Get Updates by Email

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

UK Trademark Owners and Brexit

The Brexit : Exit from EU!

Anyone living in recent times must know that the UK has gone through a referendum, and a vote has been reached. The people of UK voted "Leave", and it has caused a huge wave of anxiety all over Europe. European peoples of neighbouring states are now calling for referendums in their own countries. The British pound, and other currencies, have plummeted against the US Dollar. Businesses are now sweating over where they will run their head offices to have access to the Common Market. British banks are wondering how they can access the common market. 

The statistics show that most of those who voted "Leave" were elderly people, those in their 50s and above. Many of the young Brits wanted Britain to stay in the EU. The explanation given was that, the older folks felt constrained and controlled by EU authorities. The youngsters felt that they had much to gain by remaining in the EU, possibly by a greater freedom to pursue their careers of choice.

Trademarks are important for businesses. But the Brexit has caused UK Trademark owners great anxiety.

UK Trademark Owners Beware!

Following the Brexit, a number of articles regarding the effect of the Brexit on UK Trademark owners have been published. These articles tend to carry similar statements, which can be summarized as follows:

  1. Following the formation of the European Union, there has been a procedure for filing trademarks which are protected in all EU member states.
  2. This represents an alternative to the traditional "national registration" in which trademarks are registered in a country according to its laws.
  3. To save costs, many trademark owners opted to file their trademarks using the EU procedure.
  4. These trademark owners failed to register their trademarks using the UK "national procedure".
  5. Their trademarks were protected by the EU registration when Britain was still a member of the European Union.
  6. Following the exit of Britain from the EU (i.e. Brexit),  these trademarks will continue to be protected by EU law, but not UK law.
  7. Separate UK registration is now required for full protection of the law.

A Possible Reprieve

According to Murrell Associates, a procedure may be put in place to allow those registrants of EU trademarks to re-register their trademarks in the UK (to continue to enjoy IP protection in the UK). 
When the partition of Ireland took place in 1921, a similar decision had to be made. On this occasion, legislation was put in place permitting proprietors of existing UK trade marks to re-register their UK trade marks as Irish trade marks. The problem with this approach was that it was not an automatic process. Therefore, not only was the onus on the proprietors to ensure that they completed the re-registration, but the UK Intellectual Property Office was also put under extensive pressure to deal with the increase in registrations. (Source: Business Cornwall.)
What solution will be offered? It is an interesting question. However, being far, far away, it probably does not matter to Malaysian companies.
Share this article :