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Everything you
need to know about Brexit and how it affects your IP

The UK withdrew from the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020 and the transitional period expired on 31 December 2020. 

Brexit had no effect on patents. The European Patent Convention (EPC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) are not instruments of the European Union. The UK remains a full member of the EPC. 

European Union Trade Mark (EUTM), Registered Community Design (RCD) and Plant Variety Right (PVR) systems no longer have territorial scope over the UK. In order to obtain protection in the UK, a separate UK Trade Mark/Design/PVR application will need to be filed in the UK. Our trade marks and designs team are able to assist with filing and prosecuting both UK and EU Trade Mark and Design rights, and we also remain able to file both UK and EU PVRs.

A Supplementary Protection Certificate (SPC) is a national right. When the UK was an EU member state, UK SPCs were governed by EU law. At the end of the transition period all EU law relating to SPCs was retained in UK law. For applicants, Brexit had little effect on SPCs.

The withdrawal agreement the UK government and the EU reached resulted in the automatic generation of comparable UK registrations of EUTMs and PVRs and Re-registered designs of RCDs, ensuring continuous protection for rights owners.

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