New Year brings not just fireworks but constant demands for professional subscriptions. The season starts with the solicitors who are smart enough to get in early before we have done the Christmas shopping . You got a window from 16 Sep and 31 Oct 13 to do it on line and confirm your CPD and insurance.
CIPA were pretty smart this year and sent their invoices out on a Wednesday just before the holiday. Then they sent them again on Sunday. Mine came by email. Its not so easy to spot you are sending things out twice with email as opposed to snail mail.On Monday came an apology.
I am a Chartered Engineer too and the IET send me a postcard in the mail in early December I think it was and direct debit the subscription from my Bank on the first available date in January. They have been doing this for a while. Canny these engineers.
Almost as smart are the European Patent Institute who allow you to have the obligatory €160 taken from your deposit account with the EPO but not until February. They send you a nice paper reminder in the post at the end of the year. It is multicoloured and double sided, without that we might get away with €155.
AIPPI who at a modest £110 deliver the best value for money of all send a frantic email early in the New Year hoping you will send the necessary by bank transfer to reach them before 31 January so they can pay the mother organisation. This is a great improvement. They used to need cheques and they will still take such payments.
ITMA have also moved over to the direct debit system and are debiting theirs in January and had it all organised and members warned about the amounts late in November. Sadly at £432 they are only £8 short of being the most expensive honour.
So this just leaves IPREG. They are following the SRA model and want us to go on line. In November they wrote and said we were going to pay on line. We can now go on line to confirm we did our CPD in 2013 and that is a painless experience once you have logged into your IPREG Pro account. For the rest we are told there will be 4 phases in total. I am going to get a two week “slot” immediately following issue of my activation code. You see its quite obvious you cannot be a really smart IP practitioner unless you can meet short deadlines set at short notice.
I am debating whether it makes sense to continue paying both CIPA and ITMA. They have a big challenge ahead to justify their continued separate existence. The Law Society has cleverly not yet separated itself from the SRA budget but is still doing a sterling job for its members for example by ensuring recently that solicitors can continue their right of audience in the Enterprise Court