By Christina L. Winsor
The UK was set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019. However, March 29 has come and gone and BREXT has not yet occurred. The British Members of Parliament (MP) have rejected the current deal to leave the EU three separate times: first on January 15, 2019 (with 432 votes to 202), second on March 12, and the third time on March 29. The next hard deadline to tell the EU what the deal terms will be is a few days away on April 12. If they do not and Theresa May does not ask for another extension (which is likely to happen), then the UK will leave without a deal in place on April 12.
So what would happen if there is no deal and BREXIT occurs on April 12? On a grand scale, there would be no transition time and EU laws would immediately not apply to the UK. Food prices may go up and costs of customs may cost businesses millions. But what is going to happen to the rights of trademark owners?
1. EU trademarks will theoretically no longer be valid/protected in the UK. The protection of an EU mark will now be limited in protection to the remaining 27 member states of the EU. Protection of EU marks in the UK for registered or applied-for marks before BREXIT will depend on UK laws.
2. Any pending oppositions and invalidity actions currently pending prior to the BREXIT date and based only on UK rights will be suspended. Any proceeding based only on UK rights after BREXIT will be dismissed.
3. If a mark owner had an EU representative based in the UK, that representative can no longer represent the mark owner in regards to its EU trademarks. While a mark owner would not need to appoint a new representative for maintaining the EU trademark, it would need a new EU representative if it wants to enforce its mark or file any trademark proceedings.
DMOC will keep you updated on BREXIT and its impact on trademark rights. If you have any questions about your own trademark rights in the UK and EU, please contact Christina L. Winsor at DMOC and she can help answer your questions.