The transition period for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union ends on December 31, 2020, the Exit Date.
This has implications for European trademarks and applications for which protection is desired in the UK. Different actions will be needed depending on the stage of the application or registration:
Existing EU Registrations
Will retain effective protection in the UK until the Exit Date. The UKIPO will automatically make an equivalent UK “clone” for the following rights that are in force as of the Exit Date:
- EU trademark registrations and Community Design registrations
- International trademark Registrations which designate the EU
- Hague International Design registrations which designate the EU
These UK clones will have the same rights and protections as the EU right from which they were cloned but will receive UK national registrations. Owners do not need to take any action or pay any official fee in connection with obtaining these cloned UK rights.
Pending EU Applications
Any EU application or International Registration designating the EU that is pending on the Exit Date will not automatically get a clone. There is a 9-month grace period (December 31, 2020 – September 30, 2021) during which the owner can apply for equivalent UK rights, claiming priority to the relevant EU application or designation. There will be no notices from the EUIPO or UKIPO so applicants will have to proactively file UK national applications if protection in the UK is desired.
New EU Applications
If an EU trademark application has not yet been filed as of today, it is advised to file separate applications in the UK and EU if protection in both markets is sought.