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Brexit: transition period and the mirror mechanism


On the 31st January, the Withdrawal Agreement (commonly known as Brexit) between the United Kingdom and the European Union was ratified and a press release was issued on one of the most important European issues: intellectual property.

The press release deals with the various intellectual property rights, and their changes after the transition period (which will extend until 31 December 2020), including:

  • Patents: the system will not be affected as the European Patent Office is not an agency of the European Union, but of the European geographical area: existing EU patents with protection in the UK will remain so;
  • Trademarks, after the end of the transitional period, the UK Intellectual Property Office will set up a mirror mechanism in which the UK will create trademarks equivalent to all EU registered trademarks (registration will be automatic and at no additional cost to the applicant). In addition, trademarks will have the same legal status in the United Kingdom as European trademarks and will retain the original application date of the European trademark;
  • The same applies to registered Community designs;
  • As far as unregistered designs are concerned, after the transitional period, designs disclosed in the United Kingdom may be protected in the United Kingdom by the additional unregistered design, which will protect two-dimensional and three-dimensional designs for three years.
  • Finally, copyright has not been reviewed in this context as it is regulated in several international treaties and will remain so despite the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Maria Francisca Gama | 

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Maria Francisca Gama