If you were wondering what was going to happen with EU trade marks after Brexit, the UK IP Office does have measures in place. The basic position is that EU registered trade marks will automatically be split on 1 January 2021 into an EU registration covering the ongoing EU member states (but not the UK) and a separate UK registration.
EU applications that have not matured to registration by that date will continue through the EU application process but will no longer extend to the UK. One concession is that a UK application made within 9 months of 1 January 2021 which is identical to the EU application can retain the filing or priority date from that prior EU ‘parent’ application.
Those filing completely new applications in the UK after 1 January 2021 need to be aware that this means a completely fresh UK application made in the first 9 months of 2021 could be challenged by a later filed UK application which is based on the earlier EU application.
As has been the case for many years, those filing UK trade marks should therefore continue to check both the UK and EU registers for prior rights through to 30 September 2021 – even though the UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020.
Image: “Brexit tea” by frankieleon is licensed under CC BY 2.0