05 December 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Brexit could cause major financial impact to UK trademark business

UK-based trademark lawyers could lose as much as £17 million a year as a direct result of Brexit.

The figure comes from a report on Brexit by the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA), which revealed that the financial impact could be severe if UK trademark attorneys lose their rights to represent clients at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

CITMA has called for the UK government to ensure that the country remains a member of the European Economic Area, to ensure that there is no loss of rights of representation at the EUIPO.

Failing that, the UK government should ensure that Chartered Trademark Attorneys must be able to represent their existing and future clients at the EUIPO through a bilateral agreement.

According to CITMA, Chartered Trademark Attorneys handle nearly 25 percent of all EU Trademarks (EUTMs), the largest chunk in the EU and more than its counterparts in Germany, Spain and Italy combined.

Kate O’Rourke, president of CITMA, commented: “Trademark intensive industries contribute £650 billion to the UK’s gross domestic product every year.”

“It is the protection of these valuable intellectual property rights by UK Chartered Trademark Attorneys that allows for the exploitation of trademark and design rights by UK business internationally.”

She added: “It is not only important to Chartered Trademark Attorneys, but to all businesses and organisations which own and utilise trademarks and designs, that acceptable and timely solutions are found on the issues of rights of representation before the EUIPO and what happens to existing EU registered rights.

“Our key message to the government is an urgent need for clarity, as we are already seeing an impact on our profession and business.”

O’Rourke concluded: “The potential loss of rights of representation for Chartered Trademark Attorneys before the EUIPO has huge risks for businesses in the UK. These rights are also valuable to facilitate our vital international commercial and legal relationships with major economies, including the US and China, that the government is rightly seeking to encourage.”

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