Level(s) of Study: Practitioner / Professional

Start Date(s): October 2023

Duration: 6 months

Study Mode(s): Part-time

Campus: City Campus

The course is accredited by the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg). Successful completion of this course will entitle candidates to apply for registration as a Trade Mark Attorney with IPReg.

The advanced course is ONLY open to Solicitors and Barristers who have significant practice experience in trade marks and have completed and/or been exempted from the required modules within the IPReg Foundation Level Qualification.

This Certificate, designed by Nottingham Law School in conjunction with CITMA, is focused on the development of the knowledge base and professional skills required of a registered Trade Mark Attorney in what is now a fragmented and volatile legal services market. Built upon teaching and assessment methods used to train solicitors and barristers, the advanced course will focus on the outcomes required of the practitioner in the Legal Services Act world.

The course:

  • is designed specifically for CITMA trainees and is approved by CITMA / IPREG
  • is skills-based and is built upon similar course delivery techniques as the Legal Practice Course for solicitors and the Bar Training Course for barristers
  • is designed to use a variety of teaching techniques such as interactive lectures, role play and case study exercises and facilitated discussion groups
  • is practical, based on an experiential method of delivery
  • uses an eLearning platform called NOW
  • utilises the skills of practising Trade Mark Attorneys in addition to members of Nottingham Law School faculty. A number of practising Trade Mark Attorneys have undertaken a Nottingham Law School Train the Trainers course to enable them to develop their skills as tutors.
  • uses a method of rotating assessments which means that some assessments are taken throughout the course.
  • is graded like the Nottingham Law School LPC, into Distinction, Commendation and Pass
  • is delivered in a way that suits busy schedules and minimises the time spent away from the office
  • recognises that you will be in private practice or working in-house during the course and seeks to enable you to apply your knowledge and skills to your own practice as soon as possible.
  • is taught by a mixture of assignments and attendance.

Why choose this course?

  • Upon successful the completion of this advanced intensive course you will be eligible to apply for entry on the Register of Trade Mark Attorneys.
  • Course content has a significant focus on the acquisition of professional skills.
  • The course is delivered alongside the Professional Certificate in Trade Mark Practice course.

What is the RTMA Intensive Qualification Course?

The course has been designed to help you to develop practical skills alongside work in the office. The Certificate focuses on the development of knowledge, understanding and skills in professional and work-based practice. For example, you will see that there are assessments in Advocacy before the Registry, Searching and Clearance Reports, and Interviewing and Advising. These are the practical skills used by Trade Mark Attorneys daily. The course seeks to develop case analysis and problem problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions in order to reach sound judgements. The ability to communicate with clients effectively, both orally and in writing, is central to the teaching and assessment strategy.

Am I ready to take the RTMA Intensive Qualification Course?

This is an important question for you, and for your employer.

The IPReg Competency Framework is a useful central criteria and we recommend that you discuss the framework with your employer.

Review both the general skills set and the technical competency requirements.

Look at the type of work you are actually doing in the office. Don’t guess.
As a guide, set aside a period of five days and look, in a critical way, at your timesheet or diary. Consider how much time you spend on administrative or procedural work or substantive legal advice, drafting, research and reporting;

How many of the IPReg technical competencies can you claim as part of your training to date?

For instance, have you completed a first draft of a specification? Have you helped to prepare a Clearance Report with a colleague? Have you drafted any witness statements for use in Registry Proceedings or coexistence agreements? Whilst your draft may not have formed much of the final version you should be able to point to an attempt, or to a review of a draft completed by a more experienced colleague.

Do I need to do more work in the office before starting the RTMA Intensive Qualification Course?

If you find that you cannot claim most of the technical competencies at the IPREG Basic Level, and at least some of the competencies at the intermediate level, you may need to do some additional work before you are ready to undertake the PCTMP.

What should I do if I decide that I am not ready to take the course this year?

This is a personal choice. Review the competencies and reflect, critically, on where you are right now. It is important for you to get the most out of the course and to be able to contribute to discussions and debate. If you have diagnosed a gap in your knowledge or skill base, think about the best way to address it;

  • Do you need to do some additional drafting work?
  • Would it help to be seconded in house (if in private practice) or to a trade mark firm?
  • Could you ask for support from a mentor to help you to work through some of the IPREG Competencies?
  • Do you need to do more oppositions and contentious work if you work only on filings?
  • Would you find it helpful to speak with a PCTMP alumnus on an informal basis to discuss the workload and how best to prepare for the course?

Successful completion of the RTMA Intensive Qualification Course is not the end of the road to qualification. You must satisfy IPReg, by way of Statutory Declaration, of your “substantial experience” in trade mark work and your character and suitability to be a be a Trade Mark and Designs Attorney.

What you’ll study

Modules one and two covers contentious and non contentious trade mark practice.

You will be introduced to the various tasks that you may undertake, from managing a portfolio of trade marks to dealing with trade mark infringement or an action for passing off.

There is significant focus on the acquisition of professional skills, via the use of case studies, in the context of ethics and professional conduct, client interviewing, written and “one to one” client advice and client relationship management.

You will prosecute the various applications made in module one through to registration, including dealing with absolute ground objections and oppositions or invalidations/revocations.

You will also have the opportunity to negotiate with an opponent to the alleged infringement action with a view to putting an agreement in place, a licence or an assignment. Issues such as the mortgaging of trade marks as well as the taxation and potential competition issues (re coexistence agreements) may also be included within the negotiation exercise.

There will be an emphasis on the development of drafting skills (pleadings and skeleton arguments as well as letter writing and advice) as well as case management and client management techniques and advocacy and appearance before the Registry.

In addition, there will be the opportunity for you to also deal with an unsuccessful application to register and an Opposition. You will deal with the refusal, preparing an advice to client and drafting and filing responses, including any issues of client expectation management and the commerciality and strategic nature of advice and options offered to the client.

Click below to find out more about how you’re taught, entry requirements and enrolment dates.

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