Ever had a light-bulb moment?
Maybe an invention that you think could change the world, or an idea about to make life a little bit easier? If you do you might find yourself in need of the services of a Trade Mark or Patent Attorney.
What can a Trade Mark Attorney or a Patent Attorney do for me?
As specialist advisers, they can help you to protect your intellectual property rights. These rights are available to protect new inventions, artistic works, industrial designs and brand names - as well as other creative ideas.
Trade Mark and Patent Attorneys will help you to identify which rights are available, advise you how they can be protected, and give you details of likely costs and time frames. They can also help you to make the most of your ideas commercially through licensing arrangements and other legal transactions.
Our I want to protect my idea page explains more about these lawyers and how they work.
Who regulates Trade Mark Attorneys and Patent Attorneys?
An independent body known as IPReg (the “Intellectual Property Regulation Board”) is responsible for overseeing registered Trade Mark and Patent Attorneys.
IPReg requires attorneys to observe a code of professional conduct and can take disciplinary action where needed to make sure standards are met.
You can get more information about IPReg and its activities on the IPReg website.
How does regulation work? What protection does it give me?
Any lawyer regulated by IPReg (as well as the firms or companies that employ them) must comply with IPReg’s Code of Conduct which set out the standards of professional conduct and practice expected when providing legal services.
They must also make sure that they have insurance in place (called “professional indemnity insurance”) to allow for compensation if things go wrong.
Some attorneys can also represent their clients in court, once they have qualified as specialist litigators or advocates.
In doing so, they must observe the IPReg Litigator’s Conduct Rules which set out the standards of conduct and practice expected of attorneys undertaking litigation or representing clients in court.
What do I do if something goes wrong and I have a complaint about my Attorney?
If you have concerns about the way your attorney has dealt with your case, you can make a formal complaint. All Trade Mark and Patent Attorneys (and their firms or companies) must have a complaints procedure in place under IPReg’s rules. You are entitled to see a copy of this and then to tell your Attorney that you are making a formal complaint, preferably in writing.
For guidance about putting together a letter of complaint, take a look at the Legal Ombudsman’s website to find an example complaint letter that you can read first.
Read more about the Legal Ombudsman’s role. You might need to involve him for some categories of complaints such as being overcharged.
How will I know if my Attorney is regulated by IPReg?
Don’t be afraid to ask. Also their business notepaper or website should say if they are regulated by IPReg.
If you are still unsure you can contact IPReg directly. They keep an up-to-date list of registered attorneys on their site.
How should I pay for advice from a Trade Mark or Patent Attorney ?
You can find information about paying for legal advice and professional services on our Legal Costs page.
Where can I find a Trade Mark Attorney or a Patent Attorney?
You can also search online or check local telephone directories. Don’t forget to ask if they are regulated by IPReg when you contact them.