News article

Brexit: Changes to design and trade mark law after Brexit

20 September 2019

This guidance is no longer current. It told you how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. After 31 January 2020 there will be a transition period until the end of 2020, while the UK and EU negotiate additional arrangements. For current information on trade marks, designs, patents, copyright, and exhaustion of IP rights during the transition period, see Brexit: Intellectual property and the transition period.

The government has updated its guidance on registered design, design rights and international design and trade marks, setting out the changes that will be made to UK law in the event of no deal.

This guidance complements previous publication offering information on the changes relating to the European Union trade marks (EUTMs).

What changes after no-deal Brexit?
In the event of Brexit without a withdrawal agreement, the following will no longer provide protection in the UK:

  • existing registered EU community designs (RCDs)
  • EU unregistered community designs (UCDs)
  • EUTMs
  • international design and trade mark registrations designating the EU

As a result, existing legislation must be amended to ensure that UK protection granted by these rights is preserved and that the UK law can continue to function effectively.

The government has introduced The Designs and International Trade Marks (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 under the powers contained in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. These regulations should be considered in conjunction with The Trade Marks (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018.

How does this affect businesses?
UK businesses will still be able to obtain registered design protection in the remaining 27 Member States of the EU through an application to the EUIPO. Businesses from the EU and worldwide will still be able to apply for a UK registered design through the IPO.

Designers will also still be able to establish unregistered design protection in both the EU and the UK (separately).

Businesses may also continue to use the International route for protection following the UK's ratification of the Hague Agreement for the international registration of industrial designs and the Madrid Protocol for trade marks.

For more information, see full guidance on the changes to registered design, design right and international design and trade mark law if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.