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Brands face Brexit trademark crisis

Nearly half (48%) of international brand owners do not have a have a clearly-defined trademark filing strategy for when Britain leaves the European Union, according to new research.

Law firm Hogan Lovells surveyed 200 brand owners in 12 industry sectors across Europe, including the UK, North America and the Asia Pacific region, for its Brand Benchmarking 2017 report.

A total of 48% said they were unsure what course of action to take post-referendum. Companies are also allowing too little time for trademark clearance searches since the Brexit vote, and over 90% of brand owners are already experiencing misuse of their trademarks online.

The results mirrored concerns raised in last November’s Drapers: Brexit Agenda report, which looked at intellectual property and design rights among other Brexit issues.

Drapers surveyed more than 300 fashion businesses and stakeholders, including multiples, independents, brands, the British Fashion Council and lawyers, and a key concern was the future of various intellectual property laws.

UK fashion businesses are currently subject to, and can take advantage of, EU trademarks and EU-wide design protection laws. But, some lawyers argued the UK cannot fall back on its own laws after Brexit, as they are not all fit for purpose.

Lloyd Parker, Asia Pacific and Middle East head of IP at Hogan Lovells, said the results of its survey were not surprising given current political uncertainty: “It seems the Brexit referendum has left businesses perplexed when it comes to their trademark filing strategies.

“Given the uncertain and evolving political situation around Brexit, and now with a UK general election around the corner, it’s unsurprising that many businesses are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach.”

Parker added the survey also revealed a worrying trend of companies giving themselves little time between starting trademark clearance searches and product launch.

He added: “Nearly a quarter of respondents take two months or less, and over half take five months or less, which really is cutting it fine.”


Readers' comments (1)

  • I agree that there is a lot of uncertainty regarding what will happen to European IP rights post Brexit, but it is not as bleak a picture as is often made out. With some careful planning and easy to implement measures the risk can be managed.

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