Good news for regulated patent and trade mark attorneys, particularly those who make use of flexible or “agile” working arrangements! The IP Regulation Board (IPReg) has recently removed the 25% cap that it applied to “non-interactive” activities such as watching a recorded webinar rather than the live broadcast.
Previously, an attorney could claim no more than 4 hours’ worth of CPD a year for such activities. From now on, they will be entitled to claim 100% of the time they spend watching webinars, whether live or not, so long as the content is relevant to their professional development.
Back in September 2017, IP Inclusive submitted comments to IPReg (see here), pointing out the potential impact of the 25% cap on diversity and inclusivity. In its 5 June 2019 announcement about the changes, IPReg wrote:
“IP Inclusive [also] expressed a concern that such restrictions can unintentionally disadvantage patent and trade mark attorneys who – for medical reasons, or in order to care for children or other dependents – work part-time, as well as those who have difficulty accessing training which involves significant travel.”
It said that the waiver of the 25% cap “will help to ensure that attorneys undertake CPD activities that are relevant to them and their clients rather than activities that may be less relevant but count for more CPD hours”, and that it wanted to ensure that its rules around CPD “do not create a perverse incentive for attorneys to participate in or undertake CPD activities which are not providing value to them or their practice, simply because they count for more hours than other more valuable or relevant activities.”
We are delighted that IPReg, in revising its CPD rules, has taken the IP Inclusive community’s views into account.