IPReg can accept applications for entry to the patent attorney register and trade mark attorney register from individuals who have gained patent and/or trade mark attorney qualifications outside of the UK (see Chapter 3, paragraph 1.4 of the Core Regulatory Framework and Paragraphs 21-27 of the Admission and Authorisation Standard Operating Procedure). IPReg can no longer accept applications for recognition under the Recognition under the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015.
IPReg must carefully balance the need to have strong, diverse professions, with the need to protect consumers and uphold public confidence in the patent and trade mark professions. It must do this by ensuring only those that are competent to practise UK patent and trade mark law are entered onto the registers. Applications to the registers will be rigorously assessed and only those that can demonstrate the competence to practise as a UK registered attorney will be admitted entry to the profession.
Applications for entry to the patent register and trade mark register must be made in writing using the prescribed application form, accompanied by:
1. A self assessment against the relevant competency framework;
2. Evidence of English or Welsh language competence;
3. Practice information; and
4. The application fee.
Completed applications can be sent for the attention of the Head of Registration to IPReg's postal address or conveyed by email to email@example.com. IPReg may ask the applicant to provide original documents.
All applicants must demonstrate that they meet the competency criteria set out in the Competency Framework for Patent Attorneys and/or the Competency Framework for Trade Mark Attorneys as relevant. Where deficiencies in skills, knowledge or experience are identified, the rules allow IPReg to direct that applicants undertake specific, targeted compensation measures to bridge those particular gaps before entry to the register is granted.
IPReg has a wide discretion to direct such measures as it considers are necessary, and they may include one or a combination of:
- any of the Qualifying Examinations set out in the Examination and Admissions Rules 2011;
- a period of supervised practice, in the UK or elsewhere;
- training on any number of areas as specified by IPReg;
- any other activity or the provision of any other evidence or information as specified by IPReg.
English or Welsh language competence
Applicants will need to provide evidence of competence in the English or Welsh languages. This can be done by:
- showing that your degree was taught in the English or Welsh languages and is equivalent to a UK Framework for Higher Education Level 6 (e.g. Bachelor’s) degree; or
- successfully passing an English or Welsh language assessment which must be equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), Level C2. You must have been assessed on your reading, writing, listening and speaking ability.
Applicants will need to confirm to IPReg at the point of application, whether:
- they will be living and practising in the UK or elsewhere;
- they will be practising in a supervised setting, and if so whether they will be supervised by an attorney registered by IPReg;
- they will be providing IP services directly to the public or whether they will be working in-house; and
- they intend to set up their own practice (please note that professional indemnity insurance is required).
Applications on the basis of non-UK qualifications can be complex and time consuming to process. In most cases, the Patent Regulation Board and/or the Trade Mark Regulation Board (as relevant), made up of professional and lay members of IPReg’s Board, will consider the application and make the decision. This is due to the importance of ensuring applicants are competent to practise UK patent and/or trade mark attorney work and the need to protect consumers and uphold the reputation of the professions.
The application fee for entry to either the patent attorney register or the trade mark attorney register, is £560.00.
The application fee for entry to both registers is £784.
The application fee is calculated on the basis of 5 Regulation Board members (or 7 in the case of an application to both registers) spending 2 hours to consider, discuss and decide on an individual application. The pro-rata hourly rate for Board members, is £56 per hour. Please contact us for an invoice for payment of your fees.
Some applications may be so complex or novel that IPReg considers additional time is required to consider the application and/or an external advisor needs to be engaged. The applicant will be charged the cost of the additional work required which will be discussed with the applicant.
If your application is successful, you will be required to pay the annual practice fee in the relevant practice category.
IPReg aims to process all applications within 4 months of receipt of a completed application. An application will be considered completed if:
- it is made on the relevant application form;
- it is accompanied by evidence of English or Welsh language competency;
- the applicant has provided sufficient detail or information for a decision to be made; if not, the application will be considered ‘on hold’ until all the information required is provided;
- the applicant has provided a Framework Competency self-assessment
- the applicant has paid the application fee and, if required, any additional fee as directed by IPReg
Where an applicant is asked to provide additional information and they fail to do so within 2 months, IPReg may treat the application as withdrawn. The refund of any application fee will be at IPReg’s discretion.
There are no formalities required for any professional physically in the UK to provide services in the UK on a temporary basis using their home title (e.g. “Patentanwalt” or “Conseils en propiete industrielle”, etc.). Such attorneys do not have to register with IPReg but we would expect such professionals to respect the Overarching Principles and Rules of Conduct whilst in the UK.
Any foreign attorney practising in the UK should, however, be aware that professional titles of “Patent Attorney”, “Patent Agent”, “Registered Trade Mark Attorney” and “Registered Trade Mark Agent” are protected titles in the UK and only qualified professionals on the Registers of Patent Attorneys and Trade Mark Attorneys are permitted to use such titles in the course of business in the UK. Unauthorised use of a protected title is a criminal offence. However, no offence is committed by patent attorneys on the EPO Register of Professional Representatives using the term “European Patent Attorney” or “European Patent Agent”.
Practising in the UK under the temporary practice rules does not entitle foreign qualified professionals to undertake reserved legal activities in the UK such as appearing before the courts in intellectual property matters or acting as a Commissioner for Oaths.