Brexit has set off a record number of applications for trademarks in the UK, with 195,000 registered in the past year, up 54 per cent from 127,000 the year before, according to data.

However, waiting times for trademark applications take as long as three to four months in the early part of 2021, up from the usual wait of around a couple of weeks.

Therefore, the huge surge in trademark applications since Brexit has forced the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) – the Government agency that handles trademarks, patents and design registrations – to recruit more than 100 new staff to help clear the backlog.

New regime

Since 1 January 2021, the UK is no longer part of the European trademark regime, meaning that any business looking to trademark their brand or logo across Europe now must make a separate application in the UK.

Prior to 1 January of last year, UK trademark owners could file a single EU trademark application and a secure 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 made necessary.

In addition, IPO has also been overwhelmed by applications from overseas trademark holders to register with a UK trademark attorney and address for service in the UK, which is now required post-Brexit.

Lawyers have pointed out that the UK’s departure from the European trademark regime is permanent, meaning that the sharply increased number of applications represents the ‘new normal’ rather than a spike in activity.


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