The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) is the professional body for patent attorneys and other IP professionals in the UK.
CIPA’s members include patent attorneys who work in small, medium and large private practices and patent attorneys who work in industrial departments. It has approximately 3,500 members, some 2,000 of those being Fellows of the Institute with the status of Chartered Patent Attorneys. Other members include trainee patent attorneys and other professionals with an interest in intellectual property law.
CIPA’s Royal Charter covers the entire field of intellectual property: patents, trade marks, designs, copyright and associated areas of law. Whilst patent attorneys focus primarily on supporting innovation through the grant and prosecution of patents, many advise clients on the full range of intellectual property protection needed to run successful and prosperous businesses.
CIPA is the representative body for the profession and works to promote the education, standing, training and continuing professional expertise of its members and to establish, maintain and enforce high standards of professional conduct and compliance with the law. These objectives and all of CIPA’s membership benefits and services are delivered through four distinct themes:
- Status – Advancing and promoting the professional status of Chartered Patent Attorneys as a global brand. Chartered Patent Attorney is a protected title which can only be used by Fellows of CIPA.
- Influence – Working to influence intellectual property policy in the UK and abroad in the interests of its members and for the wider public good.
- Learning – Supporting the learning of its members, during initial professional formation when trainees, as well as through high quality, relevant, continuing professional development.
- Community – Providing the infrastructure and resources required for a vibrant community of practice to flourish.
CIPA’s democratically elected Council is responsible for the direction of the Institute, this it achieves through the setting of a three year strategic plan subject to annual review. The strategic plan articulates CIPA’s priority activities under the headings Status, Influence, Learning and Community. In arriving at these activities, CIPA’s Council strives to consult fully with the membership and to canvass the opinion of key stakeholders such as the UK Intellectual Property Office and partner membership organisations including the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys, the Intellectual Property Federation, the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys and other representative bodies.
Much of CIPA’s business is carried out through its network of expert committees and special interest groups. The committees range in activities from specialist technical groups looking at patent law, trade mark law, copyright and design law, litigation and the life sciences, through to more general work such as how CIPA promotes the profession through its media and public affairs work, issuing business practice guidance to members, liaison with CIPA’s international partners and its relationship with the world of academia. CIPA benefits from a highly engaged membership, where many members volunteer to give their time freely in committee work. A team of expert staff support the Council and CIPA’s committees.
The Education & Professional Standards Committee provides CIPA’s overarching strategy for the initial education and support of trainee patent attorneys, through to the career-long Continuing Professional Development (CPD) needed to excel as a Chartered Patent Attorney. CIPA provides support for the ‘Informals’, a special interest group of student members who organise lectures, tutorials and, of course, social events for trainees. In addition, CIPA collaborates with a number of universities and other educational bodies in the provision of training courses for the UK and European qualifications. Qualified patent attorneys benefit from a programme of seminars and webinars designed to ensure that the UK profession is at the forefront of national and international intellectual property law.
CIPA produces a range of students’ training manuals in patents, trade marks and designs. CIPA is a recognised centre of excellence for the publication and distribution of practitioners’ textbooks for the UK, European and international legal systems and the CIPA Guide to the Patents Acts is highly regarded as it provides an essential resource for IP professionals working in this area. Members benefit from a monthly journal containing articles, law updates and news.