CITMA Paralegal Representative Review: 2023

3rd Apr 2024

With 2024 well underway, newly re-elected CITMA Paralegal Representative Kane Ridley looks back on a packed year.

Kane speaking.jpg

As part of my role as CITMA Paralegal Representative on Council, I have the privilege to look back on what can definitely be called a ground breaking year for the CITMA Paralegal membership.

Last year certainly had many things for the membership to celebrate.

The continual professional development of our membership, alongside advances in systems and technology, is ensuring that the paralegal role remains a vital player in the facilitation of IP services as businesses look to streamline efficiencies and reduce overall costs to our clients.

It was a key strategic milestone to increase the offering for Paralegal members, and ensure content is aimed at all levels of experience in the industry.

As the CITMA Paralegal community endeavours to build year on year, it is now vitally important that decision makers and business leaders really see the value in having a paralegal workforce that is enthused and aware of the professional developments that can be obtained via the CITMA paralegal community.

CITMA Paralegal Course & Exam 2023

The cornerstone of the CITMA Paralegal community is, of course, the main CITMA  Paralegal exam.

Despite starting in the late 90’s, the exam shows no sign of age as it is continually re-invented to remain relevant and ensure each new cohort of CITMA Paralegals are equipped with the right tools.

Last year we celebrated as 106 students passed the course to become fully fledged CITMA Paralegal members.

I had the privilege to hand out the Roy Scott Award, which recognises the highest mark achieved in the course, at December’s Christmas Lunch.

A big congratulations to Lily Hilton-Allen of Konexo who scooped the award and an iPad kindly provided by award sponsors Abion.

CITMA Paralegal Conference 2023.

The marquee event in the CITMA Paralegal calendar was, for the first time ever, a full day offering.

In September we were delighted to welcome 150 CITMA Paralegals to the offices of Pinsent Masons for a full day of discussion and interactive learning.

The morning was kicked off with an introduction by Sarah Cantrill, who heads up the CITMA Paralegal Events group, followed by a welcome from CITMA CEO, Keven Bader.

After the introductions were complete it was my pleasure to provide the membership with an update on CITMA’s aims and objectives for the membership.

With the formalities out of the way, we went on to discuss case law updates, rules and workflows, Blockchain and NFTs, Domains Names, proving use in the US and much more.

Alongside the educational elements, attendees had opportunities to build their networks with likeminded people from across the industry, both in-house and private practice.

The event will return in Autumn 2024 – I look forward to seeing many of you there.

Online CITMA entry level paralegal courses

Since the first introductory course was released for administrators and paralegals, CITMA has worked hard to expand its offering and now has 3 dedicated online courses:

  • Introduction to Trade Mark Administration & Formalities
  • Introduction to Trade Mark Renewals & Recordals
  • Introduction to Registered Design Administration, Formalities and Renewals.

This year saw 150 new course completions between the three, which provide a great resource not only for those entering the industry but for managers and leaders to utilise as an extra training resource.

The end of 2023 saw the 300th completion of the introduction to Trade Mark Administration and Formalities course, with another 13 participants joining since then.

This is a real proof of concept that those individuals just stepping into the industry have a keen appetite to learn.

CITMA Paralegal 2023 webinar series

Another packed schedule produced by the CITMA Paralegal Events working group saw us cover a wide range of topics in our webinar series last year.

We kicked off January with a review of WIPO systems and went on to look at evidence of use, searching and clearance, designs and ending the year on an update on declaration of use.

This wide range of topics demonstrates how CITMA ensures it provides both practical updates in terms of systems and formalities whilst also providing insight on skill areas which are less day-to-day.

CITMA averages around 250 sign ups per paralegal webinar, which represents engagement from around 50% of our paralegal members.

These numbers are fantastic, and we look to build on this in 2024. I was lucky enough to chair a majority of these webinars and I must say it was a privilege to host an international roster of speakers.

So a special thank you to all volunteers who provided content in 2023 and a very special thank you to our 2023 webinar series sponsors, IP Support.

Looking forward

As always, none of this could be achieved without the strong team of CITMA staff and volunteers who work tirelessly on content, arranging speakers, structing course lectures, exams and webinars to ensure the membership has ample opportunity to continually develop and network.

To those individuals, a heartfelt thank you for all of the time and effort put into delivering a brilliant 2023.

With such a deep network of talented people providing high calibre output, we continue to ensure CITMA are levelling up UK Trade Mark Paralegals into a group of competent professionals with international recognition.

With my new term as CITMA Paralegal Representative just beginning, it is most definitely a proud moment to look over all that was achieved in 2023.

I am certain all involved in CITMA are looking ahead to the rest of 2024 with that same fire and enthusiasm to produce another stellar year for the CITMA Paralegal membership.