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The UK has voted to leave the EU

Following a national referendum, the people of the UK have voted to leave the EU (Brexit). Although the result of the referendum is not binding on the UK parliament, it is clear that the UK government will begin negotiations as soon as possible to leave EU. These negotiations will take a minimum of 2 years, but are likely to last much longer. In the meantime, the UK is still a member of the EU and will remain so for the next few years while negotiations take place.

In summary, this will not affect the services we provide. However, we would like to explain the possible effects on each type of European intellectual property.



The EPO is not an EU organisation. As such, Brexit has no effect on the UK’s membership of the EPO.  UK-based patent attorneys will continue to be able to file and prosecute European patent applications without any change. This includes the ability to handle opposition proceedings. Thus, our day-to-day work and capabilities will be entirely unaffected.

One likely future consequence of the UK leaving the EU is that the introduction of the unitary patent (UP) and unified patent court (UPC) will be postponed and may be cancelled entirely. The UP and UPC will not be able to come into force until the UK leaves the EU unless the existing agreements are significantly revised.

It is important to recognise that UK-based European patent attorneys will be able to represent their clients at the UPC – this will not be affected by the UK leaving the EU. This means that even if the UPC does come into force at some future date, we would be able to offer the same services that we would have done if the UK had voted to remain in the EU.

In summary, Brexit will not affect the capabilities of UK-based patent attorneys and how we can assist our patent clients.


Trade Marks & Designs

When the UK leaves the EU, it will no longer be possible to obtain protection the UK by filing an EU trade mark or design application. Instead, it will be necessary to file a UK application in addition to any EU application.

It is highly likely that transitional provisions will be put in place to ensure that all existing EU trade mark and design registrations, and rights under EU unregistered design right, continue to have effect in the UK. However, separate renewal fees are likely to become payable.

Whatever new arrangements are negotiated by the UK Government, as a firm we will ensure that we can continue to represent our clients before EUIPO in the same way as we do currently, including filing EU registered designs and trade marks. We will also keep our clients updated on transitional provisions for existing EU trade mark and design rights as they are put in place, to ensure that our clients’ rights remain in force in the UK under the new arrangements.

We will be sure to keep our clients informed of further developments. If you have any questions on Brexit and the likely effects on your business, please contact Andy Cloughley at















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