31st January 2021 by

By Samantha Oakley , Commercial Lawyer


Since the 1st January 2021 and the UK’s departure from the European Union the position on protecting your intellectual property (IP) rights has changed.  Here is a summary of some of the main changes that may affect you.


The good news is that copyright is mostly covered by international treaties and so remains largely unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

This may change in the near future as EU states implement the new Copyright Directive and they are also planning stricter controls for digital content services – we will keep you up to date with any significant changes.

Database Rights

These are no longer in force, however, they will continue to be protected by copyright.

Trade Marks and Designs

If you have a registered trade mark in the EU (EUTM) prior to the 1st January 2021 then you will be granted a comparable trade mark in the UK.  If your trade mark was in the application phase then certain registration requirements and fees will apply and you have nine months in which to make an application.

The same principle applies for Registered Community Designs.

The rules around Geographical Indicators (a designation that a product is from a specific area e.g. Scotch Whisky or Stilton Cheese) have changed so please speak to our team if you need more information on how this affects you.


Existing European Patents covering the UK are not affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the process for applying for a European Patent in future will remain unaffected.

Conformity Markings

If you manufacture goods you should be familiar with CE marks. Although not strictly an IP right it is worth noting here that CE marks have been replaced with UKCA marks for manufactured goods placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).  The UKNI is the equivalent for manufactured goods placed on the market in Northern Ireland.

If you are placing manufactured goods on the market you still need to have the CE mark.

If you have any questions about how the UK’s exit from the EU affects your business please contact our team and we will be happy to help.