Qualifications required for representatives before the UPC


In the Unified Patent Court (UPC) parties must be represented either by lawyers authorised to practise before a court of a contracting member state or by European Patent Attorneys (EPAs) “who have appropriate qualifications such as a European Patent Litigation Certificate.” (article 48 UPC Agreement). The UPC’s Administrative Committee has now agreed and published the Rules on the European Patent Litigation Certificate and other appropriate qualifications. Part I of the Rules relates to the European Patent Litigation Certificate (EPLC), including the course content and how a university/non-profit educational body in an EU member state can obtain accreditation of their course. However, the EPLC will not be available before the UPC opens. Therefore, Part II of the Rules, which relates to “other appropriate qualifications”, is particularly important for EPAs. Rule 11 provides that appropriate qualifications are a bachelor or master degree in law (or a pass in an equivalent exam) in an EU member state, and under Rule 12 certain other qualifications are deemed appropriate during a transitional period of one year from the entry into force of the UPC Agreement. The list of courses/certificates that are deemed appropriate during this transitional period includes some in the UK, but (now the UK is no longer participating in the UPC system) these must have been successfully completed or granted by 31 December 2020.

Gregory Bacon


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