Monday, January 17, 2022 8:16 a.m.

According to data shared with AM City today.

Wait times for trademark applications reached three to four months in early 2021, compared with a typical wait of around a few weeks, lawyers at intellectual property law firm Mathys & Squire said.

Consequently, the huge increase in trademark applications since Brexit has forced the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – the government agency that manages trademarks, patents and design registrations – to recruit more 100 new employees to eliminate the backlog.

New regime

As of January 1, 2021, the UK is no longer part of the EU Trademark Regime, which means that any business wishing to register a trade mark or logo across Europe must now file a separate application in the UK.

Before January 1 last year, UK trademark holders could file a single EU trademark application and obtain 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 required.

The IPO has also been inundated with inquiries from overseas trademark holders to register with a UK trademark attorney and apply for service in the UK, which is now mandatory after the Brexit.

Lawyers for Mathys & Squire have pointed out that the UK’s exit from the EU trade mark regime is permanent, meaning the sharp rise in the number of applications represents the “new normal” rather than a spike in activity.

“The 2021 rush to trademark and appoint UK lawyers, fueled by Brexit, is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the UK.”

Gary Johnston, Partner and Co-Head of Trademarks at Mathys & Squire

“Companies around the world have been forced to spend far more time and money protecting their intellectual property separately in the UK,” said Gary Johnston, Partner and Co-Head of Trademarks at Mathys & Squire.

“British companies have had exactly the same problem with their European intellectual property. We have also been extremely busy submitting applications for UK businesses in Europe,” he continued.

“It is unlikely that this huge volume of deposits will disappear. Now that we have left the EU Trademark Regime, this is the level of activity we can expect in the future,” concluded Johnston.

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