UK trade mark attorney firms are concerned about the impact of Brexit on their business and some have already taken steps to mitigate potential risks.

The UK will cease to be a member of the EU in March 2019.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that many UK trade mark professionals prefer to see the UK remain in the EU or at least one of its internal structures such as the EEA or the Single Market. “I’ve not met a single trade mark person who was not a remain voter in the referendum,” says Carrollanne Lindley, a partner at Kilburn & Strode, in an article published by Managing IP.

Fear of losing right and business 
According to the article, the fear is that being outside any of the EU structures could lead to less filing and prosecution work. But no one knows the extent to which Brexit will affect trade mark and design practitioners. What is clear, however, is that one has to be a qualified legal practitioner in the EEA to represent clients before the EUIPO. Of the 65,000 representatives listed on the EUIPO register, just under 8,000 are UK nationals. Therefore, unless a positive agreement covering professional services is reached between the UK and the EU then these UK IP practitioners would lose their right of representation on Brexit day.

“We have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario, which is leaving the EU with no deal,” says John Wallace, managing partner of Boult Wade Tennant.

Planning for the worst-case scenario
Many are already weighing up their options, some have already taken action, rather than waiting on politicians to conclude Brexit negotiations. To be able to compete, if the UK ends up outside the EU structures, UK practitioners are looking at two main options: (a) qualify in one of the EU or EEA member states, or (b) establish a branch office in the EU.

There are a number of considerations, challenges to overcome, and hard decisions to make. Which countries (and cities) offer the best opportunities? What if English ceases to be one of the official languages of the EU and EUIPO post-Brexit? Time will tell.

As Matthew Dixon, partner at HGF, said: “Brexit is an inconvenience but we can turn it into opportunities.”

The full article is titled ‘How UK IP firms hope to survive Brexit’ and you can read it here (subscription required).

The following IP STARS-ranked firms are featured in the article:
Patent and trade mark attorney firms
Tomkins (ranked in Ireland)
Law firms (ranked for trade mark prosecution work)
IP STARS rankings for trade mark work
The UK, Germany and France are among the major European jurisdictions researched and featured in IP STARS. For the UK, we have separate trade mark filing and prosecution ranking tables for law firms and patent and trade mark attorney firms. The rankings factor in work done at national (i.e. at the UK IPO) and EU level. We provide analysis and market feedback on many of the ranked firms. See the leading firms in the UK for trade mark work in 2017 here.