In the immediate aftermath of the vote for Britain to leave the EU there was much written by some in mainland Europe about British firms being unable to register European Union Trade Marks (EUTM) once Brexit had taken place. We look here at what will happen and what the options are for brand owners.

There are two types of trade marks in the UK:

  • Under the EU trade mark system (Regulation 207/2009 as amended), the EUIPO governs registered trade marks for the EU (an ‘EUTM’). An EUTM may be enforced or challenged for the whole of the EU in a single court action, and presently UK courts have that power. (An EUTM may alternatively be sought by designating an EUTM in an international registration under the Madrid system.)
  • Under the national trade mark system, the UKIPO controls registrations for UK only trade marks. Registration, and questions of infringement and validity, are governed by the UK Trade Marks Act 1994 and associated legislation (as amended), which have been framed so as to comply with harmonising EU-wide legislation, in particular Directive 2008/95. (A UK-registered trade mark may alternatively be sought by designating the UK in an international registration under the Madrid system.)

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