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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Congratulations to the certification volunteers on delivering a definite improvement over the previously-proposed articles and rules.

Getting rid of the the requirement for notarisation of documents reduces the bureaucratic load necessary to take part in this considerably. Introducing an associate status helps bring trainees into the the community of patent information professionals. Allowing people claiming PER to avoid what amounts to a form of "jury duty" for the patent information world ("willingness to contribute") is certainly a step forward.

There are two further points where I might suggest improvement:

1) The three-year experience requirement prior to applying to sit the exam. I understand why the volunteers feel an experience requirement to be necessary before conferring QPIP status, but why is it necessary before sitting the exam? And if you think that three full years experience is necessary to sit the exam, then you still have to explain why is it necessary before even applying to sit the exam?

Consider someone starting work in the patent information field on the 30th of September, 2020: three years later, can they apply to sit the exam if one is to be held in the following year? No, because they will not have had three full years of experience by the deadline for enrolment (which would fall on the 15th of September, 2023), instead being short by two weeks. That is, even though they will have had three years experience by the time the exam comes, they may have to wait until, potentially, 2026 to sit the exam.

Would not a far more sensible solution be that people can sit the exam at any time, but remain associates until they have both passed the exam and have the necessary experience? Even if you do not accept this, would not it still make more sense for deadline for the experience requirement to be the day of the exam?

Can an organisation that seeks to attract new recruits really afford to turn people away like this?

Let's compare this to the experience requirement for UK and EP patent attorneys. In the UK you can take the finals exams in any year after passing the foundation exams, but the final conferring of the title "Chartered Patent Attorney" does not occur until after you have met the necessary experience requirement and passed the finals. For the EP you have to have two years experience prior to sitting the pre-exam (with the approximate date of the exam being the deadline) and three years before sitting the full EQEs - and this in a system where the exams are held every year. Why are the requirements for QPIP so much stricter?

2) I didn't notice this the first time round, but using patent classification systems to decide whether people have the correct qualifications (see, e.g., 4.4a of the rules) may throw up some very odd results. Most patent attorneys are required only to have a STEM degree, but would a mathematics graduate be able to find a patent classification matching their qualification? What about an astronomy graduate? astrophysics? Do you want to include people who have MBAs just because there is an IPC for business methods that don't involve significant data processing (e.g., G06Q 90/00)?

Wouldn't it be far more simple to say that a STEM degree is required? This at least has a fairly hard-and-fast definition that most people will understand, and does not require hair-splitting about what the IPC (or whatever classification system - no patent classification system was written with this purpose in mind) does or does not say.

Apart from the two proceeding points, however, I have no additional concerns. I think anyone responding to this should always bear in mind how easy it is to criticise and how hard it is to come up with something that different people from different countries and backgrounds can agree on, so again I congratulate the volunteers on their efforts.


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