Brexit— the UK’s decision to leave the European Union— is unlikely to effect the intellectual property of energy storage companies, for now.
Companies holding European Patents on their technology will not have to change their strategy because the European Patent Convention that governs the granting of European Patents is not affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
Therefore, innovations by UK and EU based companies holding a European Patent will continue to have protection over the same territorial extent during the one-year withdrawal agreement and beyond.
Starting in 2021— after the UK’s deadline for a trade agreement— a new applicant will have to apply for trademarks in both the EU and the UK.
Ben Lincoln, a partner at European IP firm Potter Clarkson, explains the implications of Brexit on UK intellectual property rights.
He told BEST: “The appearance of a product was protectable in the UK and Europe using a European Community Design. Likewise, the branding of a company or product was protectable in the UK and Europe using an EU trademark.
“At the end of the withdrawal agreement, the European Community Design and the EU trademark will no longer cover the UK.
“Therefore new applicants will have to apply separately in the EU and the UK to achieve protection over the same territorial extent.
“For existing EU trademark and design right holders, the UK Intellectual Property Office will convert almost 1.4 million EU trademarks and 700,000 EU designs to comparable UK rights at the end of the transition period.
“These will come into effect on 1 January, 2021. Therefore, for existing rights holders, there will be the automatic creation of a UK right to make up for the reduction in the territorial extent of the EU right at the end of the withdrawal agreement. It is important to remember that those rights will need to be periodically renewed separately.
“Therefore, it will be business as usual for protecting inventions using the European patent system but there will be changes to EU based trademark and design protection. We will be happy to advise on any IP matters of concern.”