UK votes to leave the EU

Friday 24 June 2016

Following the British referendum of 23 June 2016, the people of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. For now it is business as usual.  Over time, we will learn more about what the referendum means and how it affects IP rights.  However, there is a lot to negotiate and the indications are that it may be up to ten years before we have a clear picture.

Whatever the final position might be, please be assured that we will be able to continue offering our full range of IP services.


The European Patent Office is not an EU institution and so the current patent systems will be unaffected.

Patent protection in the UK will therefore continue to be achieved either directly or through the EPO.

Trade Marks and Designs

National registrations will be unaffected by the UK leaving the EU.  There will though be an inevitable change to EU Trade Marks and EU Designs that are administered by the EU IPO (formerly OHIM).

At some point in the next decade, the UK will formally leave the EU.  After this point, applications for new EU Trade Marks and EU Designs will no longer cover the UK.  Instead, applicants needing protection in the UK will need to file separate national applications.  We expect that continuity for existing EU Trade Mark and EU Design registrations in the UK will be maintained by some form of re-registration procedure.

We recommend making a decision as to when to file a UK national application alongside an EU Trade Mark or Design application once the full picture has emerged.  Since this could be a number of years yet, we recommend business as usual for the foreseeable future.

Appleyard Lees will be able to handle the re-registration of EU rights in the UK, the filing of UK national rights and, as we have offices in mainland Europe, will continue to be able to file and prosecute EU Trade Marks and Designs.

For further information on how this will affect you please contact Paul Misselbrook at, Tel: +44(0) 1422 330110.

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