Brexit has triggered a record number of applications for trade marks in the UK, with 195,000 registered in the past year, up 54 per cent from 127,000 the year before, according to data shared with City A.M. today.
Waiting times for trade mark applications reached three to four months in the early part of 2021, up from the usual wait of around a couple of weeks, lawyers from intellectual property law firm Mathys & Squire saod.
Therefore, the huge surge in trade mark applications since Brexit has forced the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – the Government agency that handles trade marks, patents and design registrations – to recruit more than 100 new staff to clear the backlog.
Since 1 January 2021, the UK is no longer part of the European trade mark regime, meaning that any business looking to trade mark a brand or logo across Europe now has to make a separate application in the UK.
Prior to 1 January of last year, UK trade mark owners could file a single EU trade mark application and secure pan-European protection. Since the end of the Brexit transition period, two separate applications (one for the UK and one for the EU) have been necessary.
The IPO has also been inundated by applications from overseas trade mark holders to register with a UK trade mark attorney and address for service in the UK, which is now required post-Brexit.
The lawyers at Mathys & Squire pointed out that the UK’s departure from the European trade mark regime is permanent, meaning that the sharply increased number of applications represents the ‘new normal’ rather than a spike in activity.
“The Brexit-fuelled rush to file trade marks and appoint UK attorneys in 2021 has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the UK.”Gary Johnston, Partner and Co-Head of Trade Marks at Mathys & Squire
“Businesses from around the world have been forced to spend much more time and money on protecting their intellectual property separately in the UK,” said Gary Johnston, Partner and Co-Head of Trade Marks at Mathys & Squire.
“UK businesses have had exactly the same problem with their European IP. We’ve been tremendously busy filing applications for UK businesses in Europe too,” he continued.
“This huge volume of filings is unlikely to go away. Now we have left the European trade mark regime, this is the level of activity we can expect in the future,” Johnston concluded.