The filing of an EU trade mark has up to now been the most cost-effective and simplest way to secure coverage for your trade mark in the UK and throughout the rest of the EU. For example, for €900 in official fees you can get coverage for 2 trademark classes in all 28 EU countries. However, post-Brexit things will change: an EU trademark will no longer cover the UK.
The good news is that if you have an existing EU mark that is registered prior to Brexit you will receive a separate UK trade mark “for free”, called a “comparable trade mark”. But on renewal – which is 10 years from the original filing date of the EU trade mark application – you will need to pay a separate renewal fee (currently £170 in official fees for one trade mark class) to cover the UK mark.
However, if you file an EU trade mark application pre-Brexit but the registration occurs after Brexit, you will need to apply (and pay official fees) separately in the UK to be covered here too.
It is also important to note that if you are a company that primarily markets and sells goods and/or services in the UK under your EU trade mark, then pre-Brexit your use of the mark in the UK would be considered use in the EU. However, post Brexit, use of the trade mark only in the UK will no longer be considered use in the EU, so your EU trade mark will need to be actively marketed and sold into at least one of the remaining 27 EU countries – and preferably more than one. The rules on this are complex, but generally if you are marketing to one EU country with an intention to expand into other EU countries, you should have sufficient “genuine use” of the mark in the EU.
If you’re thinking of filing a trade mark and want some advice or you want to discuss the status of your current trade mark please get in touch with us today.