Wednesday 7 May 2014

Learn to litigate -- but not just yet

Once you've mastered these skills, you can
conjure up a patent attorney litigation course too
As British readers are all too well aware, the Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg) is the regulatory body for patent and trade mark attorneys. This blogger has just been reminded that IPReg has in its wisdom introduced a new litigation requirement for recently qualified patent attorneys. The effect of this new requirement is that patent attorneys who were entered on the register after 31 December 2012 must now pass a IPReg-accredited basic litigation skills course either before they qualify or within three years from the end of the calendar year when they are first entered on to the register (see CPD requirements for litigators here).  Those already on the register by 31 December 2012 are deemed to have been granted the appropriate certificate and presumably have no need for any such requirements.

Two courses have been suggested by IPReg (here). One is a course at Nottingham Trent University, accredited by IPReg; the other is a possible course run by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA). Since the CIPA course has not yet been submitted for accreditation, it is not currently available. Although the Nottingham course has been accredited by IPReg, it is understood that the course will not be available before early 2015 at best -- and even then it will still subject to validation by the University (it's good to know that academic institutions are concerned about quality control when it comes to running courses under their auspices -- and brand name). 

The fact that the new regulations have been introduced without there being any course currently available to satisfy the new litigation requirements is bound to be a cause of some frustration and gnashing of teeth among newly qualified patent attorneys who, having passed all their professional exams, now face a new requirement which they are not able to fulfil.

Meanwhile, this is presumably cheery news for those whose names were inscribed on the register on or before 31 December 2012, and who will face that little bit less competition for now ...


  1. It would seem that trademark agents are in a better position as their course at Nottingham includes the basic litigation skills element as described here. Maybe any keen patent agent would be in time to join in?

  2. Panic not, just vote for Vicky in the Elections. She says in her address
    New Courses: As part of this new regulation, new patent attorneys now must take a Basic Litigation Skills Course. We ran a trial course in 2012. I am working with the CIPA Head of Education to ensure that we have a CIPA course accredited by IPReg and that we run that several times a year and at different locations across the UK.

    See also the IPkat post

  3. You don't have to wait for the CIPA course. You can do a Higher Rights course according to IPReg here and these are commercially available now.

    You will need to do some serious mugging up on the CPR before you will up to speed with others but can be done.