The uncertainty about the consequences of Brexit also affects the European Union Trademarks (EUTM) and the registered Community Designs (RCD) and unregistered prosecuted with the EUIPO (Intellectual Property Office of the European Union), between other intellectual property rights.
Despite the volume of news on whether or not there will be an agreement to regulate the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the truth is that today it is not possible to specify what the legal scenario of this type of rights will be from the day on which said exit will be effective.
What seems certain is that, upon the effective date of the UK’s exits from the EU, the EUTMs and the RCDs will cease to have effect in the United Kingdom and instead of having protection in the 28 EU members, they will pass to have protection in the remaining 27 EU members.
In view of this situation, the United Kingdom Trademark Office maintains in its note dated January 16, 2019, a message of calm stating that it’s intention is to continue recognizing the ownership of the holders of the EUTMs and the RCDs already registered. The way in which this recognition will be materialized is still to be set, although the recommendation shared with the EU Commission is to convert them into equivalent national rights automatically. Their maintenance as such national rights will depend on their subsequent renewal before expiration.
However, given that the time is passing and the holders of registered EUTMs and RCDs may need greater security during this period without waiting to see how the possible conversion of their rights after Brexit is resolved, there is the possibility of requesting at any time protection as national trademarks and designs or as a subsequent designation via the Madrid System for the international trademark.
A different scenario applies to the pending applications of EUTMs and RCDs that have not yet been granted on the date of exit from the EU. In these cases, there is also the option of applying for national protection in the UK from now on independently, although apparently the UK Trademark Office also intends to implement a period to be able to re-file them as UK national rights recognizing the application and/or priority date.