Brexit & designs

The impact of Brexit on designs

UK national design rights will be unaffected by the UK exit from the EU.

EU designs, which currently cover the UK, will remain in place but with the UK right being separate from 1 January 2021.

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Brexit & designs

On 1 January 2021, the UK IPO created a re-registered design for every Registered Community design (RCD). Each of these rights will:

  • be recorded on the UK designs register
  • have the same legal status as if you had applied for and registered it under UK law
  • keep the original RCD filing date
  • keep the original priority date
  • be a fully independent UK design that can be challenged, assigned, licensed or renewed separately from the original RCD

Businesses, organisations or individuals that have applications for RCDs which are either not registered or have deferred publication at the end of the transition period, will have a period of nine months to apply in the UK for the same protection. In this case UK application fees will be payable, and the application will be subject to UK examination requirements.

HGF can manage all aspects of this process for you.


Unregistered design rights


Unregistered community designs that arise before the end of the transition period will continue to be protected in the UK for the remainder of their three year term through continuing unregistered designs.

From 1 January 2021, a supplementary unregistered design (SUD) will become available in UK law.

The SUD will provide similar protection to that conferred by the unregistered Community design, but for the UK only.

The SUD will be established by first disclosure in the UK or another qualifying country. First disclosure in the EU will not establish a SUD right. It could destroy the novelty of the design should you later seek to establish UK unregistered rights.

Business will need to consider carefully where to disclose their products to ensure they have adequate protection in their most important market.

With offices in 6 European countries, HGF is ideally placed to assist clients continue to handle all EU and national trade mark, design and other intellectual property matters where we operate in Europe, as we do now. We will continue to be your trusted advisors and representatives throughout Europe.

UKIPO guidance on changes to unregistered designs after Brexit.

If you have any questions or concerns about design rights post Brexit, or would like further advice on this matter, please contact your usual HGF attorney.

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If you would like to discuss how HGF could help you, contact one of our specialists.