Report of the Editorial Committee

M. Nollen (BE), Chair

“Highly qualified persons” with writing skills

The Institute of Professional Representatives appears for the first time in the Travaux Préparatoires in the minutes of the meeting of 15-19 May 1972.[1] In the preceding decade, the idea had been that national patent attorneys having sufficient experience would be allowed to practice before the European Patent Office. This, however, led to rather undecided debates in view of the differences in qualification between the member states.

The qualifying examination and the Institute

In the Conference of April 1972 it was stated that provisions were needed “in order to ensure that representation before the Patent Office was undertaken by highly qualified persons”.[2] One month later, it was agreed that in the “final phase” only persons fulfilling the three following conditions would be entitled to act as representatives: they would have to be nationals of one of the Contracting States, have their place of business or employment within the territory of one of the Contracting States, and have passed the European qualifying examination.[3] In this context, the Institute constituted by the persons entitled to act as representatives was mentioned, and it might also be involved in disciplinary matters.[4]

In the meanwhile, the Institute celebrates its 40th anniversary. In addition to the qualifying examination and disciplinary matters, the epi is active as a spokesperson for the representatives at the EPO, stimulates permanent education and publishes epi Information.

Editorial Committee

The Editorial Committee is evidently the place for those “highly qualified persons” with writing skills – not only with writing skills, but also with reviewing skills and with ambition. And I am very pleased to introduce the new Editorial Committee, increased from four to eight members plus a delegate and a staff member:

Editorial Committee

Photo: A. Leganza (Italy), J. Schmid (Germany), M. Nevant (France), M.Nollen (Belgium), S. Amira (Monaco), L. Casey (Ireland), D. Herrmann (Germany), M. Thesen (Germany), T. Tangena (Netherlands, delegate from the Presidium), with the support of S. Liebig (epi Secretariat).

Ambitions of the Editorial Committee

As we agreed in our first committee meeting , it is the ambition to make “epi Information” a “must read” for all European patent attorneys. More precisely, the goal is that a qualified European patent attorney is informed of relevant Case Law, of upcoming proposals and changes that may have an impact on the practice – such as the new Rules of Procedures of the Boards of Appeal in the current issue. In this context, book reviews, conference reports and opinions form valuable additions. Furthermore, the epi-website is to be informative for the general public as well as useful for all who are actively involved within epi.

A working group of authors

In view of the ambitions, the Editorial Committee would be pleased to set up a working group of authors. This is a group of patent attorneys with writing skills that would commit to draft an article in epi Information at least once a year. The subject of the article could be chosen by the author and/or suggested by the Editorial Committee. It is furthermore feasible that an author would be given the opportunity to provide an update on law changes, such as for instance in relation to PCT or on specific areas of interest. We do not offer any monetary remuneration, but we offer critical and constructive feedback, as well as the opportunity to occur in a “must read” journal for the profession.

We further would be pleased to find volunteers for the website. We have in mind a person that recently retired from busy practice but willing to do something interesting for the profession. Tools for working from home or an opportunity to work regularly in the epi Secretariat can be provided.

Anybody interested can contact the Editorial Committee via I hope that many of the “highly qualified persons” consider this opportunity and contact us.

  1. 1 Travaux préparatoires EPC 1973, available on epowebsite, art 134, therein pages 81-87 of the PDF
  2. Id.Page 91
  3. Id Page 86
  4. Id.Page 82