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18 February 2020
On 31 January 2020 the United Kingdom left the European Union under the terms of the now ratified UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement.
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has published a short, reassuring update about what happens to IP rights during the transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020.
The UKIPO has assured that the transition period will be business as usual, the UK IP system continuing without disruption or change. The UKIPO will convert almost 1.4 million EU trademarks to UK trademarks at the end of the transition period. These will come into effect on 1 January 2021.
Key points for franchisors to note are as follows:
If a franchisor with UK trademarks and EU trademarks currently uses a UK-only representative, from 1 January 2021 that representative's account with the EU Intellectual Property Office will be frozen and they will not be able to represent the franchisor in respect of the EU trademark. The same is true in respect of EU-registered representatives with no presence in the United Kingdom. One solution is to have different representatives or have the principal representative appoint a sub-representative in the relevant market. However, the most practical solution is to have a representative which has a direct presence in both the United Kingdom and the European Union as it stands on 1 January 2021.
The UKIPO's note also looks at registered designs and considers the position of all other IP rights, including:
This latest publication from the UKIPO does not change what was previously understood to be the situation if the United Kingdom left the European Union with a deal, but it is nevertheless helpful as confirmation of the position and the timetable ahead.
For further information on this topic please contact Gordon Drakes at Fieldfisher LLP by telephone (+44 20 7861 4000) or email (email@example.com). The Fieldfisher LLP website can be accessed at www.fieldfisher.com.
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