North East practice launches one-stop trade mark database

Linda Tsang reports

North East firm Smith & Graham is making its mark with the launch of a new trade marks search database service which offers instant access to all UK registered trademarks.

In a move considered to be the first in the area, it is envisaged that the computer link can be used to provide instant access to the trade marks database, through Waterlow's Information Services, and so help prevent companies using a trade name which has already been registered.

Trade mark applications to the Trademarks Registry in London are currently running at a level of about 50,000 per year.

Smiths partner Jonathan Armstrong comments: "The new Trade Marks Act 1994 has changed the way companies need to think about trade marks. This link is an essential tool in providing a complete trade marks service to our clients. They need no longer go to London for a first class service of this type."

And with negotiations currently under way between the service providers and the Trademarks Registry, it is anticipated that full on-screen graphics will soon also be incorporated into the system.

Armstrong says that although the database only

allows text-based searches to be carried out at present, these will eventually be visual searches.

He adds that the use of the Smith & Graham system will increase as a result of the

firm's NHS-based clients, in particular for the protection of their logos in the switch to trust status.

Rowe & Maw system

– City firm Rowe & Maw has implemented a new practice management system using Elite software running on a Hewlett Packard Model H70 server supplied by Trace Computers. Head of the firm's IT section Courtney Park says: "We have always generated a vast amount of information, but providing access to it has been very

difficult. The Elite system provides executive information to the decision-makers of the practice, which promises big improvements in productivity and in the quality of service which we provide to our clients."

On-line investigations

– International Legal Network, which specialises in investigative research, has linked up with the Infocheck Group to offer a new on-line service to the legal profession and the commercial sector. The service is aimed at firms involved in tracing and process serving work nationwide, with the client having access to information ranging from the registered office of a limited company to particulars of the directors and the latest filed

accounts. ILN director Simon Hayes says: "The advantage to the client is that it simplifies their work, in that they are only dealing with one point of

contact, which can supply in an

instant corporate information, tracing and process serving."

Next Case Manager

– Bath-based supplier Solicitors Own Software has launched the latest version of its Case Management System. The system is designed to deal with all aspects of case management, and also includes a

relational database which tracks all relevant case information and includes the Case Manager package which automatically calculates fees and costs, keeping a record of disbursements that are incurred on each matter.