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Former cabinet minister to chair IP regulator

Smith: Recognising the value of IP to economy

The Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg) has unveiled Lord Smith of Finsbury – better known as the former Labour cabinet minister Chris Smith – as its new chair from next month.

Lord Smith was appointed by an independent appointment panel following an open recruitment process.

IPReg is the joint regulator of both the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents and the Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys. It is also an alternative business structure licensing authority.

IPReg has a chairman and four lay members – who currently include Alan Kershaw, the former chairman of CILEx Regulation – along with three patent attorneys and three trade mark attorneys.

The one-time culture secretary is a former chairman of the Environment Agency and the Advertising Standards Authority, and currently Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

His interest in culture has continued; he chairs the Art Fund and the Wordsworth Trust, and is a member of the London Symphony Orchestra’s advisory council, a trustee of The Sixteen, a choir, and a non-executive board member of music licensing body PPL.

His appointment comes in the wake of the Solicitors Regulation Authority naming Anna Bradley as its new chair [1] from next year. He joins the Bar Standards Board’s Baroness Blackstone [2] as a legal regulator sitting in the House of Lords.

Fran Gillon, the chief executive of IPReg, said: “Lord Smith’s experience from a distinguished career in public office, regulation and academia will be invaluable to IPReg and those we regulate; I am very much looking forward to working with him over the coming years.

“I would like to thank Steve Gregory, who has been acting chair since November 2016, for the leadership he has given the organisation and the support he has given me.”

Lord Smith added: “I am looking forward to working with the board, executive team and our regulated community to ensure that our approach to regulation protects consumers and encourages a diverse profession, whilst recognising the importance and value of intellectual property to the UK economy.”