Monday 11 February 2008

Legal Practice Regulation

The Solicitor's Regulation Authority of the United Kingdom just launched a number of consultations on implementation of the Legal Services Act:
This would be a great opportunity to get our point(s) of view across.

The current solicitors accounts rules are a nightmare if you are dealing with the sort of overseas disbursements that arise in international patent and trade mark practice. At present, anyone in the United Kingdom can practise as a trade mark agent and the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys are supporting a campaign to have trademark agent or trademark attorney become a protected title (that could mean unqualified agents becoming criminals or having to adopt a different name).

I would like to arrange a discussion meeting to which we could invite representatives of the SRA and the Ministry of Justice as well as a UKIPO to discuss what level of regulation is necessary and desirable to protect the consumer whilst encouraging the widest diversity of service offerings from competent providers.

Many of our members who practise overseas may be appalled to learn that helping others with trade mark and patent applications is not a reserved legal activity in England but that's the state of the law as it stands.

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