The Government has published guidelines on the manner in which trade mark protection will be dealt with if the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 with “No Deal”.

The good news is that the Government has confirmed that for those EU trade marks already registered, rights holders will be granted a new UK equivalent right “with minimal administrative burden”. This new UK right will be subject to its own separate renewal requirement and may be assigned and licensed independently from the existing EU right. Any holder who does not want to retain UK protection will be able to opt out.

Where an EU trade mark application is pending, the applicant will have a nine-month window to refile that EU application in the UK and retain the EU application date for priority purposes. However, there is no commitment to notify applicants of the need to refile and we will, therefore, notify our clients where positive action is required.

In light of this clarification, we recommend that clients who are considering applying for an EU trade mark do so immediately so that the mark has a greater chance of being registered by the March deadline.