The tale end of Rule 11 says: Every regulated person must ensure they comply with all legislation
No problem. Back in 2008 Solo posted about it. The 2007 Regulations don't apply to patent and trademark agents. I was therefore surprised by the IPREG advice page. In August they took advice from Mr James Ramsden, a junior counsel, who opines that the Treasury is wrong (as is SOLO). Brave man! I was alerted to this development by the report at the back (page 655 to be precise of the recently arrived CIPA Journal on the webinar in September. Personally I would have made it front page news as we know from the secret diary that no-one reads these features. Webinars are of course for CPD points getters not for any useful information. There is also a summary published clandestinely on the CIPA web site in October here.
The consequence of Mr Ramsden being right and me being wrong is (amongst other things) that all solos now need to become nominated officers to submit Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). The National Crime Agency has a nice on line interface for enabling us to pursue our new career as a nark. Under the law as I understand it, if someone asks me to participate in a dodgy transaction, I can just say no. I have no further obligations. Yes you do need to be aware of the possibilities of money-laundering and now that we all have client accounts, we may be tempted by suggestions that we use them to facilitate interesting trades that our clients have in mind. Don't do it. Just say No. Client accounts are for managing credit risk in a way that is fair to the client.
The reason why the Treasury were wrong apparently is that we are independent legal professionals who by way of business provide legal services to other persons, when participating in financial transactions concerning the managing of other assets (where the other assets are patents and trademarks). Me thinks he is stretching it. We do manage patents and trademarks but participating in financial transactions concerning their management? I don't think you can have had in mind the payment of renewal fees as a financial transaction. Managing assets means looking after an investment portfolio, a load of houses - something of that ilk, not keeping a database of renewal dates. Probably you should read the opinion yourself. Paragraph 17 to 22 are the knub of it.
Under the 2007 regulations, I only have to do client identification procedures when I am establishing a business relationship to participate in these strange financial transactions. Therefore, it seems to me that I had better not even get close to doing that.
Since IPREG took counsel's advice in August, one would have hoped that they have managed to engage with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority not Crime Agency) and work out who is the supervisory authority for us.
ITMA recently conducted a survey to find out how many members had held money in an escrow account as part of an assignment exercise. Was that what they thought managing assets meant? An independent legal professional that is involved in financial transactions concerning the buying and selling of business entities is caught by the Money Laundering Regulations. However a trademark is not a business entity. A business is a business entity and the business might include a trademark but it would be remarkable if the trademark agent acted in the sale of the business entity just to get the trademark. If something like that comes along, pass it on to a business solicitor.
I am also confused by the Statement from CIPA and ITMA that you can see here. The first paragraph while true does not seem to support any assertion. Are they asserting that we don't need client accounts or that we should not be covered by the 2007 Regulations. The next paragraph bemoans the fact that we are not covered and some people (not many) have had difficulty getting client accounts (as to which see my earlier post). Hopefully someone who knows will provide an illuminating comment. Maybe it could be you!