The journey to CITMA President

20th Aug 2020

Already busy in his new role and with plans to get more members involved is our President Richard Goddard.

Richard Goddard

Intellectual property (IP) was never in the plan for Richard. In fact, when Richard went to university, he studied Zoology.

Unsatisfied by a career in research, Richard began exploring other options.

Richard Goddard chatting.jpg

In the final year of his Zoology degree, Richard was introduced to IP and from there he began looking into it as a possible career.

“I love the immediacy of trade marks and their truly global reach. It is very satisfying seeing the effects of the work that you do in everyday life” - whenever I'm in the supermarket I still lookout for the first trade mark I ever filed: a cartoon raisin!”

Richard now works in-house for BP, but originally, he worked in private practice. The move between industries was one of the biggest changes in his career he told us, both in terms of firm culture and the nature of the work.

“Within a few weeks of starting, I was thrust into very involved trade mark licence negotiations, which were part of a much broader merger and acquisition transaction – fighting the corner for trade marks at the negotiation table in the face of competing interests both within and without the company.

“Quite a change from opposition work!”

Getting involved

Tania Clark and Richard Goddard

Shortly after leaving private practice to move in-house, Richard joined CITMA Council.

“I felt that there wasn't sufficient in-house representation within CITMA, so I applied to join CITMA Council.”

When Richard joined Council, he was the only in-house practitioner – now there are four.

Although according to Richard he was a quiet and studious kid at school, one of Richard’s favourite parts of working behind the scenes at CITMA is working with other people.

“For me, the best thing is the opportunity to get to know people from across the profession and to gain a better understanding of the different issues people are facing.”

Richard became CITMA President in April this year and told us he is yet to meet a single member face to face because of the pandemic.

“I really want to hear more about what members want from CITMA. It's great to see all the responses we've had to the membership survey, but nothing beats talking to people face-to-face.”

Out of office

Richard Goddard

Outside of work, Richard is a trustee at a nature reserve near his home in Ealing. He is actively involved in managing the reserve for wildlife. He leads groups of volunteers on activities like hedge laying and coppicing.

“Recently we've had cattle arrive to graze the meadows, so I'm getting quite good at stock fencing.”

Richard also enjoys spending time with his young family outdoors, running (races and social), cooking (especially on an open fire) and board games.

A busy personal and work life, and now CITMA President, how does Richard balance it all?

“Imperfectly!” he answered, “On occasion, it can be difficult to balance all three, particularly if there are big things happening in different areas simultaneously. I'm lucky to have a fantastic team around me at CITMA, great colleagues at BP and a very understanding family.”

Goals for the future

Richard Goddard and prize winner

It’s no secret that this year has been a challenging time for the profession, with the end of the Brexit transition period just around the corner and the impact of Covid-19, Richard been busy equipping and supporting members for the challenges ahead – whether that’s joining in on a coffee morning to listen to members, or to fighting your corner with Brexit to get the best possible outcome.

One goal Richard shared with us is that he is keen to make sure CITMA is representing and listening to all its members.

To support this, Richard is keen to get more people involved and working behind the scenes.

“It's been great having student and CITMA Paralegal representatives on Council, as well as Council members from around the UK, but there's more that we can do”.


Richard Goddard drinks reception

The best part of volunteering for Richard is getting to know people from across the profession, as well as taking on new challenges and developing in a way that wouldn't be available in his day job.

“Whether it's grappling with regulation, dealing with institutional stakeholders or liaising with other IP organisations”.

We asked Richard what advice he has for anyone thinking about getting involved

“Don’t be put off” Richard answered.

Richard told us he had almost no idea what he was doing it at his first Council meeting.

“It can seem intimidating, but people are ready to help”. 

If there is something that you are interested in, or you'd like to get involved but aren't sure how then let us know.

“Volunteering at CITMA is a fantastic way to broaden your experience and widen your network. The more people we have involved, the better we can represent the membership”

Finally, we asked Richard if he thought he’d ever be CITMA President when he started becoming more involved at CITMA.

“I never really thought about becoming CITMA president - it seemed far too daunting!”