New name shows that UK office is about all IP rights

United Kingdom

On April 2 2007 the UK Patent Office changed its name to the UK Intellectual Property Office as proposed in the Gowers Review under Recommendation 53 (see Gowers Review focuses on enforcement, costs and flexibility). The change is designed to reflect the breadth of functions and services that the office has and to dispel confusion among IP rights holders.

All forms of intellectual property are important for successful and competitive UK businesses. The office claims that over the years, businesses had commented on the name Patent Office and the fact that it did not reflect all of the responsibilities held by it concerning other IP rights including designs and copyright.

In addition, the office also aims to deal with enforcing IP rights and supporting UK businesses both in the United Kingdom and abroad, as the Gowers Report recommends. These issues are dealt with in the office's own reform programme, Patent Office for the 21st Century.

To avoid any doubt, the office will be using the words "UK Intellectual Property Office is an operating name of the Patent Office" on its material until the necessary legal changes have been made.

According to the trademarks database on the office's website, an application to register the marks UKIPO and UK-IPO was made on March 7 2007 by the trademark attorney firm, Joshi & Welch LLP. As yet, the application has not been examined; although as the change of name was not officially announced until March 30 2007, some might argue that the application was made in bad faith. However, Joshi & Welch have apparently offered to assign the application to the office free of charge. Additionally, the secretary of state for trade and industry applied on December 1 2006 to register the mark UNITED KINGDOM INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OFFICE UK-IPO which could be used as a basis for opposition to the Joshi & Welch application.

Chris McLeod, Hammonds, London

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