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Blog 24 Jun 2016

Brexit: consequences for trademark registrations in the EU

The United Kingdom has voted for a Brexit. This exit of the UK from the European Union will have important consequences for trademark and design registrations and rights in the European Union and Britain.

EU registrations and Brexit

As a member state of the European Union, the UK forms a part of the territory in which EU trademarks and designs enjoy protection. With the exit of the UK, this territory will be limited; European registrations may lose their protection in the UK.


At this point, there are a lot of uncertainties about the exact consequences of the Brexit in a trademark and design context. The future of EU trademarks and designs depends on the following negotiations which should lead to the Brexit. It is possible that there will be some sort of transitional arrangement, allowing right holders to continue their rights in the UK, for example by way of a transformation into British national registrations.

After the Brexit has become definitive, trademarks and design can only be registered in the UK by way of a national registration. As the UK is a member state with the Madrid Protocol, a national registration can also be obtained through the international system. A design registration can only be done through the national route, as the UK is not part of the The Hague Agreement, concerning international registrations of designs.

Next steps

The outcome of the Brexit referendum does not lead to a direct withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. At its earliest, the Brexit will take place in June 2018. Until the definitive Brexit, the UK will remain an EU member state, meaning that European registrations will remain in force in the UK. 

NLO Shieldmark manages thousands of European trademark and design registrations for its clients. We will therefore closely monitor the situation and keep you informed on any developments as they arise.

In case you have any questions, please feel free to contact your NLO Shieldmark attorney.