Thursday 15 September 2011

Quality Trade Mark Representation

As we face the next Great Depression, most of us are thinking of ways to make sure we have a good client base and an excellent reputation that will see us through. Our problem is to make the relevant public look for us.  Qualified and Professional advisers in trademark matters usually means a specialist IP solicitor or a "Registered" Trademark agent. Anyone can represent a trademark applicant. Its just like will writing. Its not regulated. Unlike will writing its likely to stay that way.
Is this the Great Depression?

Reading a recent UK-IPO decision, I noted that the hearing officer had said "This is a case where every step has been unnecessarily protracted, by sniping and nitpicking." One of the parties was unrepresented, the other was represented by a named person, Mr Whyatt, not on the solicitor's register nor on the ITMA list of experts but he is a public access barrister so that should be even better, but nevertheless he got some serious criticism:
"Mr Whyatt would appear to be disingenuous and verbose in his response, and has managed to extend his counterstatements to cover seven pages (2052091) and eight pages (2307158) when both could easily have been answered in two pages."
The impression I get from the IPO is that they are not happy with the quality of representation and I don't think its limited to just this case. Is there anything we can do about it to help clients look for advisers that will offer them an efficient, well-informed service designed to achieve a reasonable result in the least time in order to allow the client to get on with his business. I want to see a quality standard so that an unrepresented person will know he is better of represented. Can we perhaps design a Quality Pledge a contract between client and representative to smooth things along. Maybe

  • You will give me all the facts
  • I will provide a clear indication of your chances of success
  • We will agree capped budgets for every stage
  • I will not take any step in the action without your knowledge and approval
  • We will look for every opportunity to settle that is consistent with the budget
  • I will keep the pleadings short and the evidence focused on the issues
  • I will admit the obvious facts and not deny the undeniable
  • You will do your very best to get the evidence we need together in a timely manner
  •  I will ask you to pay costs orders
Equally there may be things the representatives and clients want from the Hearing Officers , so what about a debate to discuss it?


  1. If you want a quality standard, who is going to promulgate and administer the standard? The IPO did this recently in another area by sponsoring a British Standard on IP commercialisation services. All IP professionals I have spoken to about this regard it as a mistake.

    Standards under the auspices of a representative body (eg ITMA) run the risk of being viewed as designed to protect the interests of their members. Perhaps a standard created by a regulatory body, eg SRA or IPReg, would reduce this risk.

  2. Based on the poor attitude of the IPO to qualified representatives, any authorised person who gets up their nose is, in my opinion, doing a good job. Keep up the good work, Mr Whyatt.

    In any case, barristers are paid to be verbose.

  3. There is already an IPReg Code of Conduct for Litigators but it does not say anything about how you conduct the litigation and it does not apply to oppositions anyway. besides that the IPreg requires "Regulated persons shall at all times act with integrity putting their clients’ interests foremost subject to the law and any overriding duty to any Court or Tribunal."

  4. There is simply insufficient discussions on the posts on this blog, which makes your efforts appear wasted. Even ipkitten's blog is overly quiet. Any way of linking these blogs into linkedin discussion groups to open them up to a wider and more responsive (USA, India) IP audience?