The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union (the Brexit). In the short term, the Brexit vote will not impact trademark rights in Europe. The Brexit will not affect national UK trademark registrations, and EUTM registrations will be valid in the UK for the foreseeable future. Moving forward, however, the UK will no longer be a member of the EU’s unitary trademark system, under which a single EUTM registration gives a registrant enforceable rights in each EU member country. UK legislators will need to decide whether existing EUTM registrations will remain valid in the UK or whether to establish a mechanism to convert EUTMs to national registrations. The Brexit could also impact the EUTM registration system and leave vulnerable to cancellation those registrations that are used primarily in the UK. Further, questions may arise from trademark license agreements that convey EUTM rights or are limited in scope to the EU. We will follow these developments and keep you informed.
Will Rogers once said “Letting the cat out of the bag is a whole lot easier than putting it back in.” While he surely didn’t intend it that way, this is sage advice to incipient trademark owners. Consider, if you will, the “sport” of Fowling.
Panera Bread and the Great Harvest Bread Co. will not be breaking bread together anytime soon. To the contrary, Great Harvest recently filed a trademark lawsuit against Panera over Panera’s “food as it should be” campaign, which is meant to reflect Panera’s philosophy of clean ingredients and menus based on whole foods.