Wednesday 28 July 2010

Is it worth being an IP attorney litigator?

Writing in the current issue of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice (2010) 5(8):602-607 (JIPLP), fellow blogger David Musker (Jenkins; Class 99 blogmeister) has an article ("IP Attorney Litigators: will they fly or die?") on the viability of patent attorney litigators in the United Kingdom. David's abstract runs like this:
"Legal context: The Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 opened the way for bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) to certify litigators licensed to act in competition with solicitors in England and Wales. There are currently almost 100 such attorney litigators in the UK

Key points: The author makes use of comparative and demographic data to study the profiles of attorney litigators, including routes to certification, seniority by years post-qualification, gender. He explores comparisons with other UK hybrid legal professionals such as licensed conveyancers.

Practical significance: UK solicitors are at no risk from other professions within the UK. Even any competitive price pressure in UK IP litigation is far more likely to be intra-professional, from rival firms, rather than inter-professional. Regardless though of whether the CIPA and ITMA certification schemes ultimately live up to the competitive aims of the 1990 legislation, they are certainly capable of meeting more modest goals of "upskilling" the IP attorney".
If you are thinking of adding this qualification to your range of existing skills and talents, it's worth reading this article first. It has some interesting statistics too.


  1. Sadly most of us will balk at paying USD 35 here for the privilege of learning we are about to die out.

    Personally I would not recommend the training to a patent attorney unless he is working in a firm where there is an active litigation group. Otherwise he will be doomed to frustration and the skills will die before they can be nurtured.

    There is also a strong argument that learning to be an advocate even in a specialist field should be based on a firm foundation of legal training. The Graduate Diploma in Law or GDL would be a better option.

  2. I think that assumes that there is no law aspect to the study of IP, which there is.

    I agree that a broader skill base on law would help, or perhaps greater depth on those areas that matter. Trust law does matter - jurisprudence less so.

  3. In no particular order, contract law, tort, trusts, crime, real and personal property law, conflict of laws, and competition law are all useful areas of law for an IP attorney.