In July 2022, the EPO officially announced that they were establishing a certification for patent paralegals and formalities officers. EPIPA is very pleased that this important milestone has been reached. It is a major step forward in the professionalization of the industry. The certification is called European Patent Administration Certification (EPAC) and touches upon all formal aspects of EPC and PCT.
- The EPO established an EPAC Board consisting of 6 EPO employees and 6 external experts. The board’s tasks include drafting and marking the exams. Of the 6 external experts, 3 are EPIPA board members.
- It is planned to hold exams yearly. The first exam took place on 12 December this year, with a mock exam being offered to the enrolled candidates on 21 November. Exams are held electronically via the Wiseflow system.
- Enrolment to the exam in 2022 took place from 5-30 September, the costs were € 100.
- The exam will be offered in all three EPO languages. When enrolling, the candidate must choose an examination language. This choice cannot be changed.
- In 2022, the exam consisted of two parts: a multiple-choice part and a part with open-answer questions. If a candidate did not pass the multiple-choice part, the open-answer part was not marked.
- Successful candidates will receive a certificate issued by the EPO. A list of successful candidates will be published as a searchable database on the website of the EPO.
There are no requirements for enrolling, but it is expected that in order to pass the exam, the candidate must have worked and gained knowledge as a patent paralegal or formalities officer for at least a few years.
The European Patent Academy has collected some free-of-charge training material for self-study, to help candidates prepare for the first edition of EPAC. It is expected that the training program will be expanded with more traditional courses in the coming years.
More information is available on the EPAC website.
For long, this has been a major goal for us, not only for the national organizations but certainly also for EPIPA. In essence we need this important step and development to further distinguish ourselves as IP professionals.