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UK trade mark owners may lose the right to claim seniority on EU trade mark applications after Brexit
According to the European Commission and European Intellectual Property Office, the right to claim seniority based on an earlier UK trade mark when applying for an EU trade mark will be lost if no Brexit deal is reached.
Current rules on seniority permit UK applicants for an EU trade mark to ask for their EU trade mark to become effective from the earlier date of the UK trade mark, rather than the date of application. This allows applicants to defeat marks registered later than their national registration but earlier than their EU trade mark application.
Without the right to claim seniority UK trade mark owners could be prevented from acquiring an EU trade mark if a later trade mark is already registered anywhere in the EU, even if their UK trade mark was registered first.
Seniority also permits administrative and cost savings because national registrations can then be allowed to lapse and EU trade mark take their place. Those cost savings will be lost to UK businesses, making managing their intellectual property more difficult.
Businesses with only EU trade marks should consider applying for a UK trade mark now. Businesses with UK trade marks which may need EU wide trade mark protection should also consider applying for an EU trade mark now.
If you need any advice regarding a matter like this, please do not hesitate to speak with our experienced team of intellectual property solicitors.