UK votes to leave the European Union

In a national referendum the UK has voted to leave the European Union (EU).

So what happens next?

Well, for the moment, very little. The UK remains a full member of the EU. It will take some time (probably a number of years) before the implications of the vote take effect.

What effect will this have on my existing IP?

There will be no change to UK national IP rights.

There will also be no change to European patents and patent applications. These are governed by the European Patent Convention which is an international treaty separate from the European Union. The UK has no plans to leave the European Patent Convention.

EU registered trade marks and designs will remain in force in the UK until such time as new provisions are put in place to provide corresponding protection in the UK under UK national legislation.  

UK businesses will continue to have access to EU and all other foreign IP rights.

What should we be doing for now?

No special action is required to maintain existing IP rights in the EU or UK.

New filing strategies should take account of likely future developments, for example by seeking UK national trade marks and design protection alongside any EU protection.

How does this effect Wilson Gunn’s ability to act in continental European matters?

There is no effect. Wilson Gunn will continue to provide advice and support in relation to IP rights in the UK and throughout the EU, and continue to represent clients before both the EPO and EUIPO.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding your IP position as a result of the UK referendum decision please contact your usual Wilson Gunn attorney.


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