Having now digested the news that the referendum here has decided that the UK should leave the European Union we’re being asked where does this leave UK-based European Patent Attorneys? The simple answer is that it changes nothing, now or when the UK finally leaves the EU, which could be in two years or more from now.
The European Patent Office is not an EU institution. The member states of the European Patent Convention (EPC) are not all EU members – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Turkey, Monaco, Iceland, Norway, the Republic of Macedonia, San Marino, Albania and Serbia are members of the EPO but are not members of the EU. The UK’s membership of the EPC will continue unchanged when the UK eventually leaves the EU.
We will therefore continue to be a European Patent Attorney with a right to appear before the EPO, and this firm will continue to be able to handle all stages of European Patent Applications for you on behalf of your clients; nothing will change.
However The position on trademarks is still somewhat uncertain. At present, as a member of the EU, EU trademark and designs registrations cover the UK. After we leave the EU, it may well be that the UK will no longer be covered, so while we can file EU applications on behalf of UK applicants separate cover could be needed.
There may also be delays to applications to the Unified European Patent Court but currently it’s very much an unknown, there will be a lot of questions as we move forward but we would like to reassure all of our clients that your rights will be preserved and that we will be looking after you.
We will update our website with new changes as and when we are aware of them but should you require information in the mean time please do not hesitate to contact us.