A lot has been discussed and speculated about the referendum “Brexit”. The UK has voted to leave the EU on June 23rd , 2016. This decision will have far reaching effects, including potential effects on intellectual property rights in the UK. June 23rd 2016, will be a landmark date in the European and British history.
Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK must now notify the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU, which will lead to a negotiation period of minimum two years. During this period, the UK will negotiate its future relationship with the EU, including various intellectual property issues. Until the end of the negotiation period, EU laws, such as the European Patent Convention, will continue to apply in the UK. It is believed that the actual exit is unlikely to happen before October 2018. Until that time, the UK will continue to be an EU Member State, bound by EU treaties and laws.Thus, absent further legislative action, EU trademarks will cease to provide protection within the UK at the end of the negotiation period.
It is very obvious that after the exit of the UK from the EU, the existing EUTM (Community Trademarks (CTM)) registrations will cease to apply in the UK. A separate legislation will be enacted or some alternative provisions will be made to allow applicants/owners of trademarks to convert part of their EU/ CTM registration to national UK registration.
Recently, it has been reported that in an attempt to make the most of the commonly referred term “BREXIT”; on 25th June 2016, the terms ‘English Brexit Tea’ and ‘Brexit Tea’ have been applied for trademark registration before the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) by Leisure Fun & Toys, a company based in Wedel in Germany. The trademark application is applied for tea, tea leaves, a tea cosy, kettles and tea pots. It has also been reported that the term ‘Brexit’ has been filed for trademark registration before the UK IPO by an Australian resident, Barry Nicholson on 27th June, 2016 for biscuits and baked goods.
Authored by Sambhabi Patnaik