It is possible for businesses or individuals to file applications to protect their intellectual property rights directly with the UKIPO and government offices in some other jursidictions. However this may not be advisable, since the protection systems are complex and mistakes at the outset can lead to loss of rights. It is also time-consuming to manage a portfolio of intellectual property rights, so many businesses appoint specialist IP advisors (often referred to as “attorneys”) to represent them.

It is often possible to arrange an initial advice meeting with an IP attorney for free, or for a fixed fee, and this may be a worthwhile investment, even for a fledgling enterprise. It is helpful to be well prepared for such meetings, to make the best use of the time offered.

If you are thinking about instructing a patent or trade mark attorney, you may find this consumer leaflet useful as it sets out some of the important questions you may wish to ask a prospective attorney about their pricing and service. 

In addition, CITMA runs regular free online advice clinics in London and CIPA runs regular free advice clinics at locations throughout the UK. These CITMA and CIPA clinics can also help you to decide if you need more specialist advice.