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What impact does the Brexit have on EU trademarks and the unitary patent?


By referendum of 23 June, the UK population opted for leaving the EU. As a consequence, new agreements have to be made about all matters that had been laid down within the EU framework, including the EU trademark law. In addition, the Brexit will probably slow down the start of the unitary patent.

EU trademarks
As soon as the UK actually leaves the UK, which will probably take at least another two years, an EU trademark will no longer be protected in that country. It is assumed that a transitional arrangement will be made that allows supplementing an EU trademark registration with a registration in the UK, while maintaining the registration date. So for the time being, we see no reason for you to change your (existing) trademark protection.

European patents
The European Patent Convention (EPC) does not form part of the agreements within the European Union. As the UK is and remains a member of the EPC, the Brexit will have no impact on European patents being filed, granted and validated in the UK.

Postponement of unitary patent
The Brexit will most likely lead to a postponement of the unitary patent (UP) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC). This is because the start of the UP requires ratification of the UPC Agreement by the three major EU states, including the UK. The UK did not ratify the UPC Agreement and it is unlikely that they will, as they will leave the EU. As long as the UK is formally an EU member, the UPC Agreement is situated in a impasse. Furthermore, the intention to establish the UPC partly in London, as stated in the Agreement, has now also become questionable. In this regard, a political decision has to be made as to whether and how the UP will be adapted to the Brexit.

Of course, V.O. will keep you informed of any further developments.

For the current status of the unitary patent and the UPC, please refer to our Dossier.

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