Although the United Kingdom (UK) government has confirmed that European Union (EU) trade marks registered prior to Brexit will continue to be protected in the UK post-Brexit, there is no proposed process under which pending applications will be automatically transferred into the UK applications process. 

Instead, applicants for pending EU trade mark applications will be given a nine-month window in which they would have to file for an equivalent UK trade mark application, in accordance with the applicable application fee structure. As applications for EU trade marks can often take around five to six months from filing to registration – even those to which no objections or oppositions are raised – applications filed going forward will likely struggle to become registered before the UK exits the EU (particularly if applications to the EU Intellectual Property Office increase as Brexit approaches). 

Practical tip: if the UK is a key market and your EU trade mark application is pending or not yet filed, consider filing UK and EU trade mark applications simultaneously to secure UK rights before any changes are implemented to the UK applications process – including any potential fee increases.