In light of the current impasse in the Brexit talks, the UK government has for the first time addressed the potential impact of Brexit on registered EU IP rights in the UK in the event that no deal is reached between the UK and the EU.

Guidance published yesterday advised that, in the event of a no–deal Brexit, equivalent UK rights would be granted to owners of EUTMs/Community designs registered by 29 March 2019.   While the UK government had previously confirmed that, in the context of a successful agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, equivalent UK rights would be granted both automatically and free of charge, yesterday’s guidance advised more obliquely that, in a no-deal scenario, it would be possible to either opt out or obtain equivalent UK rights “with minimal administrative burden”, thereby leaving open the possibility that fees might be levied.

This is good news in that it confirms that equivalent UK rights will be granted (unless the trade mark owner opts out) in a no-deal scenario, although it doesn’t exclude the possibility that fees may be payable to secure those equivalent UK rights.

In relation to EUTMs/Community designs still at application stage when the UK leaves the EU, the guidance states that applicants will, in a no-deal scenario, be able to file corresponding UK applications within a 9-month period following Brexit, whilst still claiming the benefit of the EU filing date.

The full guidance can be found here: https://bit.ly/2ONswmR