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UK design applications go up with Brexit on the horizon

The UKIPO has published some figures on designs registered at the UKIPO in the last 10 years, in response to a Freedom of Information request.

There was a distinct upward trend in the number of registered design applications between 2011 and 2016, with a significant jump in numbers between 2015 and 2016.  The figures available for 2017 suggest a further increase.  This is in direct contrast to the patent figures, which appear to have stayed relatively stable over the same periods.

Vicki Strachan, Partner, patent and design attorney for Wynne-Jones, comments below:

“It cannot be denied that Brexit is likely to be a key factor influencing IP filing strategies.  Whilst Brexit will not affect the UK’s inclusion in the European Patent Convention, it will, of course, affect our coverage via the Community Design registration process.  Put simply, if we are no longer in the EU, the UK will not, in the future, be covered by a Community Design.  Various opinions and positions have been issued as to the fate of design protection in the UK by Community designs filed before Brexit, but it is likely that the on-going uncertainty has led to companies filing concurrent UK and EU design applications, just to be on the safe side. 

“However, since the Brexit result was announced, it has become clear, by listening to and advising our clients, that businesses are increasingly recognising the value of the innovative input required to generate designs and protecting that input by way of UK registered designs.  As we head toward Brexit, we think that the “British” brand will stand for innovation, quality and style, and protecting the effort that goes into that will be of paramount commercial importance going forward.” she concludes.

At Wynne-Jones we have a dedicated designs team, with extensive experience of advising on, and filing, registered designs across the world.  In addition, we are uniquely positioned among UK patent and trade mark attorneys to continue to handle EU work by virtue of our membership of the AIPEX European Alliance.  Importantly, we can still file and prosecute “Pan-European” IP applications for European Patents, European Union Trade Marks and Registered Community Designs, and subsequently enforce the resulting rights.  In short, after Brexit, our attorneys will still be able to file, prosecute and enforce not just European patents, but also Community Designs (and Trade Marks).  For more information, click here.


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