“Client money” is defined as money held or received by you or your firm in connection with work undertaken for a client, excluding any advance payments for costs received where the terms have been agreed. Therefore, where a piece of work is agreed with a client and invoiced in advance of the work being done, this can be treated as office money.
IPReg’s rules in relation to client money are set out in the Code of Conduct at paragraph 4. It need not be held in a designated client account but client money must be identifiable and kept separate from money belonging to the practice.
We will ask firms and sole traders to tell us as part of their annual return, whether they have held client money during the course of the year and the highest amount held at any one point. This will help IPReg monitor what we understand to be the relatively low risk in relation to the misappropriation of client monies in the patent and trade mark professions.
More information about client money can be found in our Client Money Guidance.