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Litigation qualifications offer route for UK-based European Patent Attorneys to act before UPC

Following the inaugural meeting of the Administrative Committee of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), the final rules of representation before the UPC have been released, which include an important update on the role of European Patent Attorneys and the ability of those based in the UK to act before the Court.

A brief history

While the UPC was being created, it was always considered advantageous to exploit the existing experience of European Patent Attorneys.

However, since the European Patent Attorney qualification process focuses on patent prosecution (before the European Patent Office) — rather than litigation — the UPC Agreement stipulates that European Patent Attorneys must demonstrate their suitability to practice before the Court through either a European Patent Litigation Certificate (EPLC) or similar qualification.

UK litigators get the green light

The acceptable alternatives to the EPLC have now been finalised in the rules of representation.

Alongside a host of qualifications provided by European universities and institutes, litigation qualifications issued by UK institutions before 31 December 2020 will now allow the European Patent Attorneys holding those qualifications to act before the UPC.

A significant decision

This significant decision ensures that most UK-based patent attorneys will be able to join their continental colleagues in acting before the UPC.

For more information and answers to the most frequently asked questions about the UPC and unitary patent, visit our dedicated knowledge centre.

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Dr Thomas Gibb

Head of Professional Practice
Southampton