Posted on Tuesday 6 February 2018 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

Previously, we spoke about Design protection being a valuable part of your intellectual property strategy. Design as we know, is the appearance of a product and design registration is an effective form of intellectual property protection against unauthorised use and infringement of a product. But what are the potential implications for this form of protection once Brexit occurs?

Much uncertainty remains in the lead up to March 2019 when Britain will officially leave the European Union. While no legislative changes have been brought into effect yet, a notice to rights holders was released by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in early December confirming how these IP rights will stand following Brexit. The notice issued referred to holders of and applicants for European Union Trade Marks (EUTM) and Community Designs. In it the EUIPO confirmed what many had expectedthat‘EU trade marks and registered Community designs will continue to be valid in the EU27 Member States but will no longer have effect in the United Kingdom as from the withdrawl date.’

In the absence of a withdrawl agreement, a Questions and Answers report has been prepared by the EUIPO and EU Commission to inform rights holders and applicants of the current rules and laws in relation to EU Trade Marks and Community Designs. This Q&A outlines potential scenarios in the event that an agreement is not made and this publication can be read here.

What will happen my EU Design post Brexit?

Upon leaving the EU, European Registered Design Rights will cease to apply in the UK. While the EU has stipulated in a position paper that right holders should not lose protection due to Brexit, the UK has yet to respond or release their own position papers on the subject. One possibility that has been addressed is that the UK Government will introduce a system in which existing registered designs will be transferred or converted into a UK Registered Design (UKRD) while still maintaining the original filing date. This would then leave rights holder with their existing EU Design right and offering them protection in the UK marketplace from the same filing date. However, nothing has been confirmed and questions remain regarding how straightforward such a transferal process could be.

Cruickshank would advise their clients to contact us regarding their individual IP portfolios where we can comment specifically on how to move forward and retain protection in the UK along with the wider EU member states.