Report of the Professional Conduct Committee
G. Checcacci (IT), Chair
PCC had its annual general meeting on 12 September. Unfortunately, the meeting had to be once more by ViCo, as the pandemic conditions were uncertain at the time the organization had to be finalized.
After the approval by the Council in May of the amendments that have made the epi Code of Conduct ready for the entry into force of UPC, whenever it happens, PCC has decided to re-open the process to bring to the Council also other amendments to the Code of Conduct, namely those already presented at the meeting of the Council in autumn 2021. These amendments address some aspects of the Code of Conduct and include a general updating of the wording.
The specific Working Group of PCC will resume its activity, in order to prepare the proposals for amending the Code of Conduct for submission to the Council.
The other working groups are also working actively. After the successful experience of 2021, the WG dealing with training has proposed new topics for future webinars or presentations; it is however expected that UP/UPC training takes precedence in the training offer of epi. Another WG will meet soon to finalize the project of making available outside PCC the relevant content of at least some of the opinions issued under Art. 7(d) of the Code of Conduct.
PCC also decided to work to arrive at a Recommendation by the Council regarding the use of a specific title for the epi members who will be entitled to represent clients before the UPC, under Art. 48(2, 3) of the UPC agreement.
PCC also noted the improper use of the title "European Patent Attorney" by people who are not professional representatives under Art. 134 EPC. Of particular concern is the improper use of that title by trainees who are actually trying to become European Patent Attorneys, by sitting the European Qualifying Examination. That title, alone or in combination with other expressions (e.g. partially qualified European Patent Attorney) cannot be used by those who are not epi members. It is also worth noting that this is true also for trainees who participate in the epi student program.
Thus, PCC reminds those (hopefully) future members of epi that they are not allowed to use the title "European Patent Attorney" – even in combination with other expressions – until they have actually become epi members.
The chair of PCC has also been active to alert – personally and informally – epi members who do not comply with epi provisions in their presentations in social networks or webpages, when it is evident that the lack of compliance is simply due to a lack of care and not to a deliberate intention to violate epi provisions. A typical case is the indication of having passed the EQE in a way that goes against the Council decision 4.2.3 of 1986 regarding non-discrimination between representatives. These alerts have been generally welcome by the alerted members, who reacted promptly and solved the issue.