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

6th Jun 2023

Our Strategic Case demonstrating the harm caused by unregulated representatives.

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The UK intellectual property (IP) system has historically been an envied piece of legal and economic infrastructure the world over. 

However, our system is coming under strain. The increasing presence of unqualified, and therefore unregulated, representatives in the UK IP system is causing disruption to processes and case management, leading to delays and higher costs for consumers.

This paper explores the harm caused by unregulated representatives to consumers, setting out data that attempts to quantify the damage caused.

Explore our proposal


Key findings from our research:

  • Consumers of the UK IP system are facing higher costs, delays and disruption to business as a result of unregulated representatives.
  • These issues are getting worse.
  • Over 90% of responding Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys believe the IPO should take action on this issue.

We have developed the following proposal to tackle this issue through the adoption of international best practices.

CITMA believes that in order to represent someone other than yourself at the IPO, you must have a UK address for service; and be regulated by an appropriate UK body.

This proposal will ensure that representatives are compliant with the standards and redress mechanisms of an appropriate regulator, and can offer consumers proper, timely and accurate legal advice, saving them from needless delays and associated cost overruns.

While simple in nature, this proposal has already been adopted by comparable IP systems around the world, including the United States and European Union, in order to protect their consumers from individuals who cannot deliver the services they advertise.

The basic principle of consumer fairness, that the services you advertise must be the services you can provide, has sadly been lost.

It is time for the UK to act to safeguard the consumers of the UK IP system and protect this vital piece of economic infrastructure.