplications for an EUTM which are ongoing at the end of the transition period will have a period of nine months from the end of the transition period to apply in the UK for the same protections.

Patents

You can apply for a European patent through the IPO or direct to the European Patent Office (EPO) to protect your patent in more than 30 countries in Europe, using the (non-EU) European Patent Convention (EPC).

As the EPO is not an EU agency, leaving the EU does not affect the current European patent system. Existing European patents covering the UK are also unaffected.

European patent attorneys based in the UK continue to be able to represent applicants before the EPO. 

Registered community designs (RCD)

The UK will also remain part of the EU registered community design system throughout the transition period. Registered community designs (RCD) will continue to extend to the UK during this time. 

Again, comparable UK designs rights will be created at the end of the transition period under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. Businesses, organisations or individuals that have applications for an RCD which are ongoing at the end of the transition period will have a period of nine months from the end of the transition period to apply in the UK for the same protections. 

Unregistered designs

The UK will remain part of the EU unregistered community design system throughout transition. This means that two- and three-dimensional designs (including, for example, clothing designs and patterns) disclosed in the UK or an EU Member State can be automatically protected in both territories as unregistered community designs. This right provides three years of protection from copying.

In accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, unregistered community designs arising before the end of the transition period will continue to be protected in the UK for the remainder of their three-year term.

Designs disclosed in the UK after the end of the transition period may be protected in the UK through the supplementary unregistered design, which will protect two- and three-dimensional designs for three years.

Copyright is a very complex subject and often involves specific country-wide agreements – it’s advised anyone affected should take legal advice around their continuing rights or otherwise. For more detail visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/changes-to-copyright-law-after-the-transition-period

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