Although she is an International Kat of Mystery, Merpel is getting rather bored of travel to foreign parts, and overseas corridors are losing their allure as places to prowl. So this week, she has decided to stalk some corridors which are closer to home.
Both the IPKat and Merpel have long been perplexed and bewildered by the (somewhat) new IPReg Rule, effective from 1 January 2013, which states:
Individuals who apply to be entered onto the Registers of Patent and/ or Trade Mark Attorneys on or after 1 January 2013 are expected to attend and pass a basic litigation skills course from an IPReg accredited course provider either prior to qualification or within 3 years from the end of the calendar year when they are first entered onto the relevant register.
|Merpel looks after her kittens|
More pressingly, however, the first litter of kittens affected by the rule will have entered on the Register in 2013, and the second litter will have recently received exam results and so will be arranging for entry on the Register now during 2014. The IPKat has been contacted by a number of patent attorneys who are concerned, not to say surprised, that the rule has come into force without in fact there being any effective litigation course that a newly qualified patent attorney can attend (and, Merpel notes, with so little fanfare or indeed communication: it appears that some patent attorneys actually affected by the provisions are not yet aware of them at all).
|Not sure whether you are a|
patent attorney or
trade mark attorney?
One might expect the sunrise provisions for a new requirement to be less onerous than the steady-state provisions once the requirement has been up and running for a while. The general requirement is that a newly qualified patent attorney has three years in which to complete the litigation qualification. However, this time is currently effectively curtailed by the lack of availability, so the first group of patent attorneys who qualified last year and this year will effectively have less time in which to complete the qualification. Moreover, the more the courses are delayed, the more crowded and possibly oversubscribed will be the courses at the first time of running.
Members of the profession concerned with training are clearly most anxious about this unsatisfactory state of affairs. The IPKat and Merpel very much hope for clarification of the position very soon, and (dare it be hoped?) that some actual accredited courses will be available in the near future.
By way of compensation, perhaps IPReg may consider a transitional provision allowing newly qualified patent attorneys more than the currently envisaged period of three years to complete the course in the first instance.