29 March 2017

Article 50 finally triggered – is your intellectual property safe? In a word…yes!

IP implications of the UK leaving the EU

It is important to note that Mathys & Squire’s ability to represent its clients in the UK or in Europe will not be affected during, or after the Article 50 negotiating period. As a firm, we remain a European business with offices in the UK, Germany and France and we will take all necessary steps to ensure that the services that we provide in respect of EU Trade Marks and Registered Designs remain unaffected.

Wednesday 29 March, the UK delivered to the European Council notice under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty of its intention to with draw from the EU.

What does this mean for IP?

EP Patents

Leaving the EU will not affect the UK’s relationship with the European Patent Office (EPO).
The EPO is governed by the European Patent Convention (EPC) and is not an EU institution. There are already several non-EU member states that are members of the EPC, including Switzerland, Norway and Turkey.

The UK will therefore remain a member of the EPC, regardless of its departure from the EU, and patent protection in the UK will still be available by filing a European patent application at the EPO. Our European Patent Attorneys will continue to be able to file and prosecute European patent applications, and handle EPO oppositions and appeals on behalf of all our clients.

EU Trade Marks and Registered Designs

Although the UK’s exit from the EU will have an impact on EU Trade Marks and Registered Designs, the ramifications are not immediately clear. For now, however, the UK is still a Member State of the EU, and all the legislation that gives effect to EU law is still in place and this will remain the case throughout the negotiating period.

Nothing as a matter of law has changed as a result of Article 50 being triggered. Instead, it marks the beginning of the negotiation period with the EU.

In the immediate future, there are unlikely to be any changes to existing rights or to new applications for EU Trade Marks and Registered Designs. However, we will monitor the situation and provide updates as and when we know more.

We will continue to report on any developments, however if you have any questions or concerns please contact your usual Attorney at Mathys & Squire for more information.

To read more on this topic please visit our Brexit hub.