• 93% of Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys who responded to a survey have called for the Intellectual Property Office to tackle the issue of unregulated and unqualified representatives.
  • 85% of respondents said that the issues posed by those representatives are resulting in needless delays and complications to our IP system.
  • CITMA writes to Intellectual Property Office and Minister for Intellectual Property, calling for an investigation into the role of unregulated practitioners in the UK system.

The extent of the damage being wrought by unregulated and unqualified representatives on the UK’s trademark and intellectual property (IP) system has been laid bare.

The findings of a survey of Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys and released by the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) demonstrates the ongoing and unnecessary complications and costs faced by UK consumers of IP services.  These complications and costs are inflicted by those who wrongly claim to be expert IP practitioners.

CITMA’s survey of Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys reveals the extent of the problem:

  1. 93% of respondents agreed that the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) needs to take action to tackle the issue of unregulated and/or unqualified representatives.
  2. 85% of respondents agreed that the issues posed by unregulated and/or unqualified representatives are resulting in needless delays and complications to our IP system.
  3. 72% of respondents reported that their clients have experienced increased costs over the last three years as a result of unregulated and/or unqualified representatives.

CITMA President, Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy, said:

“The UK’s trade mark and IP system is the envy of the world.  However, rather than being a symbol of our excellence, it is causing unnecessary delays and additional costs for innovators and consumers who rely on the UK IP system to protect their ideas.”

“Our survey of Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys shows the problems that occur when unregulated representatives hold themselves out to be experts.  The consumers of those services – small innovative businesses up and down the country, right through to our household names – end up spending far too long tangled in paperwork and incurring unnecessary costs while they try to protect their brands.”

“The US and EU have tighter rules like the ones that CITMA is asking for. It is well past time for the Government to bring the UK up to speed, and in doing so help promote the economic growth we so desperately need.”

Industries with high use of IP rights contribute £166.5 billion of value added output to the UK’s gross domestic product every year.  As the UK looks for growth and the transition to a high-skill, high-wage and high-tech economy, supporting those industries to flourish is vital.  An efficient and effective IP system is key to achieving that.

Writing to the IPO and Lord Camrose, the Minister for IP, CITMA calls for a change in the rules to help drive up standards and strengthen our IP system.  CITMA believes that in order to represent someone other than yourself at the IPO, you should have a UK address for service and be appropriately regulated.  As a first step towards achieving that, CITMA is calling for the IPO to work with industry to investigate these issues.

British innovators depend on the UK’s world-class system to protect their big ideas so they can take them to the international stage and drive growth at home.  That requires a system that is robust and maintained constantly.  These simple changes will help to achieve that.

CITMA chief executive, Keven Bader, said:

“This is a real issue hampering our everyday economy.  By allowing unregulated and unqualified practitioners to act here, consumers have no protection or redress against them when things go wrong.”

“We want to work with the IPO and stakeholders to strengthen our system, by tightening the rules so that those representing others are appropriately regulated and have a UK address for service.”

“We will welcome an investigation so that we can get to the bottom of these issues.  In the spirit of doing our bit, CITMA has proposed a simple, cost-free solution that will fix these problems.”

“We look forward to working with the IPO to resolve these important issues and in doing so, help to support our innovators and drive growth in our economy.”


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