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Spotlight: BREXIT and the impact on IP rights


The UK official left Europe on 31 January 2020. However, the UK remained within Europeans legal framework for a transitional period that ended 31 December 2020. In other words, Brexit is now in force. While this has a lot of political, tax and economical consequences, Brexit also has an impact on IP rights.

We will now explain whether Brexit will affect you and how:

Trade Marks

1)            You have an existing European Trade Mark (EUTM) registration

In this case, the Intellectual Property Office of the UK will create a comparable UK trade mark in addition to your existing European Trade Mark registration.

Your UK rights will:

  • be recorded on the UK trade mark register
  • keep the original EUTM filing date
  • be a fully independent UK trade mark that can be challenged, assigned, licensed or renewed separately from the original EUTM

There will be no costs involved in creating the comparable UK trade mark.

2)            You have a pending European Trade Mark application

Once your European Trade Mark application proceeds to registration, your rights will not include the UK. In order to include the UK, you will need to

  • apply to register the same trade mark as a UK right within nine months after the end of the transition period, this being up to and including 30 September 2021
  • the UK application needs to relate to the same trade mark that was the subject of the EUTM application, and
  • the application must be for goods and services that are identical to, or contained within, the corresponding European application

3)            New European Trade Mark applications

For any new applications filed after 1. January 2021, the European Trade Mark application will not cover the UK. As such, if you would like to obtain protection in the UK, you will need to apply for a separate UK trade mark.

For further official information on the effects of Brexit, please click here


There will be no significant change for European Patents. The UK will continue to be part of the European Patent Convention (EPC) which overseas the examination and grant of European patent application. The EPC is separate from the European Union and is therefore not affected by BREXIT.

So at least for European patent applications, it will be the “same procedure as every year”*.

If you wish to discuss the impacts of Brexit on your IP rights with one of our patent and trade mark attorneys, please contact us here

*catchphrase from the British movie “Dinner for One” which has become a tradition on New Year’s Eve in German-speaking countries.