For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

CIPA greets Legal Ombudsman with a smile

Now here's a good example of putting a brave face to a development that might have seemed a little unwelcome: a Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) press release today informs the IPKat of its opinion of the newly-introduced Legal Ombudsman service for England and Wales, which opened for business yesterday. This new service covers all lawyers, including patent and trade mark attorneys [This adds a frisson to the old debate.  "You're not real lawyers", say some solicitors and barristers to their patent and trade mark attorney friends. "Oh yes we are", comes the retort, "because we provide legal services and submit to the review of the Legal Ombudsman!"]. The Ombudsman has powers to “put things right” if the service a consumer receives from a lawyer was not satisfactory [Gosh, says Merpel, I wonder how he does that, particularly if it involves missing a European Patent Office or OHIM deadline].  The press release continues:
"The Office of the Legal Ombudsman was set up as part of the reforms of the Legal Services Act 2007, which create a new system for legal complaints. The Act also paves the way for lawyers, including patent and trade mark attorneys, to set up new competitive business structures – in combination with other professionals [This excites the Kats: veterinary practitioners, perhaps? Anyone but accountants ...], and to be owned or take investment from outside companies or individuals.
As part of the changes put in place under the new Act, patent and trade mark attorneys are now regulated by the IP Regulation Board (IPReg). A key reason for having an independent regulator for the IP professions is to provide independent assurance that standards for training, qualifications and business practices remain of the high standard that has earned the UK intellectual property professions an international reputation, and that there is a minimum likelihood of clients having cause for complaint [not that this will stop them ... but where can providers of legal services lodge complaints about clients?].
‘We believe that the IP profession’s existing standards, and their continuing development by IPReg, will mean that very few cases involving patent or trade mark attorneys should ever be referred to the Ombudsman,’ said CIPA’s President Alasdair Poore. Chief Ombudsman, Adam Sampson added: ‘We want to work closely with lawyers and their regulators to raise standards. We want to help prevent complaints and make the legal and justice systems work better’.".
The IPKat is fascinated to see how this will happen.  If his recent perusal of the Solicitors from Hell website is anything to go by, most complaints seem to arise from family and property disputes, personal injuries claims and so on -- he found little evidence of IP practitioners down in the Netherworld.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would it be too unkind to suspect said "some solicitors and barristers" of being rather territorial also with respect to the proposed European patents court?

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