CIPA elects Richard Mair as new President

The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys has elected Richard Mair as President for 2020.

He begins his one-year term of office today (1st January 2020) after being elected at the Institute’s 136th Annual General Meeting on 5th December 2018. He served as Vice-President to Julia Florence during 2019. Richard has spent 30 years of his 40 year career at the firm of Abel & Imray, and becomes the 6th CIPA President from that firm.

He said: “We embark on a New Year in which it finally looks inevitable that the UK will formally leave the EU. Credit however to the UK IPO which has worked hard to put in place the necessary legislation to secure the continuation of rights in the UK of proprietors of existing EU Trade Marks and Designs.

“Brexit does, of course, provide opportunities as well as disadvantages. It gives the opportunity to level the playing field in terms of rights of representation and address for service for UK Patents, Registered Designs and Registered Trade Marks, which CIPA will be pressing for to end the unjust inequality that our members currently have to live with.

“I have been most impressed by the various preparations made by UK firms to deal with the deleterious effects of Brexit – whether that be by CIPA and CITMA members taking and passing the Irish professional examination, setting up offices within EU27 countries, teaming up with firms in EU27 countries and/or using ancestry in EU27 countries to acquire a relevant nationality, in order to maintain rights of representation at the EUIPO. I am convinced that that investment will be well rewarded.

We live in an age of misinformation and, worse, disinformation. Both are very dangerous.

“Misinformation can be picked up by our competitors and used against us, either as disinformation or simple ignorance. One particular example occurred during the CIPA International Liaison Committee delegation’s meeting in Tokyo with the Japan Patent Attorneys Association in February. I gave a talk on Brexit and the first question raised was on the lines “You tell us that the EPC is unaffected by Brexit, but what does the EU have to say about that?” Apart from the usual explanation that the EPC is not an EU Convention, I was fortunately able to find quickly the article on the EPO website about CIPA’s visit in 2018 with then President Battistelli confirming the point, but it does show what misleading information is circulating.

“Among several important initiatives, CIPA members will already be aware of the Mercer Review of the education, training and assessment of UK patent attorneys. Members were requested by CIPA’s e-mail of 10th December 2019 to provide their views, and I do encourage our members to express their opinions so that the Review can be as effective as possible. The deadline for responses is 14th February 2020.

“A very important matter for the UK in a post-Brexit world will of course be trade agreements. CIPA is working with the other IP professions, UKIPO and DIT to ensure that IP is considered in trade agreement negotiations and we look forward to continuing this work in 2020.

“Lastly, I have a personal ambition which is to inaugurate an annual Presidential Charitable event, to take place in the autumn. Watch this space!

“And may I wish all our members a very Happy and, in particular, Prosperous New Year!”

Date Published: 01 January 2020

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