UK Referendum Decision to Leave the EU – Business as Usual

On 23 June 2016, the people of the UK voted to leave the European Union. Crucially, as far as Dolleymores clients are concerned, it is very much business as usual.

Key points to note are as follows:

• No IP rights will be lost.
• Nothing will change in the immediate future.
• UK national IP rights will be unaffected.
• The European patent system will be unaffected.
• Dolleymores will continue to represent its clients in IP matters throughout Europe, no matter what the outcome of exit negotiations.

It is not known exactly when the UK will leave the EU. It is likely to take about two years from the time that the UK formally notifies the EU of its intention to leave. Accordingly, no changes will be implemented for some time from now.

When the UK does leave the EU, no IP rights will be lost. UK national IP rights will be unaffected. EU trade mark and design registrations may cease to have effect in the UK, however, in such case transitional measures will be put in place to maintain protection in the UK.

Dolleymores will take steps, as appropriate, to ensure we continue to act for clients in all IP matters across Europe, as we do presently.


The vote to leave the EU will not affect the UK’s relationship with the European Patent Office (EPO) or with the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) since these organisations are not EU institutions. The UK will remain a full member state of the EPC. It is still and always will be possible to file European patent applications designating the UK and for Dolleymores to fully represent clients in all matters before the EPO.

Trade Marks and Designs

The Dolleymores team continues to be able to represent clients before the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) and to deal with matters before EU courts. Nothing has changed and there is no need to take any immediate action.

Both the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (the professional bodies representing trade mark attorneys and patent attorneys in the UK) will be working with the UK Government and the UK IPO to influence negotiations to ensure the best possible outcome for EU trade mark and EU design registration proprietors, including the right of UK attorneys to be able to continue to represent clients before EUIPO once the exit has been completed.

There will be transitional provisions put in place so that existing EU trade mark and design registrations continue to have protection in the UK post-exit. At present no-one knows what these will be but, as UK attorneys, we are uniquely placed to guide EU trade mark and design owners through this.

International trade mark and design applications will remain unaffected.

European Expertise

The team at Dolleymores remain perfectly placed to assist clients with all IP matters across Europe. This will not change. Dolleymores will take action, as appropriate, to continue to act for clients before the EUIPO post-exit.

The Dolleymores team will work hard to make the effects of the UK exit from the EU as straightforward and cost-effective as possible for our clients; and will provide suitable UK/EU protection strategies moving forward.

Regular updates surrounding the impact of the UK exit from the EU will be issued as exit negotiations proceed.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above information then please contact us.