As many of you know, in early 2014, IPReg asked the patent profession for comments on its proposals to ‘simplify and modernise the Patent Attorney examination system’. (See our summary blog post on this matter). IPReg has now provided an update on the matter.
IPReg states in their update:
“We received a large number of responses, some of which were very detailed, and I should like to thank you for taking the time to participate in the consultation.
Following our own internal review of the responses, IPReg decided to commission external research about teaching, learning and assessment in the context of professions, in order to inform our discussions about ‘next steps’. That research was undertaken by staff at the Institute of Education/UCL. Their report has set out for us some of the key issues based on published and accepted practice in teaching, learning and assessment.
As well as this report, the consultation responses provided us with a range of views as well as a significant number of responses expressing reservations about the proposed changes. IPReg’s Education, Qualifications, Conduct and Disciplinary Committee (EQCD) has agreed that it is now prudent for us to take a period of time to carefully consider the report and the feedback before reaching a conclusion about whether or not to make any changes.
Therefore, I should like to confirm that there will be no change to the current arrangements for patent examinations for the next two examination cycles and, as we have said before, any future changes would always be subject to appropriate transition arrangements to ensure that trainees are not prejudiced” (emphasis added).
Thus, it appears that for the time being, no changes are being made to the patent attorney qualification process.
It also appears that changes to the qualification process may still be on the cards. The IPReg Board’s meeting minutes of March 2015 (see here) state that the Board is considering whether and how certain university courses should be accredited (i.e. the courses which exempt trainees from the PEB Foundation exams). In particular, the Board states that “there was a need to have a health warning/disclaimer on the [accreditation] report as students were paying for expensive courses that might not necessarily lead to a job” (emphasis added).
We look forward to hearing what IPReg decides on this matter soon.
Informals’ Honorary Secretary