The Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (CITMA) represents the interests of over 1,500 trade mark and design professionals in the UK, many of whom are responsible for the filing and registration of European Union Trade Marks, the resolution of disputes, and the defence and prosecution of infringements at the European Union courts on behalf of their clients.
Without necessary action by government, Britain’s exit from the European Union will be likely to have highly business-critical consequences for CITMA’s members, specifically the risk of losing the right to represent existing and future clients at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
In summer 2017, CITMA approached Freshwater with a brief to develop and deliver a public affairs strategy to assist them in communicating their concerns to the government, and to make the case for ensuring its members could continue to represent clients at the EUIPO post-Brexit.
Freshwater commissioned a new, independent economic analysis and conducted qualitative primary research with representatives from the industry to inform a ‘business case”. The aim of the business case was to highlight the importance of the trade mark, registered design and intellectual property sector to the UK economy and communicate to government the risks involved with Brexit, both for CITMA members and the wider business community.
Freshwater’s in-house graphic designers and copywriters translated the economic argument and primary research into a visually engaging and impactful document which was used to inform media relations activity with national and specialist press, as well as political engagement with key characters in Westminster.
The programme of political engagement was underpinned by a project-specific stakeholder map, produced on CITMA’s behalf by Freshwater’s public affairs team. Public affairs outputs undertaken as part of the programme included written and face to face briefings and engagement with MPs and Peers interested in the implications of Brexit for the intellectual property sector. A total of eight meetings with target parliamentarians were secured during the six month long contact programme, resulting in the establishment of a cohort of political advocates willing to support CITMA’s ongoing efforts.
The business case continues to be used to spearhead CITMA’s continuing lobbying activities and act as evidence to its members of its work to counter the negative implications of Brexit on their industry and those sectors who rely upon it to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights.