David Tatham OBE

17th Jul 2019

We are saddened at the passing of David Tatham OBE, who died suddenly on 4th July, following complications after cardiac surgery.

David Tatham OBE

David spent all of his professional career working in the pharmaceutical and chemical industry. As well being a trade mark attorney, he was a qualified company secretary. He retired from the then Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) in 1994, where he was head of its trade marks department. 

He qualified as a trade mark attorney in 1961.  

He was always taking a wide view of issues and wanted to (and did) shape the development of trade mark policy.

The list of positions he occupied reflects this: 

  • President of European Communities Trade Mark Association (ECTA)
  • Member of the Council of the then Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) as well as Chair of our Law and Practice Committee
  • President of the Trade Marks Patents and Designs Federation (TMPDF)
  • Director of INTA
  • Chairman of the trade marks working group of the Union of Industrial and Employer Confederations of Europe (UNICE)
  • Chairman of the trade marks working group of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) 
  • Secretary to the Pharmaceutical Trade Marks Group (PTMG) - which he helped to found 

In each of these posts he was an effective operator and made a difference. His encyclopaedic knowledge of trade mark law and practice, national and international, along with his commercial approach to the value of intellectual property ensured that was the case. 

When the incoming Conservative government in 1992 was reluctant to make the parliamentary time for the then Trade Marks Bill – the Secretary of State said that when canvassing on the doorstep, no voter had mentioned the revision of trade mark law as a priority – it was to David Tatham that civil servants turned for estimates of the additional costs to UK industry and commerce who could not register trade marks for services or very importantly, register their trade marks multilaterally through the Madrid Protocol. He delivered a set of figures which in the end helped persuaded ministers to legislate and the 1994 Act was the result. 

David was always willing to share his knowledge, skills and expertise. His inter-personal skills meant that he was approachable and welcoming. 

Following his retirement, he became an arbitrator for WIPO in domain name disputes, also Nominet, he also undertook consultancy work for WIPO, promoting the use of IP and systems in developing countries. 

He was also a founding trustee of the CITMA Benevolent Fund.

In 1994 he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the Queen for services to industry. He was also a JP (Justice of the Peace).

We offer our heartfelt condolences to David’s wife and family.