On January 31, 2020, the UK left the European Union, what means that as from February 1, 2020, the transition period has begun for the country, which, according to preliminary agreements, will last until December 31, 2020.
During this period, the UK will act in accordance with the EU law and will develop new acts and agreements for the protection of IP.
Among the intellectual property objects that Brexit will not affect are inventions and copyright. The European Patent Office is not under control of the EU, and therefore the procedure for filing single application to obtain the EPO patent in 38 countries, including the UK, will not be changed. As for copyright, its protection is based on international treaties, and therefore does not depend on the UK’s membership in the EU.
Already registered EU trademarks and industrial designs will receive corresponding UK rights before the end of the transition period, even if they were registered during the transition period up to December 31, 2020 inclusively.
The protection of international registrations according to the Madrid and Hague systems covering the EU during the transition period will extend to the UK. More precise mechanisms for the protection of such registrations after December 31, 2020 will be developed later.
The protection strategy for the EU unregistered industrial designs is generally similar. Throughout the transition period, the UK will remain a part of the existing system, and therefore two- and three-dimensional industrial designs (e.g. clothing designs and patterns), publicly disclosed in the UK or any EU member state will be automatically protected in both territories as unregistered EU industrial designs during a three year period. Unregistered industrial designs disclosed in the UK after December 31, 2020 may be protected as the UK unregistered industrial designs for three years.
If at the end of the transition period there are still pending applications for a trademark or industrial design, applicants will be given a period of 9 months to submit the application for the same object directly with the UK Intellectual Property Office.