After grilling PM Theresa May for 90 minutes and then holding 8 hours of talks, the EU-27 offered to delay Brexit last night. The PM has accepted this offer which means that the No-Deal cliff edge has moved back from 29 March and Brexit has effectively been delayed slightly. This delay means that the potential impact of Brexit on EU Trade Marks (EUTMs) and Registered Community Designs (RCDs) will also be delayed.
The EU structured their delay offer in an interesting way, essentially:
If the Prime Minister can pass the Withdrawal Agreement at the third attempt (“Meaningful Vote 3: This Time It’s Really Meaningful”),
Then Brexit will be delayed until 22 May 2019 (the day before European elections are due to take place)
Else if the WA is not approved (e.g. through a lack of votes or a Bercow Brexit Bombshell Mk 2), Brexit will be delayed until 12 April 2019 (which is the deadline by which the UK would have to indicate it was taking part in the EU Parliament elections) at which point we either leave the EU or set out some alternative steps (e.g. taking part in the EU elections to try and win another longer delay)
So, the No Deal cliff edge is now 12 April which means the UK has a couple of extra weeks to try and find some agreed course out of the Brexit mire. All Brexit outcomes – No Deal, Deal or Revoke – are still in play at this point though it is noted that the French President Emmanuel Macron actually revised down the chances of PM May getting her deal through (from 10% to 5%) after she met with the EU-27 last night! Donald Tusk thought Macron was being optimistic…..
As far as the Intellectual Property world is concerned the delay means that the cloning of EUTM and RCD rights on to the UK trade mark and design registers will not take place until at least 12 April. If a deal is agreed then a transition period will mean that the UK will be bound by EU laws until the end of 2020.
Mark Richardson 22 March 2019