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Author(s): Dr. Thorsten Bausch (for HOFFMANN EITLE)

According to Article 48(2) of the Agreement on a Unified patent court (UPC Agreement), European patent attorneys (EPAs) may represent parties before the Unified Patent Court (UPC), provided they have appropriate qualifications such as a European Patent Litigation Certificate (Certificate). The wording of this article according to which EPAs who have appropriate qualifications "such as" a Certificate suggests that EPAs can prove their appropriate qualifications also by different means, the Certificate being the most prominent one of them.

Article 48(3) of the UPC Agreement states that the Administrative Committee shall establish the requirements for such qualifications. Therefore, a draft decision determining the rules on the European Patent Litigation Certificate and other appropriate qualifications (Draft EPLC decision) must be prepared, in order to be formally adopted by the Administrative Committee after the entry into force of the UPC Agreement.

On June 13, 2014, the Legal Working Group of the Preparatory Committee finalized its proposals on the draft European Patent Litigation Certificate, publishing it on www.unified-patent-court.org and allowing users to make comments and representations. The consultation closed on Friday 25 July 2014.

HOFFMANN EITLE, as one of Europe’s largest IP-specialized law firms with about 100 patent professionals and a clientele including a multitude of prestigious corporations from all over the world, took this opportunity and submitted comments as well. Hoffmannn Eitle is of the firm opinion that the interests of parties before the UPC are served best if the parties have a choice between an attorney-at-law and a European Patent Attorney or a team of both for their individual case. This is particularly important for small or medium-sized clients. Litigation before the UPC will most likely become expensive enough, at least compared to the existing cost level in Germany. Anything the Administrative Committee can do to keep litigation costs before the UPC to a minimum may be expected to contribute to the success of the UPC. Depriving parties of a reasonable choice will not help.

You may download a copy of our submission below.

HE Comments on Rules on the European Patent Litigation Certificate (PDF / 232 KB)