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14 July 2023

First Graduates receive their European Patent Litigation Certificates


Foto: First Graduates receive their European Patent Litigation Certificates.


On 14 July 2023 in Trier, twenty European Patent Attorneys received their European Patent Litigation Certificates (EPLC) after successfully completing the course organised by the Academy of European Law and Maastricht University. This qualification allows them to litigate before the newly established Unified Patent Court (UPC). 

After 120 hours of online and face-to-face teaching sessions, practical exercises, and the application of new knowledge in moot courts, the morning of the final course day was spent with oral exams.  

ERA and Maastricht University cooperated on all elements of the course from onset through implementation to the final examination. On the final day, all the main course organisers were present: Dick van Engelen and Anselm Kamperman Sanders from Maastricht University as well as Florence Hartmann-Vareilles, Head of the Business Law Section at ERA. 

Together they handed out the certificates to rounds of applause. 

Usually, ERA targets legal practitioners, such as lawyers, judges and civil servants, with its training events on European law, whereas here for the first time the course was targeted at European patent attorneys, whose background ranged from engineers to physicists. “They have shown resilience and a great capacity for reflection during the various mock trials organised face-to-face in Trier this week, where they were sometimes asked to defend cases before judges specialising in patent litigation, particularly those belonging to the UPC.”, said Florence Hartmann-Vareilles.

Dick van Engelen emphasised the importance of practical elements in the course curriculum: “The practice of law requires practice. Therefore, the EPLC course of ERA and Maastricht University offers a mix of theory and practice, with a focus on mock trials that help our participants to develop the representation skills one needs to act before the UPC.”  

Friedrich v. Samson-Himmelsstjerna, patent attorney from Munich, explained his motivation to participate in the course: “With the establishment of the UPC, we have an unprecedented situation, there is no case law, new rules have to be established and different legal traditions from the member countries will impact its development, which makes it very exciting and I want to learn as much as possible about it.”

To facilitate networking, the face-to-face modules included dinners at Trier restaurants, wine tastings, guided tours and a visit to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Over the duration of the course, the participants have grown together as a group and intend to stay in touch.

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