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IPReg Consultation on simplifying and modernising the examination system for qualifying as a patent attorney

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IPRegIPReg has now confirmed that their recent consultation looking at the UK patent attorney exam system has closed. Not surprisingly there were a large number of responses and IPReg is suggesting a minimum of 3 months but more likely 6 months before their conclusions are published.

All the responses will, in time, be published unless you contact them and inform them otherwise.

See below for a selection of published responses to the consultation.

For what it’s worth this ipcopywriter also submitted a response to IPReg. Although it may be outside the scope of IPReg’s remit I think that pushing ahead with the proposals now would miss a prime opportunity to fine tune our examination system to get as many UK patent attorneys ready for the Unified Patent Court as possible. The requirements for obtaining representation rights at the UPC are still in a state of flux and the exact nature of the UK examination system may factor into the negotiations currently underway. Changing the system now seems a tad premature and possibly short sighted. My full response is copied below:

I believe the views of the UK patent profession are being well represented by both the submissions from CIPA and from the Informals. I do not plan to expand upon the comments made in those responses.

I would however like to raise the issue of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the rights of representation at the UPC under Articles 48(1) and 48(2) of the UPC Agreement. Although the UPC and the proposed European Patent Litigation Certificate may possibly be outside of the remit of IPReg, I believe that to push ahead now with potential changes to the UK patent attorney qualification process would be premature and in a worst case scenario may undermine the efforts of the UK profession to secure representation rights at the UPC.

Furthermore, it seems likely that within the next year or two the exact requirements for UPC representation will be finalised. It is at that point, I would suggest, that the UK profession should look at its training programme and hone it to allow qualification to the UPC with the minimum of extra effort for new comers to the profession. The ability for UK-EPAs to represent clients at the UPC will be of high importance, especially for revocation actions which will offer clients the ability to attack a patent centrally (across UPC states) in a similar manner to the EPO Opposition process.

Mark Richardson 25 March 2014

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