The United Kingdom referendum on membership of the European Union has resulted in a vote to leave. There is no immediate effect on intellectual property rights; the UK remains a full member of the European Union and we continue to provide a complete intellectual property service Europe-wide. It is likely to be several years before the full implications of this vote become apparent.

Patents
The leave vote has no effect on our role as European patent attorneys, since the European Patent Office is not a European Union body, and already includes ten countries that are not members of the European Union.  Therefore, irrespective of what happens to our membership of the EU, we will continue to represent clients before the European Patent Office for filing, prosecution, oppositions and appeals.
 
EU Trade Marks and Registered Designs
While the leave vote has the potential to affect EU Trade Marks and Registered Designs in the longer term, there is no immediate impact and we continue to be able to represent our clients before the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO, formerly OHIM).  Regardless of the outcome of exit negotiations with the European Union, we will take all necessary steps to ensure that our rights to represent clients before the EUIPO are unaffected.

The Future
The UK is the world’s fifth largest economy.  While the leave vote presents challenges, it also gives rise to new opportunities, as the UK forges trade deals both with the EU and with non-EU countries.  We are well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities following the recent addition of a full-service legal team including leading intellectual property lawyers James Tumbridge and Paul Harris.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the issues raised by the UK vote, please contact your usual attorney or the Managing Partner, Jan Walaski.