As the UK is still in the EU (see Bulletin No. 2), EU trade mark and design applications filed now and for the foreseeable future will continue to cover both the UK and the EU. Between now and Brexit, the authorities will put in place mechanisms for dividing out EU trade marks and designs into separate ones covering the UK and the “EU-of-27” (as the remaining member states are endearingly known).
Yes. Well, probably.
The problem is that it is not that easy. With trade marks, there are several ways this could be done, at differing times - for example, at the time of Brexit, or within a certain time period after, such as 6 months, or on renewal - and with differing processes - for example, automatically, or through the existing conversion process (which involves examination), or on re-registration (which does not). With designs, on the other hand, there is no existing conversion process, nothing. Entirely new legislation would be needed.
Many of our clients are choosing to file separate EU and UK applications for any new trade marks and designs that they intend to use in both the UK and other parts of the European Union. This may double up on protection in the UK, and cost more now (although we have cost-effective “EU + UK” packages). However, it does away with the need to divide out EU trade marks and designs later, and the associated cost of doing so. And the uncertainty.