We are pleased to confirm that our extensive team of European Patent Attorneys across our offices in the UK and Germany will have rights to represent clients in the new forum of the Unified Patent Court (UPC).

As Europe’s new court moves ever closer, documents have now been released from the inaugural meeting of its Administrative Committee following the commencement of the Provisional Application Period earlier this year. These documents include the agreed rules on representation before the new court, including in particular the role of European Patent Attorneys.

Background

The UPC is designed as a single court to take over responsibility for handling litigation of European patents in participating member states, albeit that in practice transitional measures will mean that existing systems continue in parallel for some time. Participating member states of the UPC will, at least initially, be a subset of the states of the European Union (unlike the European Patent Office (EPO), which includes all EU member states and other European nations, like the UK). It is advisable to consider whether your patents best suit being part of the new system or remaining in the national system, and we would be pleased to discuss this with you.

In order to provide a cost effective forum and to take advantage of existing expertise in Europe, it has always been considered desirable that European Patent Attorneys should have a role in assisting clients at the UPC. Nevertheless, qualification as a European Patent Attorney focuses on patent prosecution at the EPO rather than litigation and in recognition of this the UPC Agreement establishes that European Patent Attorneys should demonstrate their suitability to practice at the court either through a European Patent Litigation Certificate (EPLC) or in another way.

The question of which alternatives to the EPLC are considered sufficient is particularly apposite at the court’s outset, as it is only once the system is in place that EPLC will be able to run. This issue has now been formally decided.

UK and German patent attorneys both recognised

Many European Patent Attorneys are in fact dual-qualified, holding specific national qualifications as well as the right to practice before the EPO. The relevant levels of training differ between member states. In the rules ratified by the Administrative Committee, the skills of both the UK and German professions are recognised, and qualifications commonly held by European Patent Attorneys in those countries are listed as suitable to establish capability to represent at the court during an initial period.  At Venner Shipley we already have a litigation team and now we are able to combine the experience of our litigation lawyers with that of our European Patent Attorneys for your benefit.

This decision is to be welcomed, as it ensures a strong skills base will be available to the court.

Click here for more information on our UPC Knowledge Hub.