In recent time, there have been some important changes made by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) on the requirements for a UK Address for Service (UK AFS). In particular, three important dates from January 2021, 2023 and 2024:
The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) defines an “address for service” as:
“an address that you use to correspond with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and also for the purposes of proceedings under IP legislation. It can be your address, or if you wish, you can provide the address of your attorney or representative”.
However, the UK AFS must be an address in the UK (including Isle of Man), Gibraltar or the Channel Islands.
You may need a UK address for service if you currently do not have a valid UK AFS address and you wish to:
For more details on recent changes to contentious proceedings, read our UK IPO blog update.
No, although the current UKIPO guidance is that a UK AFS is only needed when the trademark/design becomes subject to certain proceedings (or for new trademark/design applications to the UK IPO), it is advisable that one is set one up in advance of any issues. This is because it may not be prudent to heavily rely on the UK and international postal system for timely notice of proceedings given that the UKIPO only provides one month “from the date of the letter” for the holder of a registration to provide a UK AFS.
At the time of writing, the Royal Mail advises they aim to deliver letters to Europe within 5 working days and worldwide within 7 working days. Adding in various factors including recent industrial action and the move to remote working, by the time the UKIPO letter is actually received, there may little time (if any) of the original one month period remaining.
A UK Address for Service is appointed using UK IPO form TM33 (or TM33P for opponents and cancellation applicants).
Your address provider, such as Elemental, can complete the form on your behalf.
Further information on our UK address for service fees can be found here.
When appointing a UK Address for Service, you should consider the following:
Elemental has been providing registered address services and process agent address services to many clients from all over the world. Our address service has been in place for 80+ years and remains an important part of the corporate services we offer law firms, advisors and their clients.
For further details visit our product page for UK Address for Service.
The guide is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you are in any doubt as to your legal obligations you should obtain independent legal advice.