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Old 05.01.2009, 11:14
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Patent specialist needed.

I need a lawyer/advisor that specializes in patent law. Can anyone recommend me one? I know their was a firm in Neuchatel, but I can't remember their name.
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Old 05.01.2009, 11:20
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

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I need a lawyer/advisor that specializes in patent law. Can anyone recommend me one? I know their was a firm in Neuchatel, but I can't remember their name.

I work for a patent firm and may be able to answer some of your questions for free if it is an area of my speciality. As for recommendations a good private firm (although based in Basel) is Braun and Partners (I am not affiliated in any way) and I could give you a name of one of the attorneys there if it helps:

http://www.braunattorneys.ch/en/braunpat/kanzlei.html
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Old 05.01.2009, 14:25
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

Here's a list of patent attorneys by Canton (website of the Swiss Federal Patent Institute in Bern)

http://www.ige.ch/pool4s/anwaltpa.shtm

By the way mimi: I'm also in the patent & trademark business here in Zurich. Could you pm me which firm you work for?
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Old 05.01.2009, 14:41
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

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By the way mimi: I'm also in the patent & trademark business here in Zurich. Could you pm me which firm you work for?
Done ...............................................
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Old 05.01.2009, 21:31
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

Thanks guys.
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Old 09.01.2009, 21:57
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

@mimi1981 and möpp

I've always wondered what it is like to be a patent attorney. Are you guys fluent in German or French? I've often seen job ads asking for native German speaking attorneys.
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Old 13.01.2009, 18:57
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

Thanks Möpp for your message!
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Old 14.01.2009, 20:56
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

Thanks mimi for the information!
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Old 26.05.2009, 18:48
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

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@mimi1981 and möpp

I've always wondered what it is like to be a patent attorney. Are you guys fluent in German or French? I've often seen job ads asking for native German speaking attorneys.
Since nobody has answered this one, Ritchie, I'll have a go. If you like that sort of thing, it's a great profession and well remunerated. However, be prepared for the toughest exams you've ever seen.

But first and foremost, what is you nationality? Why does that matter? Because Swizzieland is part of the European Patent Organisation, and Swiss private patent attorney firms want people who can represent clients before the EPO. In patent jargon, they must be on the List of Professional Representatives. The EPC (Convention) requires the PR to be both a national of and resident in an EPC Contracting State (not necessarily the same one - I am British/Irish and I work in Switzerland). The Contracting States are the EU, plus some others (e.g. Switzerland, Turkey, Norway). So, if you're a Canadian or American, be prepared for a very long wait. The President of the EPO can (and does) make exceptions to the nationality rule - I once confronted a Mr. Kenji Uchida in an appeal proceedings in Munich - but this is done only exceptionally, and the rule of thumb is (or was) that the EPO will think about it 10 years post-examination and if it's convinced you're here to stay.

There is a difference between Swiss private practice and industry. Industry couldn't really care what nationality you are, so long as you can do the job - an employee of a company can represent the company before the EPO, and it can be the cleaning lady. In addition, much of Swiss industry, including its crème de la crème, Basel Big Pharma, works in English, because it has its eye on the US, where German is not spoken. In any case, English is the lingua franca of science, and no patent attorney can survive without it. Naturally, if you're ealing with local Swiss clients, you're going to need German, including the ability to draft patent applications in it, something I would never dare do. I can read it, but not write it.

Secondly, you have to be qualified in science or technology. If you have a three-year degree (e.g., a UK Bachelor's degree), you have to work for 6 years under a qualified European Patent Attorney before you can take the European Qualifying Examination. If you have a four-year degree or a higher degree, it's 3 years.

The EQE, ah, yes, the EQE. It's not the toughest patent examination in the world - that honour probably goes jointly to the UK Chartered Institute and German Patentanwalt exams - but it's pure hell for three days:

Day 1 Paper D (Legal) - 3 hours short questions morning, 4 hours legal situation afternoon

Day 2 morning - Paper A drafting (4 hours) - draft an application for an invention you've never seen before
Afternoon - (4 hours) prepare a response to a rejection from the EPO

Thankfully the EPO has now stopped the mean trick of confronting you in the afternoon with what you should have drafted in the morning. The sight of this has caused mnany a candidate to drop his/her bundle and fail both.

Day 3 Opposition (6 hours (yes, really)) Prepare an opposition to a granted patent. In this paper, you will be expected to read and use stuff in a language other than the one in which you're taking the exam. So, if you've taken the paper in English, you'll have to read either French or German. (The old trick was to make the novelty-destroying document the French one - never found out why).

The time pressure is enormous - when I passed paper D, the short questions bit was mysteriously 2.25 hours. Even though these are open-book exams, you simply have no time to read up answers, you have to know the stuff and have your materials organised such that you have instant access, or you're dead.

At the end, you crawl out of paper C totally drained and never wanting to see the word "patent" ever again. But if you make it (and most eventually do), you have a fascinating career, which in these days of interest in innovation, is virtually recession-proof. You get to work with very clever people and you have the pleasure of converting their ideas into a form that can be very valuable.

Please PM me if I can be of further hindrance.
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Old 26.05.2009, 19:23
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

Wow great brief on the life of a patent attorney..... just out of curiosity do you also have a law degree? (u didnt mention it in your post).
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Old 26.05.2009, 19:53
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Re: Patent specialist needed.

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Wow great brief on the life of a patent attorney..... just out of curiosity do you also have a law degree? (u didnt mention it in your post).
No, I don't, I have an honours degree in chemistry and a graduate diploma in polymer science (I worked in the paint industry for many years). On top of this, I have my intellectual property qualifications. A person who has these is a patent attorney in most countries in the world.

Some countries in the world make a distinction between patent agents and patent attorneys. The most notable is the USA. A patent agent is entitled to represent clients before the USPTO. S/he will have a degree in science or technology and will have passed the patent bar exam, held by the USPTO at regular intervals and now doable on-line. The patent attorney has these, plus a law degree and a state bar examination. The essential difference is that the attorney can represent clients in court (although in fact few do - some attorneys specialise in litigation and do relatively little pure patent work. This is understandable in a large and, shall we say it ligitous country - and in a common law system where respect for legal precedent requires a thorough knowledge of case law.

Most patent attorneys do the same work as patent agents, but the financial returns for attorneys are much higher, and it would be rare that a patent agent would be considered for partnership in a private patent attorney firm.

I cannot leave without mentioning the most bizarre case of all - Switzerland. In a country where even shop assistants do apprenticeships, "patent attorney" is not a protected title in Switzerland - anyone in Switzerland can describe themselves as a patent attorney and charge money for it. This is probably partly because the Swiss Office does not substantively examine the content of patent applications. Of course, if you consistently submit absolute rubbish to Bern, you could suddenly find that Bern will take a inordinate interest in your activities.

The idea of a Swiss national qualifying examination surfaces now and then, but given that most Swiss patents now come via the European route, which forces the Swiss profession to do the EQE, there is not a lot of urgency. Similarly, most Swiss trade mark applications come in through the international (Madrid) system.
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