Patent Office name change

The fallout from Gowers continues. The Patent Office has announced that it will be changing its name to the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) from 2 April 2007 (1 April is a Sunday, and the comments from cynics, a breed almost completely unknown in the IP world, would be just too scathing).

Since the Patent Office is referred to by name in a number of pieces of legislation, the words 'UK Intellectual Property Office is an operating name of the Patent Office' will be used until the legislation can be suitably amended.

The IPKat is torn. On the one hand he thinks its right that the body's name should accurately describe what it does. On the other, his underutilised romantic side rather likes the slightly archaic undertones of the name 'Patent Office'. On a more practical note, he wonders if this means that a change to the Patent Office URL and email addresses is on its way.

Finally, he notes that the nifty new logo incorporates the slogan 'For Creativity and Innovation'. This doesn't really cover trade marks does it?
Patent Office name change Patent Office name change Reviewed by Anonymous on Thursday, March 01, 2007 Rating: 5


  1. I understood that the French (and also, it would appear, the European Commission) considered the term "intellectual property" to relate to copyright and the like where creativity is present and "industrial property" to relate to the world of patents and trade marks, with designs being somewhere in the middle. What was wrong with the UK patent and trademark office, UKPTO? At least then we would be following the lead of the US and Germany.

    How should we pronounce UKIPO? I propose "you-key-po". Any better suggestions?

  2. I can only agree with you on the comment that 'cynics' are 'a breed almost completely unknown in the IP world' and point out to Charles Dickens quote from 'A Poor Man's Tale of a Patent' where the protagonist says:
    "I have been married five and thirty year, come next April. I was
    married on All Fools' Day. Let them laugh that will. I won a good
    wife that day, and it was as sensible a day to me as ever I had."

  3. WIPO of course uses the term "intellectual property" to include both industrial property and copyrights and related rights. The UK Patent Office is merely following the example of IP Australia which renamed itself from the Australian PO a few years ago. Merely talking about patents and trade marks excludes Design Rights and the UKPO's contributions to copyright

  4. Actually, in France we consider that the terms "intellectual property" include "industrial property" (i.e. trademarks, patents, designs, etc.) and what we like to call "literary and artistic property" (i.e. copyright and neighbouring rights).

    This is why we have an Intellectual Property Code (Code de la propriété intellectuelle) that deals with all of the abovementioned.

    The Office in charge of filings for trademarks, patents and industrial designs is the National Institute for Industrial Property (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle - INPI).

    From a French perspective, this change of name seems more consistent with the office's real activities.

    As to the slogan, what word could be added to refer to trademarks as well....? (and designs?).

  5. I though the best trade marks are those which are innovative

  6. Is this just a cynical ploy to get unintended party donations from baffled Euro-sceptic voters?

    Will UKIP (the UK independence party) now launch a claim for passing-off?

    What implications does this have for Robert Kilroy-Silk?

    All valid questions I think.

  7. Dear Billy,

    To take your questions in the order posed:

    (1) The logo contains the word 'intellectual' which ought to render it distant enough from the majority of Euro -Sceptics.

    (2) One would hope their lawyers would advise against such a course, since the respective areas of activity are somewhat distant.

    (3) Hmmm, I'm sure he'll live and find much pleasure in occasional TV appearances and perma tan treatment, depsite the existence of this logo.


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