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The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) has warned the UK government that the cost of UK trademark lawyers losing their right to represent clients at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) could total £1.7 billion ($2.3 billion) per year.
CITMA released its Brexit business case (pdf) earlier this morning, December 5, calling for the government to remain in the European Economic Area (EEA) or risk the UK’s strong position at the EUIPO.
The report added that according to “independent research”, UK trademark attorneys account for 24% of all European trademarks (EUTMs) filed, with Britain-based attorneys also representing 51% of EUTMs held by entities based in the US.
The overall cost of losing this right to act before the EUIPO could be up to £1.7 billion annually, according to the case.
“Trademark work often, particularly in large firms, will lead to the acquisition of other legal services work, including licensing, advertising standards and litigation, which can be worth many times the value of the original filing and registration fee income,” the report stated.
It added: “Trademark attorneys based in the UK are by far the most important for protecting and enforcing the rights of EUTM owners based outside the EU.”
CITMA went on to issue three messages to the government, as Brexit negotiations are reportedly still gridlocked.
First, it explained that the optimal position for trademark attorneys is that the UK remains a member of the EEA, enabling it to access the free market, which includes free movement of people, goods, services and capital.
Failing that, CITMA said that “through a bi-lateral arrangement, attorneys must be able to continue to represent their existing and future clients at the EUIPO”.
Lastly, “the UK government must ensure that all existing EU-registered trademarks and designs continue to have the same scope of protection in the UK on the date of Brexit”, CITMA stated.
In July, CITMA published another paper on Brexit, again calling for all current practitioners to be able to represent their clients before the EUIPO following Brexit.
As reported by WIPR, the paper added that right of representation before the EUIPO is “unquestionably one of the most important issues” for the profession.
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CITMA, UK government, EEA, Brexit, trademark, European Economic Area, free movement, EUTM, EUIPO