14 March 2019Trademarks

CITMA 2019: No-deal Brexit could harm single person entities, says IPReg chair

The chair of  IPReg, the regulatory body of patent and trademark attorneys in the UK, has said today that if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, the trademark attorneys could face severe consequences.

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Trademark Attorneys ( CITMA) spring conference in London today, March 14, Chris Smith said small firms and single person entities will be most affected.

“Unless there is an agreement, the real challenge will be for these individuals who will have no EU offices from which they can work,” Smith said.

He said the situation appeared less bleak for larger firms which already have a number of offices specialising in trademark work across Europe, as they will be able to continue representing clients in EU countries.

Smith added that although the UK government will ultimately decide what happens to smaller firms and individuals affected by a no-deal Brexit, IPReg will “make sure there are no regulatory issues that might make life for attorneys more difficult”.

In his keynote speech, Smith outlined IPReg’s priorities over the next three years to make its operation as “efficient, effective and modern” as possible.

Smith said IPReg’s overall objective was to be a “genuinely valued regulator” that provides protection for consumers and attorneys.

“We are realising that a lot of our rules and procedures are not particularly adequate,” Smith said, noting that the regulatory body needed to thoroughly review its procedures, which it will do in close consultation with CITMA.

One of the changes Smith wants to make is to increase the number of universities where

trademark attorneys can obtain their qualifications. As it stands,  Queen Mary, University of London,  Bournemouth University and  Nottingham Law School are the only providers.

He said IPReg hopes that in the near future, an IPReg accreditation would be recognised as a “badge of honour” for an attorney.

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