“Lawyer” is a general term referring to an individual who provides legal advice. Within the legal profession there are a number of different types of qualified lawyers.

Most people are familiar with the titles “solicitor” and “barrister”.

Lawyers who are a “Patent Attorney”, “Patent Agent” and “Registered Trade Mark Attorney” are specifically qualified to advise on intellectual property law and are subject to regulation by IPReg. Firms or individuals who use titles such as “patent consultant” or “patent advisor” and “trade mark consultant” etc. are unlikely to have any form of professional qualification. You can check on our website Registers here to see who is regulated by IPReg.

Intellectual property law deals with the ownership and protection of ideas; key areas are patents (such as the “formula” for a new medicine or the blueprint for a new industrial process), trade marks (such as the Nike name or the McDonalds Golden Arch logo) and designs (such as the distinctive shape of a container).

The field of intellectual property law has many international aspects and clients can typically range from individual inventors to major multi-national corporations. Practitioners may be sole traders, employed in-house by industry or join an independent partnership.