Spare me the Legal Mumbo Jumbo, what’s this all about?
Fair enough. Right now, the law the governs UK Trademarks is European Law. It comes from European legislation, Regulations and Directives. Those laws have been brought into UK law by the Trademark Act 1994, but that Act, at present, falls to be interpreted in accordance with the EU Law. Further (and this bit is important) at the moment, it’s possible to apply to get an EU Trademark (an EUTM) which is applied for centrally in Alicante, Spain, and, if granted, affords protection across the whole of the EU. So, at the moment, you don’t have to apply for a UK Trademark to have Trademark protection in the UK. You can apply for an EU Trademark instead. That’s obviously going to change with Brexit.
And as of this moment, nobody is entirely sure what’s going to happen when Article 50 is triggered, whenever that is, and how laws generally will be affected, and particularly laws that are regulated at and EU level, and where it’s possible to apply for EU Wide Protection.
Well the biggest concern is probably for those people/companies that EU Trademarks registered, but don’t have specifically UK Trademarks registered. The concern for those people is whether there EU Trademark will continue to be effective in the UK after Brexit happens.
Well, will it?
We don’t know, nobody does.
So you’re saying not to worry about it?
Not quite. We’re saying that the future is very uncertain, which means that you have some options, one of which is sitting back and doing nothing and seeing how this all plays out.
Sounds good, I’ll do that, thanks!
Woah Woah Woah, not so fast. That’s one option. It’s not necessarily the best one. Your best option would be to apply for a UK Trademark now to sit alongside your EU Trademark, so that regardless of what happens, you’ll have protection in the UK post-brexit.
Oh Right, sounds good, I’ll do that, thanks!
Woah Woah Woah, not so fast (again). Whether this is a necessary step for some or all of your trademarks very much depends on your circumstances. It might also depend on your trademark portfolio. It’s going to cost at least £170 in just outlay alone to register a trademark in the UK, so if you have a lot of trademarks, an econonic decision might have to be made about which ones to seek the added protection of a UK Trademark for.
Quite. It’s not exactly straight forward. There’s lots of permutations and combinations and other issues which may need to be considered. For example, there’s another issue that will affect a smaller minority of trademark owners, and that’s an issue regarding ‘genuine use’ of a trademark. In order for your trademark not to be open to cancellation and revocation, it has to be used. Another aspect of the law that is uncertain is whether use in the UK will be considered genuine use after Brexit, and probably vice versa for European marks in the UK. Also, a trademark is renewable as of right every 10 years (subject to its use), but again, it’s unclear whether at the expiry of the 10 years of an EU Trademark, whether the person who owned the EU trademark (and accordingly would have had protection in the UK under the EU Trademark and regime) will be entitled to a renewal as of right in the UK
Don’t worry. We got this. For a limited time we’re offering a Free Trademark Audit, where we’ll check what trademarks you have at EU and UK level and advise what we think you should do. It’s totally free (for now) and you can totally ignore what we say once you get that audit. There’s no commitment whatsoever.
Ok, but aren’t you in Ireland?
Oh yeah, about that. You’re wondering why you would hire someone in Ireland to register your UK Trademarks? Well, as we said, at the moment, the law is still the same European Law as is applicable in Ireland, and the rest of the EU. So any trademark agent (or competent and experienced legal professional) from any EU Member State is equally well qualified to both advise you, and submit the applications on your behalf. We regularly submit UK Trademark Applications for Irish, UK and International companies.
Have you got any advice in relation to Charlatans?
Assuming you don’t mean the band (Hey Country Boy anybody). Yes. Lots of people are going to try and set up a little business around Brexit and Law. According to Google search traffic for Brexit Trademark and Brexit law there were ZERO searches for either term in June 2015, and 1,560 in June 2016. It just goes to show you what can happen in a year.
If you’re not talking to us, make sure whoever you are talking to is a registered trademark agent or solicitor (or both) and not a charlatan. If someone is offering to register your EU Trademarks as UK trademarks at a price that’s way cheaper than the market rate, proceed with caution.
Where can I learn more?
Look at you, eager beaver. Well you can go straight to the source and find out what the UK government has said for a start. After that, be wary of ‘The Google’. There’s a huge amount of information out there, but also a large amount of misinformation. Nothing has been decided, and it’s that uncertainty that is causing people to be very concerned. Please don’t be fooled by anybody who tells you that if you don’t register a UK trademark now you’re in serious trouble…particularly if that person is offering to register it for you. Common sense people. Use it.