Wed 1st Jun 2016

European trade marks - Business as usual post Brexit

Following the decision for the UK to leave the EU, James Cornish, of European IP specialists Page White and Farrer, provides some reassurances to brand owners and their advisers on the position regarding existing and future intellectual property rights in Europe.

Little immediate impact

It will take up to 2 years and probably longer to deal with the many legal ramifications of the UK’s departure from the EU. During this period, the UK will continue to be part of the EU and EU rights will continue to extend to the UK.

Future changes

When the UK does leave, it is likely that EU trade mark registrations will no longer extend to the UK - however it is highly likely that there will be a procedure for converting EU trademarks into UK national trade marks.


Lobbying is underway for this to be a simple and inexpensive process. The issue of any UK seniority claims in EU trademarks would need to be addressed for converted cases.

UK-only trade marks

Where brand owners’ interests relate to the UK only, it seems advisable going forwards to file UK national applications.


Multi-national trade mark portfolio

Where brand owners have interests in several countries, there are two options at present:

  • to file both in the UK and EU; or
  • continue with EU applications on the basis that there is likely to be a process set up to convert them into UK rights.


How we help

Page White and Farrer will continue to represent the owners of EU wide rights and already has a long-standing company in another EU country.

European intellectual property protection is the role of Page White & Farrer and this will not change.



In summary, the position is essentially ‘business as usual’ until the EU trade mark and design rights system is changed. We will guide you through these changes as they arise.

This briefing is for general information purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. We can discuss specific issues and facts on an individual basis and answer any questions you receive from others about Brexit. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this was first published in June 2016.


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