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Most readers in the patent profession will be aware that changes are afoot in the way trainee patent attorneys will qualify as Chartered Patent Attorneys (CPAs). The changes are spearheaded by IPReg, the regulatory body for patent and trade mark attorneys, and IPReg has released a consultation document, inviting comments.
The proposed changes affect both the foundation and advanced level exams and are, in short, the abolishment of all the foundation exams, to be replaced with approved taught university courses (currently there is an option between these two routes: as a rough estimate, 20-25% of candidates typically take the foundations route), and the abolishment of Advanced papers P3 (drafting) and P4 (amendment) to be replaced with the equivalent European Qualifying Examination (EQE) papers, or the EQE as a whole (currently, candidates may either sit P3 and P4, or may gain exemption by passing the equivalent EQE papers: many candidates will sit P3 and P4 at least once, even if they ultimately use the exemption for qualification).
As someone who is currently training in this profession, and who, last October, sat three of the exams that would be jettisoned by these changes (two foundation papers and P3), I have some fairly strong feelings on IPReg’s suggestions. They are not positive. I confess that I morph into something of a grumpy old man when the subject comes up in conversation, so this post might get a bit ranty. It’s probably best enjoyed with some kind of rousing, team-building, battle-inducing tune in the background*.