The UK Patent Office has rebranded itself as the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), forgetting to get a trademark for its own name in the process.
Cheeky trademark attorneys Joshi & Welch obtained a mark for UKIPO and UK-IPO, before offering it back to the office for free.
“They’re using UK IPO, but haven’t filed for it; even the website’s called ipo.gov,” said partner Manish Joshi. “They’re the guardians of patents and trademarks, but aren’t aware of what needs to be done in a rebranding.”
The Government office filed for ‘United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office UK-IP’, but not the acronym IPO.
Joshi said: “They’re not phonetically the same or visually the same and other people could have quite legitimately taken that name.”
Joshi said the firm had spoken to senior trademark hearing officers Lawrence Cullen and Mike Knight about returning the mark, but had received no response.
The UK IPO has just embarked on a nationwide push to educate smaller companies on their rights, called, ironically, ‘IP Awareness’.