Royal Charter for Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys

The IPKat' smile of delight at the
news of ITMA's Royal Charter
On Wednesday the IPKat heard the exciting news that the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) had been granted a Royal Charter at the April 12th meeting of the Privy Council at Windsor Castle.
As most readers will know, ITMA is the UK-based professional membership organisation which represents the interests of the trade mark and designs profession. The grant of a Royal Charter paves the way for ITMA to become the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA). The change will take place later this year, once the Charter receives the Great Seal of the Realm. The IPKat thinks ‘Sitma’ sounds silly and hopes that CITMA members will pronounce it ‘Kitma.’

ITMA Chief Executive Keven Bader said: “As an organisation and profession we have been working towards this for some time. I am delighted this hard work has been recognised and that we have been granted a Royal Charter. I’m sure our qualified members will be looking forward to using the title Chartered Trade Mark Attorney to further distinguish themselves as the experts in trade marks and design matters.”

“ITMA has always played a key role in educating, representing and regulating the trade mark attorney profession… the Charter formalises this role.”

Seal of Approval
Privy Council? Royal Charter? Whaaaat?

Non UK readers may be confused by some of the above. This Kat will do his best to help:

The Privy Council is a group of advisors to the Queen. Constitutional convention dictates that she follows their advice.

A Royal Charter is a way of turning a body of of individuals into a single legal entity. A body incorporated by Royal Charter has all the powers of a natural person, including the power to sue and be sued. Royal Charters were at one time the only way of incorporating a body, but there are now other more commonly used methods (e.g. registering as a company). New Charters are reserved for bodies that work in the public interest (such as professional institutions and charities) and which demonstrate pre-eminence, stability and permanence in their field.

The University of Cambridge was awarded the first Royal Charter in 1231 - hopefully CITMA is as successful and will still be with us in 785 years, exercising its benevolent influence over trade marks.
Royal Charter for Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Royal Charter for Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys Reviewed by Nick Smallwood on Friday, April 15, 2016 Rating: 5


  1. If CITMA is to be pronounced Kitma, then CIPA should be pronounced Kipa, a notion already rejected at an informal CIPA meeting but yesterday, resembling the name of a well known fish dish.

    That being said WELL DONE and FANTASTIC news about the Royal Charter for ITMA.

    AS to title for our jointly qualified bretheren
    Is it ...

    Chartered Patent and Trademark Attorney
    Chartered Trademark and Patent Attorney
    Chartered Patent and Chartered Trademark Attorney
    Chartered Trademark and Chartered Patent Attorney ???

    Answers please on a postcard .......


  2. Royal Charter? It's a little like a Royal Patent, I suppose...

  3. @Pseudononymouse

    At the very least, "trade" and "mark" would be two separate words in all your suggestions, this being the UK and all...

  4. Well done ITMA. Congratulations on the attainment of "Chartered" status after so long. I think it marks a significant step towards accurately delineating which are the professions and what each of them do.

    When I was at university in the 1970's, studying metallurgy and the science of materials, there was a whole slew of learned societies, professional bodies, for materials scientists. You joined a different professional body depending on whether you were a polymer scientist, a ceramics expert, a ferrous metallurgist or a non-ferrous metallurgist. Nowadays, all have coalesced into one profession, that of "Chartered Engineer". Good so.

    Straight after I left university I trained to be a Chartered Patent Attorney. Throughout my career, and latterly from Germany, I have observed the interplay between patent attorneys, trademark agents and "IP lawyers". I like it when practitioners practise only what they are competent to practise. I don't like it when every IP lawyer thinks he is competent to do patents or trademarks. In the patent area, it is inceasingly difficult to hold out that you can handle all technical fields. In trademarks, however, every patent attorney and attorney-at-law can fool themselves that they have all the skills needed to do trademark work, and then mess up the client's valuable assets.

    Where else in the world, other than the UK, do we see three IP professions, complementary, and all at the same appropriate "Chartered" eye level?


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