The result of the UK referendum on 23 June 2016 took the world by shock. However, in spite of all the headlines, the UK remains part of the European Union. There is still no official timetable for Brexit, but it is anticipated that the UK government will initiate the formal exit process in 2017, leading to a split two years later in 2019.
One consequence of Brexit will be felt by users of registered Community Designs (RCDs), which currently provide design protection throughout the European Union. When the UK finally leaves the European Union we anticipate that a new legal mechanism will be introduced to extend protection of RCDs to the UK. There is significant uncertainty over what form this legal mechanism will take, how it will be activated by design owners, and whether it will involve any costs. Although nothing is certain, our expectation is that some active step will be required by design owners, leading to a burden in administering re-registrations and, inevitably, costs.
To avoid any post-Brexit uncertainty when it comes to registered designs, we recommend that new applications are filed in parallel in the UK and Europe. We believe that the cost of filing new UK applications is likely to be far outweighed by the peace of mind of having registered protection in the UK now, instead of waiting for the uncertainty of Brexit to play out over the coming months and years.
Of course, the protection afforded by a UK registered design will be unaffected by Brexit. Therefore, the owners of UK registered designs will not need to rely on the anticipated legal mechanism for converting RCDs, and will be relieved of any burden for monitoring re-registration deadlines.
We have developed a discounted dual RCD and UK registered design filing package and will be happy to provide details on request.
We remain on hand to advise our clients on all aspects of design strategy and protection in both the UK and EU. Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about Brexit or our discounted dual filing package.