Saturday 21 February 2009

Is Regulation of Trademark Attornies Necessary?

The ITMA meeting on Tuesday with Michael Heap - the newly appointed Chair of the IP Regulation Board (IPREG) was ratherly poorly attended. Maybe the UK's IP professionals are relaxed about the new regime as just another tax on practice. However I suspect that many trademark pratictioners will just drop off the register. Unless you are a litigator, there does not seem to be any singnificant benefits to either you or your clients. If you want to litigate you have no choice, you must be regulated.

The Government does not seem to think that regulation of trademark practice is necessary either. One of the first small firms to benefit from their new loan guarantee scheme is Trademark Direct - an apparently unregulated practice. See the FT report here. It seems they have used some of their new funds to write a clever search tool that delivers a Yes No answer. I like it and appreciate the generosity that makes this tool available to all. I can cross-check my opinions for free. Given that many trademark applicants go direct to the UK IPO, I am sceptical that attorneys can add much to the delivery of the trademark filing process using an automated website. Genuine professional assistance is another matter.

I wanted to know how IPREG was going to be perceived by the consuming public. However it seems that as regards the consumer IPREG will have a low profile. So how will my client know that I have been judged competent and am committed to my own continuing professional development? It seems its down to me to say so.


  1. shouldn't 'attornies' be 'attorneys'?

  2. Am rather surprised you like the Trade Mark Direct search tool, and actually use it.
    They have had this search tool since September or so. Therefore, unless the new funds are for past work, it is unlikely they will be used to create the search tool.
    For my thoughts on Trade Mark Direct see