Patent attorneys and agents (professional representatives)
It is often useful to appoint a patent attorney or agent (the EPO uses the term professional representative) to help you with a patent procedure. The Patents Act does not require that you hire a representative if you are domiciled in Finland. But if your domicile is not in Finland, you must have a representative who lives in the European Economic Area. Anybody can be appointed to act as a representative, but we recommend that you turn to an authorised patent attorney.
Why appoint a representative?
Patent applications are not easy to prepare. After filing your application, you cannot add anything new to it, and the patent claims should be worded in such a way that a patent can be granted. The claims should also be made to hold up in possible court proceedings, whether it is a case of infringement or an attempt to invalidate the patent.
Patent systems vary from country to country. To avoid wasting money and time when filing in other countries, you should be aware of the differences. We highly recommend that you appoint a representative when you apply for a patent outside Finland.
Authorised patent attorneys
On 1 July 2014, a new law – the Finnish Act on Authorised Industrial Property Attorneys – entered into force, and the old law – the Act on Patent Agents – was repealed. Consequently, a new procedure was introduced for the authorisation of industrial property attorneys. An important element in the procedure is an examination for assessing the candidates’ professional skills. The PRH’s Register of Patent Agents has been closed.
Attorneys and agents can operate – even professionally – without authorisation, but only authorised attorneys have the right to use the titles protected by law, such as patent attorney, trademark attorney, design attorney, and industrial property attorney. The authorisation only applies to natural persons, not agencies.
European patent attorneys (professional representatives)
Those representing applicants with European patent applications have to be recorded in the EPO’s register of professional representatives. In order to qualify, the candidates must pass the European qualifying examination. Go to the EPO website for more information: Find a professional representative.Open link in a new tab
If the applicant is domiciled in an EPC (European Patent Convention) contracting state, it is recommended, not mandatory, to use a representative.
Finnish patent attorneys and agencies
The Association of Finnish Patent Attorneys (SPAY) maintains a directory of patent attorneys and agencies on its website. Go to the SPAY website.Open link in a new tab