In April 2019, the EU agreed a second delay to the UK’s departure from the EU and set a new departure date of 31 October 2019. Following EU leaders’ talks about the new Brexit delay, President Donald Tusk told the UK: “Please don’t waste this time”.
A couple of months on from Tusk’s press conference the UK appears to be doing everything it can to ignore that request as we watch the Conservative Party continue to tear itself apart by holding a leadership contest and the Labour Party leader continue the party’s policy of constructive ambiguity as far as its Brexit policy is concerned.
Although the UK political parties and most of the country seem to be gripped by an ongoing Brexit paralysis (#JustMakeItStop), one group of people have been quick off the mark hoping to cash in on the uncertainty around Brexit.
Yes, misleading IP related invoices are back and this time the companies sending the “invoices” are hoping to persuade their recipients into parting with their hard earned cash by paying for totally unnecessary UK trade mark and design registrations.
Before we go any further it should be appreciated that, as a result of Brexit, EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs) will in due course be cloned automatically – and free of charge – on to the UK trade mark and design registers as corresponding UK trade marks and UK registered designs. Furthermore, this cloning will happen even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Pending EU Trade Mark and Registered Community Design applications will not be cloned on to the UK Register but there will be an option to re-file these rights in the UK and retain UK protection with the same filing date.
Returning now to Misleading Invoices: The Brexit Edition, it is noted that these invoices continue the theme of most scam invoices by being presented in a formal manner. The Brexit versions however highlight the recipient’s EU trade mark or registered design rights and then advise the filing of unnecessary UK equivalent registrations (remember these rights will actually be automatically cloned free of charge).
IP rights holders therefore need to remain vigilant and remember that only their IP representative or authorised IP renewals service should be contacting them about their IP rights and the effect, if any, that Brexit will have on them.
If you receive a request to pay money in order to safeguard your rights after Brexit then contact your representative. Don’t pay anything unless your representative confirms it is a genuine matter!
More information on Brexit and how it impacts Intellectual Property Rights can be found on IPcopy’s Brexit page.
More information on Misleading Invoices can be found in previous IPcopy articles here.
Mark Richardson 10 June 2019