Brexit: intellectual property

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If you design and make something new, you can protect your creation with intellectual property rights. Examples are patent rights, trademark rights and copyrights. After Brexit, the rules for patents remain the same. Also, EU trademarks registered or granted in the EU before 1 January 2021 will remain protected in the UK. But this does not apply to EU trademarks registered or granted after 1 January 2021.

This information is based on the agreement between the EU and the UK.

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EU trademarks

Brexit does affect IP rights of your product or service in the UK. For existing EU trademarks, an equivalent UK trademark will be created; for pending and new IP rights applications, the situation has changed. Check our article on IP rights to find out more.

Q&A about the Brexit

There is an extensive Q&A about the Brexit Trade Agreement available on the website of the European Commission. It explains what the new rules mean for different sectors, such as trade in goods, fisheries and road transport. There are nine chapters in total and you can search per sector. At the top you can choose your language. You can find answers to questions such as: What was agreed to facilitate trade in automotive? How does the Agreement contribute to trade and sustainable development? Will air carriers still have the same rights to operate between and within the EU and the UK? Note that this Q&A was published in December 2020 and therefore speaks of a draft agreement.

Four questions about patents and Brexit

  1. Is it possible to apply for a patent in the UK after Brexit?

    Yes, that is possible. Brexit has not changed this. This is because the UK is a member of the European Patent Convention, which is separate from the EU. The European Patent Convention is also endorsed by non-EU members.
  2. Is my current patent still valid in the UK?

    Yes, the patent has remained valid in the UK. Brexit has not changed that. The route to applying for patents in the UK also remains the same. And when an infringement occurs, you can take exactly the same steps you would have before Brexit.
  3. What about Brexit and the European Patent Convention?

    Brexit does not mean the UK also leaves the European Patent Convention. This is a convention of the European Patent Office, and it is separate from the European Union. Non-member states can be members of the European Patent Convention, such as Switzerland and Turkey. So, the departure of the UK from the EU does not affect its affiliation with the European Patent Convention.
  4. Who can I contact with questions about patents in the UK?

    You can contact your own patent attorney for this. If you do not have one, the experts from the Netherlands Patent Office are also at your service. You can contact them with questions, for example about how to apply for a patent and which steps are involved. Their advice is confidential, which means that your patent rights are not endangered.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

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