Earlier this month you probably received an email about the 2016 business plan and budget. It contained a link to this page which includes a nice little letter from Mr Heap the chairman of our regulator, a draft business plan, draft budget and, significantly, a table showing the proposed increases in fees.
Now the proposed increases don't look much, but they do amount to 7% which in a time of 0% inflation is quite stonking. Due to the fact that everybody pays more than one fee the precise impact is going to vary from firm to firm.
I was surprised to see that attorneys who are retired or inactive are paying to remain on the registers £147 for one or £236 for two . I suspect they won't be for much longer. What is the purpose of being on a register if you are retired, so I suppose this means unemployed and looking for a job - so raising that fee is to encourage them into the unregulated world?
Stop Discrimination against Patent and Trade Mark AttorniesIn 2014 I paid as a solo practitioner with no employees £390 and next year they will want £459. If I could limit my practice to one or other of patents and trademarks, then I could make a saving. However, I'm not too sure why I am penalised for offering more comprehensive service to the consumer. This structure encourages over specialisation and should STOP
Amongst the more interesting things the draft business plan promises is a policy on stale examinations. They've been promising this for a while (might even be a little stale itself) but I am not sure if it has anything to do with the notorious CIPA biscuit pixies.
Under Communications they propose to meet with registrants at regular open meetings - which is the same as last year's plan but I can't recall any.
Another thing they intend to do is monitor the enterprise court small claims procedure which is intended to widen access to the lay applicant. Lay applicants do not use regulated people, why am I funding this?
One thing that isn't there is any review of the Insurance sector. At present rule 17 requires any new entity requiring approval to use PAMIA. Isn't it about time they reviewed the market and approved at least one competitor?
While regulation is necessary it seems desirable that we should stop the cost of it escalating. The Chairman's letter acknowledges that mining into ABS structures costs money. This year perhaps their review of what they did will reveal that it had little regulatory benefit. If IPReg is really too small to be cost effective, it should be looking to merge. Put that in the business plan.