A trademark is an intellectual property right which exists largely within the commercial world. Trademarks are usually extremely distinct and are instantly recognised by the public eye, such as ‘Apple’ and ‘Starbucks’, etc., These marks can be in the form of shapes, designs, catchphrases, slogans, logos, etc., Registrability is at the heart of trademark law.
Are you a business or individual who wants to register a trademark? Are you looking to register the mark internationally? Are you confused about the impact that Brexit has had on this area of law? In this article we will cover this and more by addressing the following issues:
1. The impact of Brexit on the registration of trademarks.
2. Do trademarks apply internationally?
3. What does this mean for you?
It is crucial that you are always aware of your intellectual property rights, as well as how these rights can be protected internationally.
The Impact of Brexit
Pre-Brexit, someone in the United Kingdom (UK) was able to apply for a European Union trademark through their national Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and thereby have their mark registered in each 28 member states. However, following the Withdrawal Agreement on 1 January 2020 when the UK departed from the EU, the EU and UK systems are now fully separate, and the UK is no longer integrated within the internal market of the EU.
Do Trademarks Apply Internationally?
As the EU system of trademarks is no longer applicable, it is essential to consider other avenues of exploitation of trademarks. For instance, the Madrid Agreement and Protocol allows for one application to be submitted to the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) to ensure trademark protection in up to 124 countries, subject to the specific country being a party to the Madrid Agreement.
Under the Madrid Agreement, you must first register your mark in your home country’s IPO since a basic mark is required before you apply for an international registration. Thereafter, you must complete an ‘MM2’ form and pay the applicable fees:
· A basic fee for the application (currently £40)
· A fee for each country of registration
· A fee for each additional class that you require.
Once this has been submitted, your mark will be scrutinised and examined by the WIPO to ensure that it meets the requirement of registrability in each contracting state. Once this has been approved, your mark will be registered internationally.
What does this mean for you?
Many businesses and individuals have had to adjust to this new and unfamiliar* route of international registration due to the revocation of EU applications. It would therefore be advantageous to consider the Madrid Protocol when registering a mark in multiple, international jurisdictions. This avenue is less demanding, slightly less time-consuming, and more cost-effective than individually registering your mark in separate countries.
How Can Pure Business Law Help?
If you are a business or an individual looking to register your trademark internationally, please contact us and book a consultation with one of our expert Business and Commercial Law Solicitors. We are specialist Intellectual Property Solicitors based in Bedford and operate nationally.
Our highly experienced Business and Commercial Solicitors can advise you on the international registration of your trademark, and any other Intellectual Property concerns that you may have.
If you would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please contact us, and speak with one of our solicitors. Pure Business Law is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is a licensed member of the Law Society of England and Wales.