Founded in 1934, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys is a professional body in Great Britain that promotes high standards of training, qualification and ongoing education to ensure that those attorneys who are in the trade mark profession are able to undertake on behalf of both large and small clients all the work that needs to be done so that trademarks and other intellectual property rights can be secured both in the United Kingdom and abroad. It also represents both the national and international interests of the profession.
The Legal Services Act was passed in 2007 and the regulation of the profession of trademark attorneys came under its authority. A separate arm of the Intellectual Property Regulation Board is delegated the responsibility of regulating the profession.
The membership of the Institute is comprised of those who are fully qualified trademark attorneys as well as those who are in the process of becoming trademark attorneys and professionals in other areas which are related to the profession, such as barristers who have an interest in trademarks and design. There are usually about 1,600 members at any time.
The Institute engages in several activities in order to help and further the trademark profession. It tries to influence both UK and overseas authorities so that the laws and practices adopted to implement trademark systems works for the owners and users of these systems. It maintains relationships with the government of the UK and other international organisations such as the World Intellectual Property Office, the European Community Trade Mark Office and other professional organisations that are responsible for trademark attorneys working overseas.
The Institute also advances the value of trademarks and the importance of intellectual property to the welfare of both small and large businesses. It is also responsible for monitoring the regulatory arm, IPReg, so that what the Institute is required to do as laid out under the Legal Services Act is being done and those rules and regulations and the actions of the IPReg are also being implemented for the mutual benefit of the profession and the public.
Litigation rights can also be authorised by the Institute to its Fellow or Ordinary members who are suitably qualified and who are also registered trademark attorneys.
The members of the Institute elect a set of officers and a council. A chief executive and support staff help to support these elected officials.
Dr. Catherine Wolfe, from Boult Wade Tennant in London, is the President, having been elected to the position in April 2012. Squire Sanders’ Chris McLeod of is the First Vice-President; Kate O’Rourke of Charles Russell is Second Vice-President and Tania Clark of Withers & Rogers is Treasurer.
There are a number of committees that handle the work of the Institute and focus its efforts in lobbying the various bodies on behalf of trademark attorneys and owners of trademarks. By keeping abreast of practice arising from decisions of the courts in the UK and developments in the law, the Institute uses its central position to determine the training needs of the profession and puts on numerous educational events throughout the year.