Letter from Rt Hon Lord Smith – Chair

Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in becoming a professional member of the IPReg Board. I hope this candidate brief gives you all the information you need about the requirements of this role. You can also find more information about us on our website: https://ipreg.org.uk/. Our ambition is to be a regulator that patent and trade mark attorneys are proud to be regulated by.

This is an exciting time to be part of legal services regulation – and the intellectual property sector (IP) in particular which will play a key role in the UK’s future economic success. We have just finished a major review of our regulatory arrangements; they came into force on 1 July and implementation has gone smoothly. We have therefore turned our focus and resources to a major education project. We want to support and drive initiatives to improve equality, diversity and inclusion in the professions. Our main focus to date has been to sponsor organisations that support and encourage children and young adults into science, technology, engineering and maths careers. In the course of our work, we have identified a number of regulatory policy concerns in the route to qualification for patent attorneys (particularly at the advanced level). We will therefore be considering in detail the issues raised by the patent attorney qualification route. This will include consideration of whether the IP sector should develop an apprenticeship route to qualification as a patent attorney and, if so, what initial steps need to be taken.

Legal services regulators also face some real practical challenges including the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence by lawyers and, as is the case in so many regulatory environments, you will face intense scrutiny from demanding (and often challenging) stakeholders.

Because regulation is not legally separate from representative bodies, the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) have an “oversight” role. We also have an “oversight” regulator – the Legal Services Board (LSB). Our relationship with these bodies is therefore a very important one and this means navigating the fine line between recognising their role and ensuring independent regulation.  

Our executive team is small, but very capable and effective, with only 7 people (most working part time). Being part of the Board brings involvement with fascinating issues and interesting challenges; it is immensely enjoyable. I hope you do decide to put yourself forward for the role.

If this is a role that interests you, we would very much like to receive your application. You can find all the details on how to apply further along in this brief. If you have any further questions about the role once you have read this candidate brief please contact Thewlis Graham on 0207 850 4781 or email: applications@thewlisgraham.com for a confidential conversation with Sarah Thewlis.


Chris Smith