The United Kingdom is currently negotiating with the European Union on new legislation and regulations following the Brexit. IP rights are also part of these negotiations. The UK Parliament has previously stated that existing IP rights established at EU level are guaranteed in both a “deal” and “no deal” scenario.
No effect on patent rights
Patents are national rights. A Brexit therefore has no effect on your patent rights, even if they have been granted via, for example, the European patent procedure. After a Brexit, the UK remains party to the European Patent Convention. New patent rights in the UK can therefore still be obtained through a European patent. For supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) we expect these to be included in the new UK legislation, which means that little will change in practice. Read more about SPCs here.
Influence on parallel import
The departure may have an impact on the parallel import between EU countries and the UK, which is now possible through “exhaustion” of patent law. This means that once a patented product has been sold within the EU (with the consent of the patent holder), it can be freely traded in the rest of the EU. Even if there are patents in those countries. When there is a “no deal” this right expires and it is no longer possible to exercise this exhaustion right for the UK. This creates the possibility of banning import and export between the EU and the UK.
Conversion of European trademark and design registrations into national UK rights
Existing European trademark and design registrations are expected to remain guaranteed, as the UK Parliament has previously indicated. They can be converted to equivalent national registrations in the UK while maintaining the application and registration dates. You do, however, pay separate maintenance costs for these UK rights. Pending European trademark and design applications can from that moment be filed as national UK rights, while retaining the original application and priority dates of the EU registrations. You also pay separate registration fees for this. The procedure of the conversion and the application are part of the negotiations.
As soon as the outcome of the negotiations is certain, our customers will receive further information. Do you have any questions before that time? Then contact one of our experts.