The Austrian parliament has reported here that it adopted amendments to the Patent Attorney Act on 9 May 2019. One change is to the training required to qualify as a patent attorney. Currently there is no requirement to have studied law at university, the legal knowledge being acquired through practical training. Under the new requirements, law (including Austrian and European) must have been studied at a university (the course content to be governed by a decree), and the duration of practical training will be shorter. The explanatory note to the amending legislation and a parliamentary committee report state that the change will ensure a more in-depth legal training of patent attorneys and will enable them to obtain the European Patent Litigation Certificate (EPLC). The EPLC will entitle a European Patent Attorney to represent parties before the Unified Patent Court (UPC) (Draft Rules on the EPLC and other appropriate qualifications, Explanatory Memorandum).
Austria ratified the UPC Agreement in 2013, being the first country to do so, and signed the UPC Agreement’s Protocol on Provisional Application (PPA) on 29 January 2019 (although, as explained here, it must still ratify the PPA but this is expected to be a relatively quick, formal procedure). The draft legislation amending the Patent Attorney Act was introduced into parliament on 20 February 2019.