"I don't know if you can find space on the IPKat for a short item on what we [in this context, the Intellectual Property Office] have been doing regarding one of your ongoing themes (rightly so) -- unsolicited mail. This is where, out of the blue, owners and applicants of rights, receive 'official looking' mail, asking for payment to do something like, eg a renewal or otherwise offering some kind of 'service'.The IPO may have its failings, but it is to be praised for the efforts it is making to staunch the flow of money from legitimate businesses, struggling to get their new initiatives off the ground, into the pockets of scam-mongers, fakers and peddlers of false expectations.
This problem has been around for a number of years of course and doesn't just afflict us and UK rights holders. My colleagues have asked me to get in touch with you to advise of some recent action we have taken in the trade mark registry:
We have issued a mail shot to all unrepresented trade mark proprietors of registered marks, warning them that they may receive unsolicited mail. New customers are warned when filing their application [Bravo, roars the Kat: this is just what's needed -- and it's something which registering offices can do, on a routine basis, more easily and efficiently than would be the case if we imposed a duty on private practitioners to send these warnings].
[excellent, says the Kat -- this sort of cooperation is just what's needed. Adds Merpel, let's just hope some miserable so-and-so doesn't pronounce this information-sharing contrary to the EU Data Protection Directive, which seems to have been the graveyard of so many bright initiatives].
This is in addition to ongoing liaison with our legal team to ascertain if there is anything that can be done from a legal perspective in the UK [Aha, says the Kat: this supports the contention that it's not clear that something can be done -- so will IP-sensitive Members of Parliament and their minders please take note?], as well as discussions with the IP profession, who are also very much affected.
I hope you and your readers will agree this is going further than simply putting a warning up on our website. We realise that we must engage others in this particular issue and there is no simple solution but we have been and are taking it very seriously".
blogger Roland Maguire ("insight + execution") writes to tell the Kat as follows:
"I have taken to posting the fake invoices back to the specified bank without stamping the envelope and with the word scam written over it. If enough people do this it will make life difficult for the offending parties".Interesting suggestion, muses the IPKat, but do remember not to write your name and address on the back of the envelope.
|Not all origami turns out right ...|
That stalwart of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) in the UK, Vicki Salmon, writes on a subject that will be of interest and importance to patent and trade mark attorneys planning to litigate in England and Wales:
"I wondered whether you would be willing to give some publicity to some changes that are happening with respect to patent attorney (and trade mark attorney) litigation qualifications.So now you know!
In the light of the changes brought in by the Legal Services Act 2007, CIPA has been looking at the rights of patent attorneys to litigate and the changes which need to take place before the transitional provisions come to an end. IPReg are working on a consultation paper which we hope will be published in the next month or so. However, while the overall structure is looked at in the wider context, we have already been taking steps to make it easier for patent attorneys to acquire the Patent Attorney Litigator (PAL) qualification.
Until now, the only accredited course was a 2 year LLM run by Nottingham Law School. However, I expect the CIPA Litigator Accrediting Board shortly to approve a new one year course which will be run by Nottingham. We have taken advantage of work already done by ITMA and Nottingham in preparing a course for ITMA members to acquire similar rights. In contrast to CIPA, ITMA has split their litigating rights into Litigation Rights before the County Court and the High Court (with no advocacy rights) and Advocacy Rights before the County Court and in High Court applications in private. Therefore the course has been designed in separate sections for ITMA members. Anyone seeking the PAL certificate is expected to complete BOTH parts.
The course is due to start in July 2011, which is not far away now. So if anyone is interested in the course, they should contact Dyanne Hughes as soon as possible. We have put a notice on the CIPA website here. There is further information on the Nottingham Law School website here, and Dyanne can be contacted by email here".