IP Cases & Articles

Unregulated representatives: evidence of harm and a call for investigation

The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) is calling for urgent action from the UK Government to tighten the rules relating to representation. CITMA has written to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) outlining the harm that unregulated representatives are doing to UK businesses.

In the report, CITMA says “Our system is coming under strain”. Having launched the campaign in October 2022, CITMA had warned of the scale of the problem and the serious impact it was having on the profession.

Referring to the recent findings of a survey of CITMA members, the report confirms that 72% of UK Chartered trade mark attorney respondents had seen clients face increased costs over the past three years as a result, 85% reported needless and unnecessary complications as a result of the activities of unqualified representatives, and 93% of respondents agreed that the UKIPO needs to take action to address the issue.

CITMA President Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy said “Our survey… shows the problems that occur when unregulated representatives hold themselves out to be experts.” CITMA has since confirmed that it is actively engaging with the UKIPO on the matter.

Noting the recent tightening of rules in the USA and stricter rules in the European Union (which no longer apply in the UK), it is striking that the issues have become ever more apparent over recent months. However, this is an issue that can be dealt with relatively straightforwardly, by adopting the position set out by CITMA and tightening the rules to ensure that the UK retains its reputation as having an world-class and envied IP system.

We are keenly monitoring the situation for further developments.

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Unregulated representatives in the UK intellectual property system: Evidence of harm and a call for investigation

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