Tuesday 24 January 2017

Finding a Trade Mark (or even a Patent) Adviser

IPO IP Events
The UK IPO does an excellent job in promoting the benefits of intellectual rights to business. Its programme of events offers workshops round the country and also promotes some third party events for business, but professionals should keep an eye on it too. The consequence is that an increasing number of trade mark applicants are unrepresented. Some of these applicants are developing portfolios of significant size.

These go it alone business men sometimes save themselves some money on external advice but on other occasions, the exercise incurs expensive fees, takes up valuable management time that could be better spent and delivers inadequate protection. Recently I spotted a series of three separate trademark applications filed by a new business based in Bath. The first was plainly a pure description and has been withdrawn. The second, a simple logo, also withdrawn. The third an elaborate logo, now published. All marks included the geographical name so its clearly intended for a local business so a national monopoly might not be that helpful.  The other time a lack of representation may be a handicap is when an opposition comes in. The natural response of an unrepresented applicant can be to waste a lot of energy producing irrelevant evidence. A short session with an adviser is worthwhile when you need to assess an opposition threat.

How would this applicant have found a cost effective adviser? The first instinct would be to search the web and we know there are good trademark advisers in Bath and nearby Bristol as well as excellent solo members. Google delivers a reasonable result but does not distinguish between the unqualified advertisers and the regulated adviser.

Our business owner could have gone to the IPREG Find An Attorney site and found a very reliable result. He would not have discovered that opportunity in his Google results, but it is by far the best way to look for a local adviser.

You might expect the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Agents to help you find a member. Not all registered trademark agents from the IPREG site are Chartered but all of those on the IPREG site are qualified and regulated.  There is a nice orange button marked Find an Expert on the site and that will lead you to a public search tool that delivers very unhelpful results on a map, so if that's what you get go search on IPREG.

Maybe its time CITMA went on a membership drive in order to help the unrepresented find helpful advice.

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