All about Patent Quality – the role of technically qualified (European) patent attorneys
T. Marx, Director IP Löwenstein Group (DE)
In Europe in Mid 2022 the Industry (Industry Quality Charter - IPQC) and the EPO both launched their new Patent Quality Charters.
What can be epi`s position regarding Patent Quality
The technical qualification of patent attorneys is a critical factor in the quality of patents they produce. Patent attorneys must be able to understand the technical details of an invention in order to draft a patent application that adequately and accurately describes the invention.
A technical qualification means that a patent attorney has the necessary educational background and expertise to understand the technical aspects of the invention. This can be especially important in fields such as biotechnology, engineering, and computer science, where the inventions can be highly complex and require a deep understanding of the underlying technology.
A patent attorney with a good technical qualification can provide several benefits, including:
- Better understanding of the invention
- Better communication with inventors
- Better identification of patentable subject matter
- Better response to office actions
Overall, the technical qualification of patent attorneys plays a critical role in the quality of patents they produce. It is important for inventors and companies to work with patent attorneys who have the necessary technical expertise and qualifications to maximize the quality and value of their patents.
Is patent quality linked to the qualification of patent attorneys
Yes, the quality of patents is often linked to the qualifications and experience of patent attorneys.
Patent attorneys must have a deep understanding of patent law and the technical subject matter of the inventions they work with.
An experienced and qualified patent attorney can provide several benefits that can improve the quality of a patent. For example, a patent attorney with technical expertise in the relevant field can help ensure that the patent application adequately covers the invention and is not overly broad or too narrow. They can also provide guidance on how to avoid potential infringement of existing patents and help draft claims that are clear and specific. Additionally, a patent attorney can provide valuable advice on patent strategy, such as whether to pursue patent protection in multiple countries, whether to file provisional patent applications before filing a full application, and how to respond to office actions from patent examiners.
On the other hand, an inexperienced or unqualified patent attorney may not have the necessary expertise or knowledge to provide high-quality patent services. This can result in a patent application that is poorly drafted, inadequately disclosed, or too narrow in scope, which can ultimately lead to a weaker and less valuable patent.
Therefore, it is important for inventors and companies to carefully select their patent attorneys and work with those who have the necessary qualifications, experience, and technical expertise to maximize the quality and value of their patents.
Patent attorney vs. Attorney and the UPC
The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is a new court system for the European Union that will have jurisdiction over patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO). Patent attorneys will play a key role in the UPC system, as they will be responsible for representing parties in patent disputes before the court. Here are some of the key roles that patent attorneys will or might play in the UPC system:
- Representing parties in patent disputes
- Advising clients on UPC proceedings
- Handling patent portfolio management
- Providing guidance on patent eligibility
- Interacting with the EPO
When it comes to representing parties in patent disputes before the UPC, both attorneys and patent attorneys can be suitable, depending on their qualifications and experience.
The decision will depend on several factors, including the complexity of the technical subject matter, the nature of the legal issues, and the qualifications and experience of the attorneys or patent attorneys in question.
Attorneys are legal professionals who are qualified to practice law and can represent parties in a wide range of legal matters, including patent disputes. Patent attorneys, on the other hand, are legal professionals who are trained and qualified to provide legal advice and representation in matters relating to patents.
In general, if the dispute involves complex technical subject matter, it is advantageous to choose a patent attorney with relevant technical expertise. A patent attorney can provide clients with a deep understanding of the patent system, help assess the strength of patents, and develop effective strategies for enforcing or defending patent rights.
In general, patent attorneys may be better suited to represent parties in patent disputes before the UPC, especially in cases involving complex technical subject matter.
On the other hand, an attorney who is not a patent attorney but has relevant technical expertise may also be suitable for representing parties in patent disputes before the UPC.
It is therefore desirable to shape the profile of a European Patent Attorney and to keep the standards of their qualification high.
For the EQE this means
- no admission to EQE without a technical/scientific master or diploma (better PhD) degree of at least 4 better 5 years fulltime university.
- one year of practical experience in the technical/scientific field
- no supplementation of a qualification
Having a good (and proven) technical background is an advantage for a patent attorney, especially in cases involving complex technical subject matter. A patent attorney with technical expertise can provide clients with a deep understanding of the patent system, help assess the strength of patents, and develop effective strategies for enforcing or defending patent rights.
EPO and epi should be acting together to define new and highest standards for the technical (and legal) qualification of both patent attorneys and examiners.