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Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

Description of the epi

The Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (epi) is the professional body representing all European Patent Attorneys. Currently the Institute has about 14,000 European Patent Attorneys as members coming from each of the 39 Contracting States of the European Patent Convention who work either in industry or in private practice.

On 21 October 1977, the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation established the epi by adopting the Regulation on the establishment of an institute of professional representatives before the European Patent Office. As provided in the Regulation, the epi is governed by a Council which is elected by the members of the respective national constituencies and by a Board elected by the Council, which includes its President. The epi Council has adopted internal regulations governing its conduct and functioning. Sixteen Committees, including numerous subcommittees and working groups, are responsible for conducting the large array of tasks and assignments faced by the epi. Topics covered by these committees are, e.g. European patent practice, litigation, biotechnology, professional education, discipline and professional conduct and various other matters of relevance for the profession and the organization of the Institute.

The epi as an organisation deals primarily with the development and implications of patent law. Through its Committees, the epi is at the forefront of patent law developments and regularly serves public policy leaders by issuing legal opinions and highly specialised advice. The epi is an observer in many advisory bodies of international organisations such as the Standing Advisory Committee before the European Patent Office (SACEPO) or the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents of the Word Intellectual Property Organisation (SCP).

Another core area of the epi is to promote compliance by its members with the Rules of Professional Conduct through fair procedures. The epi further serves its members by providing them with advice and training as they advance within their profession, keeping them informed about latest developments and enriching the diversity of the profession, while responding to their individual professional needs. The epi likewise supports candidates to pass the European Qualifying Examination and become future members.