After yesterday’s clear defeat of British government in parliament’s vote on Brexit deal as negotiated with EU, a no-deal and chaotic Brexit becomes an even more likely scenario. Up to date it is completely unclear, how UK will handle any rights that currently are granted in UK based on EU regulations after March 29, 2019, the date by which UK’s membership in the EU is currently scheduled to end. This uncertainty, aside many other aspects, particularly also affects rights based on registered EU trademarks & designs. To date and based on UK’s membership in the EU, these rights evidently also have had effect in UK.
Though we are aware of an announcement of UK government’s intent that was published already in September last year and according to which measures shall be taken for allowing such registered EU trademarks that exist at the Brexit date to continue in UK (s. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/trade-marks-and-designs-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/trade-marks-and-designs-if-theres-no-brexit-deal), this announcement merely represents an intent of the government and we are not aware of any administrative measures being taken to bring this intent into enforceable law. Considering the present shambolic situation in British government, we do not consider implementation of this announcement into law being absolutely certain.
From our point of view, our clients with registered EU trademarks should consider to also protect their trademarks and designs in UK by means of applications with direct national effect there, at least if protection of the respective trademark in UK is of relevance. Otherwise, we consider there to be a non-negligible risk of losing trademark protection & design protection in UK in case of a no-deal Brexit.