Tuesday, 6 April 2010

T 378/08 – Oral Proceedings Aren’t Boot Camps

[2.1] The presence of the person accompanying the professional representative of the respondent at the oral proceedings (OPs) was announced by letter dated 23 October 2009. The last paragraph of this letter reads as follows:

“Please be informed that I will by accompanied by Mr. M. Beck who has a bachelor in law and is preparing for the EQE. I assume that you will allow him to make oral submissions during the hearing, under my continuing responsibility and control”.

The letter did not specify the subject-matter of the proposed oral submissions.

During the OPs the professional representative specified that the accompanying person would present arguments in respect of inventive step. She submitted that the accompanying person had followed the case in the past and had excellent technical knowledge of the matters at issue. Moreover, since the accompanying person was preparing for the EQE, he should be given a training opportunity. 

[2.2] The Board, having regard to the requirements set out in G 4/95 for an accompanying person to be allowed to make oral submissions, rejected the respondent’s request for the following reasons.

The letter of 23 October 2009 did not include a formal request to allow the accompanying person to make oral submissions and in any case the generally-worded statement of the respondent did not specify the subject-matter of the proposed oral submissions (G 4/95 [headnote points 2(b)(i) and (ii)]).

More details were given for the first time at the OPs. At that time the professional representative, however, did not convince the Board of the presence of exceptional circumstances justifying the accompanying person to make oral submissions, and the appellant did not give its agreement to the making of the oral submissions requested (G 4/95 [headnote point 2(b)(iii)]).

No reasons were given why the professional representative herself might not be in a position to fully present her case on inventive step. Furthermore, although it is not denied that OPs before the EPO might, under appropriate circumstances, provide a possible training opportunity for prospective professional representatives (e.g. when they are present as members of the public), this must remain subordinate to the conduct of OPs in accordance with its true purpose, which does not include the training of future professional representatives. 

To read the whole decision, click here.

NB: This decision has also been commented by Laurent Teyssèdre.


Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder if the representative knows the conditions for enrolment to the EQE :

Article 11: Conditions for registration and

(1) Candidates shall be registered for the examination on request provided that
(a) they possess a university-level
scientific or technical qualification, or are
able to satisfy the Secretariat that they
possess an equivalent level of scientific
or technical knowledge, as defined in the
IPREE [..]

To the best of my knowledge a "bachelor in law" does not meet this requirement ....


Oliver said...

I guess that it is more likely that the professional representative in question was well aware of the basics of EQE admission and that Mr. M. Beck is both technically and legally qualified.