In a historic vote, the people of Great Britain have chosen to leave the European Union in what has been dubbed “Brexit.” Many clients have registered their trademarks through the Community Trade Mark (“CTM”) system, now known as the European Union Trade Mark (“EUTM”), with the expectation that protection extends to the United Kingdom. Similarly, many clients have protected their inventions and novel designs via the European Patent Office (“EPO”) with rights extending to the UK. Rest assured that there is no emergency; there will be no immediate impact on intellectual property protection for at least 2 years as new trade arrangements are negotiated. While it is predicted that the British Parliament will pass legislation to ensure the continuity of CTM/EUTM trademark rights in an independent UK trademark system, clients might consider filing a national-level UK trademark application as a precaution. Patent rights in the UK should be entirely unaffected by Brexit, however, since the EPO is not an European Union institution and operates independently.
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