Earlier this month, however, we attended the Marques mid-year meeting in Malaga. Malaga is in south-west Spain, quite close to Gibraltar and the local newspaper ran a story about Gibraltar and Brexit. Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, but Spain has long claimed sovereignty over it. The EU’s draft Brexit guidelines gave Spain an effective veto over Gibraltar by stating that no deal on the EU’s future relationship with the UK would apply to Gibraltar without Spain’s agreement. Despite Gibraltar voting 96% to remain in the EU on 23 June 2016, this interference in its affairs has caused a backlash among Gibraltarians who, in the main, want to remain British.
This got us thinking about the IP issues of Brexit on Gibraltar and the British crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. We know, of course, that the UK will eventually be leaving the EU and that registered and unregistered Community Designs and EU Trade Marks will no longer have aﬀect in the UK, but what will this mean for these territories?
With Guernsey and the Isle of Man, Brexit should have no effect on the protection of trade marks and designs. Currently, in Guernsey, neither EU nor International trade marks are recognised and the only option is to apply to register a trade mark that is also registered in a country party to the Paris Convention – usually a UK trade mark. Brexit will not change this. In the Isle of Man, UK trade marks and UK designations of International trade marks automatically give protection, and, although the Isle of Man is technically outside the EU (just to complicate matters…), EU trade marks are also recognised and protected there. Therefore, here again, rights in the Isle of Man should be unaffected by Brexit. In both territories, the position is the same for designs.
With Gibraltar and Jersey, however, things are different. Currently, EU trade marks give protection, but it seems unlikely they will do so after Brexit, and, although UK trade marks may be derived from them, UK trade marks only give protection in Gibraltar and Jersey if they are pro-actively registered there. Therefore, it looks as if trade mark owners wishing to retain rights in Gibraltar and Jersey will have to make sure they have UK protection and then make applications to register their UK trade mark(s) in these territories. With designs, the position in Jersey is the same as with trade marks (i.e . pro-active registration of a design already registered in the UK is required). In Gibraltar, however, UK designs automatically cover Gibraltar, so providing Community designs are converted to UK designs after Brexit, there is nothing to worry about. Phew…..
Patent Emergency! What to do when you’ve (accidentally) disclosed your invention before you’ve filed a patent application
One of the cornerstones of the patent system in many countries, including the UK, is the need to apply for a patent before disclosing your invention publicly. This is because such ‘self-disclosure’ can be used to invalidate a subsequently filed patent application. That’s a horrible situation, because you may have really shot yourself in the foot in terms of getting patent protection in the UK and in many other countries. Therefore, we firmly advise that you keep the invention secret before filing a patent application on the invention.
IP expert praises one million women in STEM roles to mark International Day of Women and Girls in Science
A leading intellectual property expert has said it is “incredibly encouraging” to see almost one million women in STEM roles for the first time, but called for continued action to support this upwards trend.
Small Irish business wins ’David and Goliath’ trade mark case against McDonalds
An Irish fast-food company has claimed a famous victory over one of the biggest brands in the world. Supermac, a beloved restaurant chain throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland, has successfully challenged McDonalds over its trade mark for ‘Big Mac’ in the European Union.
EPO Board of Appeal finds that plants *ARE* patentable at the EPO - Rule 28(2) EPC is unenforceable
We have previously reported on the introduction of new Rule 28(2) EPC regarding the patentability of plants and animals obtained by “an essentially biological process”. As detailed in our November 2018 article, the first case to go to appeal was scheduled to take place on 5 December 2018. That hearing has now taken place and a decision has issued.
Mental health in intellectual property – breaking down barriers
Mental illness is frequently referred to as the ‘last taboo'.