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Page published on 8th June 2023
Page last modified on 8th June 2023

 

The Intellectual Property Regulation Board, IPReg, has introduced new regulatory arrangements. We’re delighted to see the inclusion of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI)-related objectives at their very core.

IPReg’s new Core Regulatory Framework is based on certain “overarching principles”: the ethical behaviours that it expects all regulated persons to uphold. Included in those principles is an expectation that regulated professionals must “act in a way that encourages equality, diversity and inclusion in and by the profession”.

Meanwhile the guidance that accompanies the new arrangements includes a section on “continuing competence”, in which the following learning topics (see section 12), all key to EDI and wellbeing and in particular to inclusivity, feature as suggestions for patent and trade mark attorneys’ professional development:

  • Knowledge and awareness of equality and diversity – for example, about equality legislation or how to make reasonable adjustments for clients or colleagues.
  • Issues such as unconscious bias.
  • Management issues – such as effective supervision, training on recruitment and employment law, business planning or managing an effective complaints system.
  • Activities to encourage inclusive leadership and management and the importance of ongoing learning on mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace.

In connection with the latter two items, IPReg comments that: “These issues affect not only inclusivity (and thus also diversity) in the workplace, but also attorneys’ productivity, resilience and general fitness to practise”.

The newly-introduced continuing competence arrangements replace the previous hours-based continuing professional development (CPD) system with an approach that helps attorneys maintain their competence in a way that is relevant to them and their practice, putting the responsibility for maintaining competence on the individual attorney.

All the new regulatory arrangements come into force on 1 July 2023. IPReg consulted widely before finalising them and IP Inclusive contributed to those consultations: see here.

You can access more general information about the arrangements at https://ipreg.org.uk/pro/new-regulatory-arrangements-0.

IPReg regulates registered patent and trade mark attorneys in the UK, as well as the entities in which they practise. It works closely with the two representative bodies CIPA and CITMA, and has also kindly involved IP Inclusive in collaborations on EDI-related issues, one of its regulatory objectives being to encourage an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession.

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