Exclusive: Advice as Britain’s divorce from the EU looms

Published on: 12th October 2020

Victor Caddy, partner at Wynne-Jones IP, looks at how Brexit will affect the global toy industry, and the steps businesses need to take to protect themselves, both before and after the changes take place.

Victor Caddy

Victor reminds us that, with so much happening in the world this year, we may have forgotten that the UK has actually left the EU. Although, so far, nothing much has changed, we have been living through the divorce nisi (otherwise known as the Transition Period). But this will end on 31st December 2020. Once the divorce becomes final, there will be effects on intellectual property rights, particularly trademarks and designs, as well as on  licence agreements. Many of the changes will affect the global toy industry, and everyone will be affected in some way.

For those with existing rights, the UK IPO has taken the view that these should be respected, so EU trademark and design registrations as of December 31st, 2020 will be cloned automatically into equivalent national UK registrations, at no cost. Victor recommends thinking of it like getting our share of the CD collection...

However, for EU trademark and design applications that are pending on December 31st, 2020, the UK IPO’s view is that these are not yet rights – they are applications for rights. Therefore, clones in the form of UK national rights will not be created. Instead, applicants will have an opportunity to file corresponding UK applications and backdate them to the filing dates or priority dates of the corresponding EU applications. With just nine months to do this, we are advised to think of this as remebering to copy as the streamed tracks on our ex-partner’s iPad...

From 1st January, UK attorneys in general will lose the right to handle cases before the EU IPO (although they will be allowed to see pending cases through to a conclusion). However, the team at Wynne-Jones is also part of a European block of IP law firms, which means it is able to handle both EU and UK cases in the future.

With further advice regarding licences (and, in the case of trademarks, co-existence agreements) and territory, and ambiguity about whether or not a contract continues to cover the UK after December 31st, plus details of how to get in touch with the Wynne-Jones team for further support, Victor's full column, which appeared in the October edition of Toy World, can be read here.



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