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What Would a "Brexit" Mean for Brand Owners with European Trademarks?

Published: 06/22/2016

By Alison Hayman

On the eve of the United Kingdom’s referendum on leaving the European Union, businesses who have protected their brands in the United Kingdom solely through the European Trademark system, may be wondering what will happen to their trademark protection in the United Kingdom should the vote be for a “Brexit”.

What we know at the moment is that if the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union, it is expected that the European Trademark, which grants protection in all current member states, will no longer grant protection in the United Kingdom. Businesses with European Trademarks will need to obtain national trademark registrations in the UK in order to protect their brands in that country.

The good news is that this will not happen overnight. The United Kingdom would have to negotiate the terms of its exit from the European Union, which is expected to take some time. There may also be transitional provisions relating to intellectual property protection which will be published before they take effect, giving trademark owners time to take any action available to preserve their rights in the United Kingdom.

Should the vote be for a “Brexit”, we will work with our clients to implement strategies to ensure that their valuable brands remain protected in the United Kingdom to the fullest extent possible.