A report was issued in June 2023 by The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) setting out the problems and disruptions caused by unqualified and unregulated representatives in the UK Intellectual Property (IP) system. These unregulated representatives claim to have the ability to represent others at the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) but have been found to often be based overseas with no understanding of UK IP law and no formal address in the UK other than a PO box.

The findings in the CITMA report include:

  1. Consumers of the UK IP system face higher costs, delays and disruptions to business as a result of the unregulated representatives.
  2. The problem of unregulated representatives is increasing.
  3. The majority of Chartered Trade Mark Attorneys believe the IPO should change the rules to prevent this problem.

It is hoped that the CITMA report will encourage the UKIPO to launch their own enquiry into the matter and result in a law change that makes it compulsory to have a UK address for service and to be properly regulated by an appropriate UK body, such as The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys or The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, as is the case with Bailey Walsh & Co. LLP. This would ensure consumers of the UK IP system receive proper, timely and accurate legal advice, give consumers the means of redress in the event of complications, save costs and prevent unnecessary delays.

All the representatives of Bailey Walsh & Co. LLP are regulated by The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, thereby rightly subjecting us to stringent codes of conduct and practise. These codes require us, as an example, to only advise on matters within our own expertise and competence, to ensure we have appropriate professional indemnity insurance and to provide a complaint handling procedure. 

Unregulated representatives do not have to abide by these standards and requirements. In fact, there are numerous examples of unregulated representatives misadvising clients, not reporting key deadlines to their clients, not handling problems when they arise, and not understanding how to handle problems when they arise.

More worryingly is the scale on which unregulated representatives are being used to represent client in the UK IP system. The CITMA report shows that five of the top ten trade mark filing companies in the UK are overseas companies comprising unregulated representatives with no operational place of business in the UK. 

The problem of unregulated representatives is not just confined to the UK IP system, but other countries appear to be tackling the issue more effectively. For example, in the USA, all foreign-domiciled trade mark applicants, registrants and parties to contentious proceedings must be represented by an attorney licensed to practise law in the United States. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) require representatives to be qualified in the European Economic Area (EEA) and must be an EEA citizen and have a proper place of business in the EEA.

A copy of the full CITMA report can be found below:


We recommend that all potential users of the UK IP system check that the representatives they have chosen to use or intend to use to pursue their IP rights in the UK are fully qualified and regulated individuals and companies. We can assure both our existing and potential clients that Bailey Walsh & Co. LLP is all these things!