Today is “Brexit Day” – the UK will leave the European Union at 11pm local UK time tonight.

What does this mean for intellectual property?

  • For patents, it remains business as usual. The existing European Patent is an agreement that does not involve the EU, so there will be no change.
  • For registered trade marks and designs, the existing system will in fact remain in place until the end of the “transition period”. This is scheduled to run until 31 December 2020, although it is possible that this could be extended.
  • At the end of the transition period, any granted EU trade marks or registered designs will automatically be copied over the UK register so that rights in the UK will continue, without any official fees being payable.  The technical name for this is the creation of a “comparable” UK trade mark or registered design. The UKIPO will charge no official fees for this procedure.
  • Any applications for EU registered trade marks or registered designs which are pending at the end of the transition period will not automatically be copied over to the UK register.  Instead, a positive application must be made to record a comparable right, and official fees will be payable to the UKIPO. The deadline for applying to receive a comparable trade mark will be nine months from the end of the transition period.

What happens next?

Because of the transition period, there is still time to apply for an EU registered trade mark or EU registered design and have it granted in time to secure coverage in the UK.

We have arrangements in place with EU colleagues to continue to serve our clients after the end of the transition period and will provide public details nearer the time.

In the meantime we are more than happy to answer any questions. This post is a very basic summary and there are of course subtleties in trade mark and design law which are not mentioned here, as well as various other IP rights that are affected.  Drop us an email on or comment below if you would like any more information.