Scheme to offer free legal support to those involved in intellectual property disputes

A scheme will be launched today (Monday, October 17) to offer free legal advice and support to patent and trade mark holders in legal disputes.

The IP Pro Bono scheme, to be launched at 5pm today by Sean Dennehey, Acting Chief Executive of the Intellectual Property Office, has been designed to help small businesses and individuals involved in disputes about intellectual property such as a patent, trade mark, protected design or copyright. 

Mr Dennehey said:

“I am delighted to mark the launch of this new service. I am sure that the service will prove invaluable to those businesses struggling to afford the costs of professional representation. I am pleased that the IPO has been able to support the initiative and I look forward to hearing progress of the service.”

IP Pro Bono is a collaboration between a number of leading IP organisations including the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA), the professional body for patent attorneys in the United Kingdom – which manages the scheme, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA), the Intellectual Property Lawyers’ Association (IPLA) and The Law Society.

The scheme was set up in response to a challenge set by His Honour Judge Hacon, presiding judge of London’s Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, for IP legal services providers to offer advice and support to unrepresented claimants and defendants in IP disputes.

The service is available to those who cannot reasonably afford to pay for professional advice from a firm. A case officer will assess applications and, if the applicant meets the stated criteria, allocate the case to one of the participating firms on a rota basis. 

More information will be available at from 5pm today (17th October).