Protecting Intellectual Property post Brexit

Businesses that own IP rights, trademarks, patents, designs or copyrights should seek legal advice NOW

Whether or not there is a deal on Brexit before the 31st December 2020 you should be aware of the effect of Brexit on your IP rights.  In particular, action may be required in relation to any registered or pending European Union Trade Marks (“EUTMs”) and Registered EU Designs (“RCDs”).

1.       If you have made an application for an EUTM or RCD which is still pending as of 31st December 2020, you must file a separate national UK application if you want your trade mark or design to be protected in the UK.  Provided the comparable UK application is filed by 30 September 2021 the resulting registration will be effective from the date of the original ETUM or RCD application.

2.       Registered EUTMs and RCDs will be automatically cloned into national UK trade mark or design registrations.  It will eventually be necessary to appoint a UK address for service for national UK IP rights and so consideration should be given as to whether to appoint a UK trade mark attorney firm to represent you in relation to any national IP rights.

3.       Any national UK trade mark rights which stem from an EUTM registration, must be renewed separately.  This means that even if you have renewed an EUTM registration early, if the renewal falls after 31 December 2020, you must also renew the UK registration.

4.       Unregistered community design rights will continue to be protected and enforceable in the UK for the remainder of their 3-year term.   The UK government will introduce equivalent protection in the UK through the new Supplementary Unregistered (SUD) Right.

5.       You need to consider all agreements that mention an EUTM.



As the European Patent Office is not an EU agency, leaving the EU does not affect the current European patent system. Existing European patents covering the UK are also unaffected.

European patent attorneys based in the UK continue to be able to represent applicants before the EPO.


Most UK copyright works, books, films and music, will still be protected in the EU and the UK.  This is because the UK has a continued participation in the international treaties on copyright.


Help & Advice

TBC has access to all the expertise that you need. We work with Keltie LLP who are a premier firm of trademark and patent attorneys.

Rosemary Cardas of Keltie will be able to tell you about a range of fee concessions for Brexit related work set out above.

All Intellectual Property matters are dealt with by the Intellectual Property Office and you can find  guidance at

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