What effects will Brexit have on the Finnish Trade Register, trademarks, design protection and patents?

Below is a summary of what effects the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (Brexit) will have on

Effects of Brexit on the Finnish Trade Register

Processing of notifications submitted to the Trade Register

On 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) withdrew from the EU, and does no longer belong to the European Economic Area (EEA). In limited liability companies, at least one board member and the managing director must be resident within the EEA. However, the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH) can grant an exemption from this requirement.

The board members and the managing director are responsible for their activities to the company, the shareholders or someone else. To ensure this responsibility, it is required that the enforcement of judgements under the Finnish law apply to at least one of the board members and the managing director.

Exemptions due to place of residence

In practice, we now grant exemptions due to place of residence only to persons living permanently in countries that have acceded to the Lugano Convention. The Convention is a general agreement on jurisdiction and the enforcement of judgements in civil matters.

The UK has not acceded to the Lugano Convention and has been bound by it only because of EU membership.

A consequence of Brexit has been that not all the board members of a limited liability company can have their permanent place of residence in the UK. If the managing director of the company lives permanently in the UK, he or she will be granted an exemption only if at least one of the board members lives permanently within the EEA.

A trader living in the UK will need a permit to set up a branch in Finland. Under the Finnish Act on the Right to Carry on a Trade, the trader must have a representative who is entitled to receive summons and other notifications on behalf of the trader. The representative must be resident in Finland, and the Trade Register must be notified of the representative.

Effects of Brexit on trademarks, designs and patents

Registered EU trademarks and Community designs are automatically converted into national trademarks and design rights in the United Kingdom. EU trademark and Community design applications that were still pending at the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 must be converted into national applications within nine months. In such a case, the applicants themselves have to be active.

More information about the effects of Brexit is available on the websites of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Read more about the effects of Brexit on trademarks and designs on the EUIPO website.

Read more about the effects of Brexit on trademarks and designs on the WIPO website.

Read more about the effects of Brexit on trademarks, designs and patents on the UK Intellectual Property Office website.

The UK will remain a member of the European Patent Organisation meaning that Brexit has no effects on the validity of European patents in the UK. In future, supplementary protection certificates for patents will be granted according to UK law.

Read more about the effects of Brexit on supplementary protection certificates for patents on the UK Intellectual Property Office website.

Brexit also affects the exhaustion of IP rights. After the end of the transition period, placing IP-protected products on the UK market will not result in the exhaustion of the IP rights in the European Economic Area (EEA).

Read more about the effects of Brexit on the exhaustion of IP rights on the UK Intellectual Property Office website.

Brexit brings changes to who can act as a representative of IP applications in the UK.

Read more about the effects of Brexit on representatives on the UK Intellectual Property Office website.

Effects in Finland and on the Finnish Patent and Registration Office (PRH)

If the applicant or owner of a trademark has neither a domicile nor a registered office in the EEA, they must appoint a representative residing in the EEA. If the applicant of a design right or patent has neither a domicile nor a registered office in Finland, they must appoint a representative residing in the EEA.

After Brexit, the UK no longer belongs to the EEA. Representatives residing in the UK can no longer be representatives in Finland. There are currently nearly twenty UK-based representatives in the Finnish Trademark Register.

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Latest update 22.07.2021