Experts from HGF offer reassurance around brand protection post Brexit

  • Almost half of companies (46%) say they will change their brand protection strategy after the UK leaves the EU
  • However, a third of companies (31%) still do not know how they will register trade marks after Brexit
  • A third (33%) say Brexit will make brand protection harder
  • 61% believe it is now important to have IP advisors based in multiple European jurisdictions, with 83% saying local knowledge is the key benefit

With the recent election results accelerating the UK’s departure towards Brexit by the end of this month, a survey of UK and European businesses has revealed that one in three (33%) have expressed concern over brand protection post Brexit. Almost half (46%) expect to change their brand protection strategies after Britain leaves the EU, although 31% still do not know how they will register trade marks after Brexit.

The findings were revealed in the ‘Brand Protection Beyond Brexit Report spanning more than 120 businesses, many of them world leaders in their markets and industry sectors, carried out by HGF – independently ranked this year as one of Europe’s Leading Patent Law Firms.

Respondents represented brands across the FMCG, entertainment, automotive, food and drink, cosmetics and luxury goods sectors, with combined revenues of hundreds of billions of pounds.

According to Interbrand’s Best Global Brands 2019 Rankings, the cumulative value of the world’s top 100 brands has reached $2.1 trillion. However, a third (31%) of companies surveyed still do not know how they will register trade marks after Brexit even though the same proportion (33%) think Brexit will make brand protection harder. Even more believe it to be critical that their IP advisors have bases in multiple jurisdictions to provide local knowledge and expertise.

The loss of EU geographic location protection was also a concern. Exiting the world’s largest trading bloc prompted 54% of respondents to express concerns about the impact of the $460 billion global counterfeit industry on their businesses, given the EU’s great emphasis on muscular protection and enforcement of IP rights in third countries.

Nearly two thirds (61%) of businesses now believe it important that their IP advisor has bases in multiple jurisdictions across Europe, with 83% citing local knowledge and expertise as a key benefit for this. Businesses are concerned that brand licensing would be more complex in other EU territories after Brexit, with additional legal jurisdictions to negotiate, more trade marks to file and possible issues with cross border knowledge and policing around brand protection.

HGF was independently ranked ‘Gold’ in four categories and ‘Silver’ in two others in the Financial Times special report, ‘Europe’s Leading Patent Law Firms’ earlier this year.

David Potter, Head of Trade Marks at HGF, said:

“With the UK’s departure from the EU just around the corner we want to reassure companies that for HGF, Brexit means business as usual. We are determined to ensure that all current and potential clients continue to receive protection for their trade marks and IP in a smooth, seamless manner.

“That means being fully prepared. By taking the temperature of companies’ concerns, priorities, planning, areas of doubt and perceived opportunities, weaknesses and threats, we can always know and address issues that are vital to them and safeguard and advise appropriately.

“Amidst a volatile, unpredictable political process and in an increasingly uncertain age, Brexit means business as usual for HGF and its clients, as our European network and capability enable us to support organisations with an unrivalled local knowledge of IP rights throughout multiple jurisdictions.”

HGF is one of the largest firms of IP specialists in Europe, with 22 offices across the UK, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. Earlier this year it continued its expansion by opening an office in Dublin and, with the merger with Patronus IP, in Germany, established HGF offices in Munich, Heidelberg and Salzburg.

The Brand Protection Beyond Brexit research was commissioned to better understand the worries and concerns of companies in the UK and Europe around departing the EU. The comprehensive research was divided into three sections – Brexit, Brand protection and Business growth, with companies invited to participate by completing an online survey.

Further Brand Protection Beyond Brexit results included:

  • Two thirds (66%) of large businesses said Brexit uncertainty was having a negative impact on brand, sales and their wider business
  • The same proportion (64%) was concerned about economic slowdown in key markets over the next 18 months
  • More than a third (37%) were worried about being able to recruit and maintain appropriately skilled staff
  • Despite a key benefit of Brexit said to be the right of the UK to strike wider free trade deals around the world, 70% of respondents said they expected their top three markets to be same in three years as they are today.

 

To read the full report visit: http://www.hgf.com/media/1750302/Brand-Protection-Beyond-Brexit-A-survey-by-HGF.pdf

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