3 June 2024

Extension of rights

Centuries ago, Britain embarked on a journey to explore the wonders of the world, laying the groundwork for what would later become the British Empire. What started as a quest for trade routes and resources soon evolved into permanent settlements and territories under British rule. Over time, through treaties, conquests, and hard-fought negotiations, Britain’s overseas presence expanded rapidly. While the twentieth century saw some territories gaining independence, many remain under British sovereignty, forming what are known as the United Kingdom’s Overseas Territories.

Today, the relationship between the UK government and its territories is complex encompassing constitutional, security, and financial dimensions. These territories vary in their levels of self-governance and must strike a balance between local decision-making and responsibilities imposed by the UK. From the turquoise waters of the Caribbean to the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, the legacy of the British Empire retains a tantalising alure. Many are the home to civilians, while others like the British Antarctic Territory, South Sandwich Islands, and British Indian Ocean Territory serve as research and military outposts.

While most of these territories govern themselves to a large extent, they maintain strong ties with the United Kingdom, which holds responsibility for foreign relations, security, and defence. In return, many territories contribute to the UK in various ways.

This guide explores the benefits provided to owners of existing United Kingdom Intellectual Property Rights (UKIPRs) in overseas territories. Owners of UKIPRs often have the option to extend their protection to certain overseas territories by fulfilling local formalities, although it should be noted that local laws can be enacted which replace the protection historically afforded to the owners of UK rights. The table below provides high level information on the position for trade mark registration in these territories.

Please note that the information serves as a guideline and should not be construed as a definitive statement of law. Overseas legislation may undergo changes without prior notice. Prior to relying on any provided information, as well as further information on specific territories, it is advisable to seek confirmation from one of our attorneys at Venner Shipley.