IPReg can no longer accept applications for recognition under the Recognition under the European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015. 

We are currently proposing to make significant changes to our regualtory arrangements, including a change which will allow IPReg to consider and recognise applications holding non-UK patent or trade mark attorney qualifications.  All applicants would need to demonstrate that they meet the competency criteria set out in the Competency Framework for Patent Attorneys and/or the Competency Framework for Trade Mark Attorneys as relevant.  Where deficiencies in skills, knowledge or experience are identified, our proposed rule change would allow IPReg to direct that applicants undertake specific, targetted compensation measures such as supervised practice, CPD activities or examinations to bridge those particular gaps before entry to the register is granted.  This represents a change from the current position that only attorneys who completed the full UK qualification pathway can become registered patent or trade mark attorneys.  These changes are not currently in force, but If approved by the Legal Services Board, we expect the new rules to be operative in early 2023.  If the changes are not approved by the Legal Services Board, the current rules will remain.

Individuals considering making a future application to IPReg on the basis of their non-UK qualifications should start considering how they will evidence that they meet the competency criteria in the frameworks above.  This evidence should pertain to UK patent attorney or trade mark attorney work.

Temporary Practice

There are no formalities required for any professional physically in the UK to provide services in the UK on a temporary basis using their home title (e.g. “Patentanwalt” or “Conseils en propiete industrielle”, etc.). Such attorneys do not have to register with IPReg but we would expect such professionals to respect the Rules of Conduct whilst in the UK.

Any foreign attorney practising in the UK should, however, be aware that professional titles of “Patent Attorney”, “Patent Agent”, “Registered Trade Mark Attorney” and “Registered Trade Mark Agent” are protected titles in the UK and only qualified professionals on the Registers of Patent Attorneys and Trade Mark Attorneys are permitted to use such titles in the course of business in the UK. Unauthorised use of a protected title is a criminal offence. However, no offence is committed by patent attorneys on the EPO Register of Professional Representatives using the term “European Patent Attorney” or “European Patent Agent”.

Practising in the UK under the temporary practice rules does not entitle foreign qualified professionals to undertake reserved legal activities in the UK such as appearing before the courts in intellectual property matters or acting as a Commissioner for Oaths.