Effects of BREXIT on trade marks registered in the European Union
From 1 February 2020, the United Kingdom ceased to be a member of the European Union (EU).
However, according to the terms of the withdrawal agreement, there will be a transition period -prior to definitive separation- until 31 December 2020. During this transition period, EU rules will continue to apply and intellectual property rights will not be affected.
Once that period is over, starting January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom Trademark Office will grant an equivalent registration for each of the trademarks already registered in the European Union. In this way, owners of trademarks registered in the EU will automatically obtain a separate UK trademark registration at no additional cost.
For those trademark applications in the European Union, that remain pending on January 1st 2021, the owner may file a conversion application in the United Kingdom within nine months of the end of the transition period, while retaining the filing date of the EU trademark. This procedure will have an additional cost for the applicant.
In conclusion. Those who are now owners of a trademark registration granted by the EUIPO will continue to enjoy protection in the UK. For those applications to the EUIPO that remain pending on January 1st 2021, the holder will be required to apply for conversion in order to have protection in the UK.
Where a new mark is to be processed, it will be important to assess whether it is convenient, or not, to apply for registration in both, the EU and the UK.