Articles, Rules and Schedules

The Articles are intended to become the legal instrument by which the International Standards Board for Qualified Patent Information Professionals (ISBQPIP) will be established and the Rules will become the implementing procedures that will be used by the ISBQPIP to administer its duties. The Rules are accompanied by Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 as released on 21 April 2015 (stored in the Archive).

We now invite your comments and suggestions on the revised Articles, Rules and the newly proposed Code of Conduct as part of the final round of public consultation which will end on Thursday, 22 June 2017. If you would like to provide a comment, please post your message at the comment section on this page. As we will be collecting and collating the comments, we will not be in a position to respond until all of the comments have been received. The Certification Initiative Coordinators team will then work towards finalizing the documents in light of the comments received.


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A Code of Conduct for QPIPs is in itself a good idea. However, the proposed Code of Conduct is hardly applicable to e.g. QPIPs who work as salaried employees in a hierarchical organization (in the Netherlands probably about 80 - 90 % of all patent information professionals). Many of the paragraphs simply do not apply to or are irrelevant for e.g. a patent information department in an industrial company, where a searcher must just follow the instructions from his supervisor or manager, and has no "clients" as indicated in the proposal.

The drafters on the Code had probably a legal practice in mind where searchers interact directly with external clients. Also fFor independently operating searchers a written Code is certainly applicable, although many of them will have already incorporated similar rules in e.g. their general sales conditions.
The whole text should be revised while considering several types of work environments for QPIPs.


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BEPIUG asked all members for feedback about the new "Articles & Rules" as well as on the "Code of Conduct". We finally decided to post all individual comments (unedited). So please take this as individual comments, not as official position of our user group.

In general, the board of BEPIUG appreciated the changes as compared to the last version and especially that may concerns & proposals (in our common letter together with the colleagues from CFIB in June 2015) have been taken seriously and been integrated in the current version. Especially the creation of a "Professional Representatives Committee" deserves mentioning here.

With best regards,

Dirk Rattat (Chairman BEPIUG)

And here the comments:
(All comments are unedited and do not reflect an official position of our user group)
1. Proposed Articles
- 4.3a: members of Supervisory Council who are not patent info professionals (e.g. Patent attorney): I’m not sure why this is. In my experience most patent attorneys do not know information research. They don’t have to deal with that, they just work with the results/analysis delivered to them. It can be an attorney, but such a person should have had experience in information research.
- 10.2a point (2): the same remarks
2. Proposed Rules
- 18.5d: I’m not sure how one can verify spending 75% of time supervising work of others, or that the subordinates will have each completed at least 45 searches. I don’t know that this is the sort of measure one would keep.
3. Code of Conduct
- no comments
4. Education and Training
- no comments
Education & Training
- In general, it would be useful to have the content of this document in a Wiki/Blog format where elements can be linked to each other and/or to webpages
- Schedule 1: it should be more evident / requested to achieve at least a quite complete knowledge on the functions of main free patent search website (Patentscope, Espacenet,, and/or Google patents) to understand pro/cons, linguistic bias, how to compare the search features/results, etc.
- Schedule 2: maybe too much, to be seen how far the examination will go
- Sect. 3, more structured/complete review of resources/documents available in the free patent search websites
- Sect. 5: the reading list should not include articles older than 7-10yrs and give more examples/evidence to freely available articles (a subscription to WPI seems required, while other journals, blogs, and wiki also provide some relevant technical/background infos )
Code of Conduct
- maybe it goes too far in some provisions that somehow depends of the work context (it is not the same working in the IP dept. of a company, in an OTL of a University, in a patent law firm, or as a consultant)
Articles & Rules
Too complicate to come back now to overall structure & content but some period & requirements may need some reconsideration
- Art. 5.2 & 10, Rule 3: not clear if a person can be part of more than one committee (eg I se e some cross activities/redundancy between Accreditation Committee and either Examination or Prof dev Committee) and the selection/proposal of the candidates for appointment by the Supervisory Council (which should not include members of any Committee, I suppose)
- Rule 4.4: (a) or (b) is OK but (c) should be an additional criteria wherein
• possibly 10yrs is too much, 5 or 7 yrs may be enough
• the type of specific work experience should be listed/defined (IP dept. of a company, in an OTL of a University, in a patent law firm, and/or as a consultant)
- Rule 4.5: condition (1) quite unrealistic given the potential changes in companies, M&A, etc.
- Rule 18.5a: willingness to contribute also to Committees? (see above)
- Rule 18.5c: At least 5 or 7 years
- Rule 18.5e: see conditions as modified in Rule 4.4 above
- Rule 18.5f: difficult to apply if the CPD system is not well and timely implemented
I don’t have any comments on the current QPIP-articles, rules,…
I think we need to bear in mind that they want to create a certificate that might add more value and respect to our searcher job.
And I’m convinced that it is quite difficult to phrase all possibilities/requirements etc in a format appreciated by all persons interested in this certification.
I’m very happy that most (or all) major issues of the earlier version are amended in the right direction…
I -too- do not have any comments on the updated articles and rules.
Also the Code of Conduct is a good thing, since it stresses and explicitly points to the expected behavior of a QPIP.
Minor comments/concerns:
18.5., PER, willingness to contribute: The main concern has not changed. If working for a company, it’s not in the hands of the PER-applicant if this can be done or not. The company decides, if principally allowed to spend time on that and, moreover, financially supports any travel activities.
18.5d: “Overseeing work of others”. This is very hard to control. The percentage of 75% to supervise others is even unrealistic.
18.6a: a “written letter from … previous employer … on company letterhead” may be hard to get if someone left the company under less friendly circumstances. Or, for people with a long carrier, it may be difficult to have such thing for work done years/decades ago.
ARTICLES: no comments
Contrary to the “ARTICLES & RULES” you clearly see that this document is much younger and did not go through continuous (harsh) review processes like the other two. The intention may be good, but weaknesses are in the details… E.g. (only examples, maybe not even comprehensive):
EXAMPLE A: “Only conduct a search … [if] familiar [with the topic]”. Unrealistic, both company-intern and when working independently to serve external clients. Who would really refuse a search request that needs to be done? Well, in part two there’s always the “escape” to refer to “…or [if] the QPIP is prepared to become familiar” with. OF COURSE I WOULD WANT TO BECOME FAMILIAR with the topic. So Example A is, per se, superfluous…
EXAMPLE B: “legal advice”. Nice to exclude that. But what, if the employer/client demands it anyway? May be more relevant for small companies without own patent attorney.
EXAMPLE G: “repeatedly contact prospective clients”… Well, if you’re independent, you may have to contact (new) clients, even frequently…
And then: the whole paragraph 12 “Anti-competitive behavior” is somewhat problematic in my view.
EXAMPLE M: “…unfair advantage by using resources not available to competitors”. What if someone has access to “professional Tool X” and others only have “basic Tool Y” (any name could be here). Is that already unfair, because you have better tools –or even a matter of “antitrust??
EXAMPLE Q: “cannot…collectively buy from particular suppliers”.
CONCLUSION: while the ARTCLES & RULE look o.k. to me now, the CODE OF CONDUCT is just a basic draft and needs decent review and re-work.


In the name of CFIB board, I would like to thank the Certification Initiative Coordinators team for the huge amount of work and particularly for:
- The simplification effort concerning Rules and Articles contents and mostly registering processes either for examination or PER.
- Creation of a « Professional Representatives Committee »

However, we still have questions/comments concerning the following points:

1. Articles:

• A.2
Definition of the PIP still includes an “interpretation” part whereas in most companies it is simply forbidden by company rules to make any comment or interpretation of the search results, since it’s the sole responsibility of the Patent Attorney by law. Could we suggest replacing “interprets” by “selects” or “chooses”?

(14.1 The financial year is from January 1 to 31 December of the same year.
14.2 At the end of the financial year, the accounting records will be closed.
14.3 The Treasurer will establish a balance sheet and a statement of income and expenditure and will provide this to the Supervisory Council no later than three (3) months after the end of the financial year.)

We wonder if the financial year report should be published instead of only being sent to the Supervisory Council. We believe it should be transparent to other patent information associations / professionals where the money is going. Listening to political scandals on TV nearly every day, let’s show there is nothing to hide.

2. Rules:

• R 3.2 - Accreditation of Training courses. Most training organizations do not even know about QPIP and our job specificities. Therefore we are not sure that for a small number of potential attendees, they will accept to undertake all accreditation steps.

• R 3.2 – Validation of training courses. The committee should attend each training course free of charge, so what about national languages? Would this rule discard any non-English-speaking course? Or should we have one committee member to cover multiple languages? Moreover, if a person is obliged to follow all identified courses to evaluate their interest, I suppose that he will need to take a sabbatical year since an employer would not allow this person to be absent for so long!

• R 3.2 – Changes in course contents. In our job, processes and laws are constantly evolving and training support is often updated (e.g. those with CFIB and the French National Office INPI partnership). It is very heavy to send the changes to the Committee 3 months in advance given the fact that it is often done at the last minute (at the most one month before). In this case, that would create one more task for the Committee to re-validate everything. If a decision is made to remove accreditation, it will be too late for those attendees already registered.

• R 4.3 – Type of searches. Some PIPs do not run landscaping, infringement risk or FTO searches, but they are full professionals anyway. We still regret that the idea of a tiered system was not implemented. We can understand the whole reason why not to do it as mentioned in the QPIP letter, but it will be a problem for people who only focus on one aspect of the job.

• R 23.7 – CPD points
CFIB has in “Courrier” dealing with Patent information training, events, novelties (Offices, CEPIUG…), tools, etc. Access to this publication is however limited to CFIB members as we want to keep our right to express our opinion to stay free writing articles about patent information tool/services providers. Writing an article in e.g. the CFIB Courrier could be eligible for CPD events or activities (Rule 23.7)? Who will decide if CFIB Courrier belongs to the category of “an established industry journal such as World Patent Information” as mentioned in Rule 23.7e (4)? Looking at 23.7d publishing on a company website or blog is valid. CFIB members publishing in the “Courrier” do more than this. WPI is considered as one of the highest level of publications in our profession (even the only one at this level) so might be too high. We could consider as well national publications in the national language.

• R18.5 PER Eligibility Requirements
We still have a concern with the organization of the committee: you will now have to obtain a certification; if you don’t have it then it is bad. Those who can/may be peers will try to be and then … there is a risk you will need to participate at evaluating others (as if we don’t have anything else to do). Either you are interested or not with the certification, you are ‘in’ one way or another.
The committee is still the main issue from my part: how can we have a legitimate committee at the start? And how can we do it in the future without adding more constrain to people (who don’t want to be in)?


Many compliments to the all the volunteers working at it. As general consideration now everything seems cleaner, and I greatly appreciate the effort to simplify (as far as possible, considering the matter!).
A special thanks to the WG Training & Education for the detailed research done.

A couple of remarks:
- With regard to Rules 4.4 and 18.5 "Minimum technical qualification requirement", even if I can understand the rationale behind the wording, I would be curious about a technical field not included in any patent classification. On the other side, in case such special field actually existed or the interpretation shall be narrow (eg. a lawyer or even an IP attorney must be excluded, even if with long experience in patent searching?), I do not see the reason why to prevent someone with this different experience from applying for enrolement because it is not covered by a patent classification. I would propose therefore to review/cancel this definition of technical field.
The same definition of "scientific" degree would require some clarification. Eg. History of Science?

- with regard to Rule 23.4 and/or 23.6 regarding CDP, it would be advisabe to give in the regulations or in a further document the guidelines for event organisers how to have their events recognized for the CDP purpose in advance, to promote attending and facilitate (or even automate) points accreditation.
The same guidelines should state how to demonstrate the real participation to the full event.


Here is some remarks and question regarding the rules:

Rule 3.2b (2) acquire some of all of the knowledge…- Should be a predefined part of the knowledge……

3.2- Changes in the training.
What are the requirement in changing the training material/courses due to change in IP law/ patent office’s guidelines etc.? In this case, changes in material/courses should be mandatory. How should this situation be handled?
Under 4:3 evaluating prior use, any printed or electronic documentation. Is material like film sequences etc. regarded as printed or electronic documentation? If not this should be defined in 4:3.

4.5- Required evidence in support of application for enrolment for the verification examination.
4.5b) All candidates must provide a written letter from their current and/or past employer in English on company letterhead…..

Should there be a possibility to get non English letters translated into English? What should be the requirements for this case?
And 8.1a:
1) A first part pertaining to devising and conducting a novelty, validity, landscape or opposition search as defined in Rule 4.3; and
And 8.1b:
(1) Two (2) technology-neutral fact scenarios in which the enrolled candidate shall review and categorise the patent and non-patent publications provided with the examination paper in order to provide one novelty, validity, landscape or opposition search report and one patent infringement risk search report.
And 18.5b:
(1) Rule 8 are:
(i) Knowledge of patent law and patent systems;
(ii) Searching – approaches for devising and conducting a novelty, validity, landscape or opposition search and approaches for devising and conducting a patent infringement risk search as defined in Rule 4.3; and
(iii) Analysis - approaches for reviewing and categorising patent publications identified by a patent infringement risk search and approaches for reviewing patent and non-patent publications identified by a novelty, validity, landscape or opposition search as defined in Rule 4.3.
Rule 16: Passing the certification examination.
16:1 b) In the event the candidate fails to obtain a PASS grade for one or more exam papers……they may re-sit those examination papers for which a PASS grade was not awarded within three years….
According to Rule 8:3…..the examination shall be held at least once every two years….
My comment is that a person needing to re-sit the exam could if “lucky” re-sit three times but if you are “unlucky” the person can maximum re-sit the examination one time. I think that there should be a rule that the re-sitting the exam could occurring a specific number of time. For example: Re-sitting the exam could maximum be done two times in a four-year period.

Best Regards
Cecilia Håkansson


Thanks for all the great work done!!
Some minor comments
Page 2: Definition of “Patent Agent” “to inspect patent specifications. He/She is doing a lot more!!
Page 5 Article 4.10 is referring to 4.24.2 No idea what this is?

Page 8 Rule 4.4 All of these??
Page 16: Rule 16.2: In conflict with Article 6.2 I will suggest to set a time period (3 month)
Page 18 Rule 18.5a and b. This will be a reason for people not to apply for PER. Although I understand the reason why it is included.
Same for Rule 22.2

Page 23 Rule 22.6 What does this mean. I suppose there are no reminders sent out?
Page 28 Rule 25.2 I will propose to let an external body control the Annual Financial Report!

Code of conduct:
No remarks
Please have a look to the letter type after number 12 (seems to be too small)


#2 Definitions (lines 32-33): delete “of the Disciplinary Regulation”

Example M is too general and vague for an example, it should be concrete. Moreover, it needs to be clarified since it would exclude, for example, the use of self-developed tools for report generation. Suggested new text:



The latest draft of Articles, Rules, and Code of Conduct are a considerable improvement over the first versions that were published. Please find below our detailed comments and recommendations for corrections.

QPIP Articles
No comment.

QPIP Rules
Correction of references within the text:
- 3.5d(2): 3.4b should be 3.5b
- 3.6b: 10.8a should be 10.7a

Rule 4 Enrolment eligibility for certification examination:
Despite the constant increase in the availability and quality of machine translation, language skills are necessary for carrying out professional patent information work. Consequently, they should be required for a QPIP candidate to be eligible for the examination. This could be specified in a new sub-rule 4.5. Existing sub-rules 4.5 and 4.6 would become 4.6 and 4.7, respectively.

4.5 Language skills
A candidate should have at least intermediate knowledge (B1) of English and at least elementary knowledge (A2) of at least two other languages.

A corresponding requirement would need to be added, as 18.5g, for PER applications.

Rule 4.5c:
Asking for “any publication or conference presentations authored or co-authored” without restriction does not seem appropriate for judging eligibility for certification examination since many candidates may have published or presented technical subject matter before becoming affiliated with patent information. Adding the word “relevant” should be considered:

“any RELEVANT publications or conference presentations authored or co-authored, any current memberships of RELEVANT professional user groups, …”

Rule 18.6b would then have to be amended accordingly for PER applications.

In general, please consider adding a Rule (or Article) to provide some guidelines on the ideal composition the Supervisory Council and the committees. Suggestion:

“The composition of the Supervisory Council and the committees should correspond to the geographic / regional legislation distribution of all QPIPs.”


The new proposed articles and rules are a great improvement over the last set, and appear much less onerous.

My primary issue is to do with the exams, and to some degree the definitions of the search types, mainly the freedom to operate search.

In Australia and New Zealand there is greater separation of the roles of searcher and patent attorney. The scope of Rule 8.1b (1) is largely outside my role, as is the second part of the description of a freedom to operate search. These aspects belong to the role of patent attorney. While one could study international patent law in order to pass the exam, to do so would be irrelevant to the substantive part of their role.

I understand that finding a balance between Europe and the US has been a long and difficult process, but please don't forget that other jurisdictions are also a little different in the way we do things, and we can't just be shoehorned into a system that doesn't reflect that.


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