On January 31, 2020, the UK officially left the European Union. After 1,316 days of political turmoil, the UK’s economic future and place in the world have not been this uncertain since the end of the Second World War. An hour before Brexit came into effect, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to the nation and acknowledged that the country is divided. Some feel hope and others feel a sense of anxiety and loss.

While you may think that the effects of Brexit are unlikely to reach Australia’s shores or that they would leave any lasting impact, the reality is that Brexit impacts Australian trademark owners who either have a pending application for a trademark in the EU or have secured a registration.

Here are the changes that you’ll need to take note of.

European Union trademarks (EUTMs)

EUTMs will continue to be applicable in the UK until the end of the transition period. Afterwards, they will cease to be enforceable in the UK. EUTM holders are entitled to a UK national trademark, which will be granted automatically at no additional cost.

UK-registered trademarks won’t undergo any changes as a result of Brexit.

Pending EU trademarks

Owners of pending EUTMs can make applications to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) for nine months after Brexit Day. As long as the UK Application is identical to the EUTM application, the owner will receive the same EU mark filing date. However, unlike registered EUTMs, owners will need to pay the usual UKIPO registry fees.

Geographical indications (GIs)

Current GIs protected under the regulations of EU will continue to be protected both in the UK and in the EU after the transition period. In the future, the UK plans on setting up its own GI scheme which will broadly mirror the current EU regime.

Take note that the information above does not cover what will happen during Brexit’s transition period. The transition period, which will last until Dec 31, 2020, will give some breathing space for new UK-EU negotiations to take place. Until then, it’s best to keep yourself updated on any changes that may take place.

For more information and enquiries, contact the trademark specialists at Pinnacle TMS. We are well placed to answer your questions.