By now, you have undoubted heard about the United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union in a historic Referendum vote that took place in June 23, 2016. Immediately after the results came in, stock market plummeted, thousands of British expats around the EU are worried about their work authorization and benefits, and millions of businesses around the world worry about the future of doing business with an independent United Kingdom.
Although the United Kingdom is not one of the United States' major trading partners, many Americans do maintain business relations with the United Kingdom to some extent. For example, the United Kingdom is market to a lot of American and Asian goods. The United Kingdom's divorce from the European Union could mean that the businesses from countries around the world would now have to operate under new trade deals and laws negotiated among their countries and the United Kingdom separately. As such, the 'Brexit' decision will have ramifications across vast different sectors of our society and the economy in various ways. One of such ways is intellectual property rights.
Before June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom, as part of the European Union, operated under the same intellectual property rights as the rest of the countries of the European Union. That is to say, businesses could apply for trademarks for their businesses with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. The office covers all 28 countries within the European Union and will issue and protect trademarks that are recognized and enforced across the European Union.
In order to secure trademark protection in the UK, businesses will have to go through the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office and potentially miss out on Europe-wide protection. Filing for trademark applications in the EU AND the UK will prove to be costly for many businesses and individuals. While nothing has been affected yet, moving forward, it is expected that transitional measures will be put in place to shift existing marks under EU protection to include UK protection as well.
Businesses and individuals apply to the European Patent Office to obtain patents that will be recognized and enforced across Europe.
People doing business in the UK might have to apply within the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office in order to apply for a patent that would be recognized in the UK. While nothing has been affected yet, moving forward, it is expected that transitional measures will be put in place to shift existing marks under EU protection to include UK protection as well.
While the official decision to start negotiation for the UK to exit from the EU has not been made, it is safe to say that businesses and individuals alike are starting to be impacted by the possible ramifications of such a historic decision. It is more important now than ever to make sure that your business and your brand enjoy the same intellectual property protection that you have come to expect. If you have any questions or concerns navigating through the changes post "Brexit" in Europe and the UK, contact our team of experienced intellectual property attorneys at Wang IP Law Group, P.C. for a consultation. Our trademark and patent attorneys are experienced in working with the World Intellectual Property Office and its branch offices in different regions and will be sure to offer the business and legal advice that your business needs.