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Background
4 April 2023

Representation at the Unified Patent Court

An initial decision for any party looking to take advantage of the UPC will be to build the right team of professional support.

The rules around representation at the UPC have been established with a view to giving parties a broad range of options, recognising in particular that the strength of the patent profession in the United Kingdom remains a valuable asset to the nascent system, notwithstanding that the UK will not itself be participating.

Background

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 representing clients at the UPC, together with those nationally qualified lawyers entitled to represent clients in the courts of the participating countries. Nevertheless, qualification as a European patent attorney focuses on procedure at the European Patent Office (EPO) rather than litigation before the courts and in recognition of this the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court 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.

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 included in the list of those considered sufficient to allow entry on the list of professional representatives before the UPC during an initial period. In future, it is expected that European patent attorneys looking to build a practice before the UPC will qualify by undertaking the EPLC.

This means that Venner Shipley’s European patent attorneys in both Germany and the UK will be entitled to represent clients before the UPC from day one. The UK’s non-participation in the UPC does not limit the right of UK-based European patent attorneys to serve their clients in this way. The members of Venner Shipley’s specialist litigation team will also be on hand to provide their experience and expertise in any matter we handle before the Court.

 

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