Historical Overview of Articles, Rules and Code of Conduct

On 21 April 2015, a draft set of Articles and Rules concerning the proposed certification system was released for public comment. The certification volunteers spent two years reviewing and discussing in depth the public comments, criticisms and suggestions in the spirit of creating a system that is in line with the realities faced by patent information professionals. On 11 May 2017 the second version of the Articles and Rules, together with a proposed Code of Conduct were released for public comment. The ISBQPIP would like to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to review and comment on these documents.

In direct response to the public feedback received on the first version of the Articles and Rules, the following was revised:

• A Professional Representatives Committee will now be formed who will elect the members of the Supervisory Committee and serve as a liaison between the represented organisations (such as patent information user groups) and the Supervisory Committee.
• Three years of either full-time or part-time work experience (instead of three years of full time or the equivalent in part time work) will be required to enrol in the certification exams. The fact that the three years has not been reduced reflects the reality that considerable hands-on experience over time is required before a patent information professional becomes proficient. For an explanation of the type of experience required, please see Rule 4.2.
• The number of search projects required to have been completed by the exam candidate in the three years prior to applying to sit for the exam has been reduced from 20/year (of which at least 5 were patent infringement risk searches and at least 5 were novelty/validity/opposition searches) to 45 search projects completed within the course of the three year period as selected by the applicant from the list provided in Rule 4.3 which now includes patent landscape projects. Consequently, an applicant that has only completed one type of search project (for example, novelty searches) in the three year period will meet this exam enrolment requirement so long as 45 novelty search projects have been completed in the three year period.
• When completing the analysis examination paper, the candidate will need to demonstrate the ability to categorize search results as being of interest or not by using technical knowledge combined with basic knowledge of major patent systems and patents laws. Patent attorney level knowledge will not be examined.
• Prior Experience Recognition (PER) applicants no longer need to have completed 20 search projects per year (of which 5 were patent infringement risk and 5 were novelty/validity/opposition searched) in the five years preceding the PER application. The PER applicant will now be asked to provide supporting documentation that demonstrates their patent information related work experience as explained in Rule 18.5c in the 10 years before applying for PER.
• A person who attains QPIP registration via PER and whose name is randomly selected to participate in either a committee or in developing training or courses related to the core competencies of the certification examination can be excused twice within a five year period from participating if they are unable to participate for any reason.
• Notarised photocopies of qualifications listed in the candidate’s CV or PER application are no longer required.
• Minimum of 10 Continued Professional Development (CPD) points in the last year preceding the PER applicant’s application has been reduced to 5 CPD points.
• During the first year in which the CPD requirement comes into effect only 5 CPD points (instead of 10) will be required to maintain QPIP registration.

In response to the feedback on the second version of the Articles and Rules the following amendments have been made:
• The duties of the Treasurer are specified in more detail and a procedure for auditing the financial records is introduced. The budget and the financial report will be made available to the Professional Representatives Committee and to all ISBQPIP members.
• The Accreditation Committee must only be informed if an accredited training or course has been changed significantly, i.e. parts have been removed or added. Minor changes like updates do not need to be reported.
• A member of the Regulatory and Disciplinary committee shall not take part in the handling of a complaint against a decision in which they themselves have been involved.
• Overseeing search work of others, in combination with searching, is now included as an option for work experience for enrolment for the certification examination, beside searching only, or searching in combination with outsourcing or mentoring.
• The re-sit options for examination papers have been clarified: ‘within three years’ was changed to ‘a maximum of twice at the next two opportunities’.

In response to feedback from the notary public on the third version of the Articles and Rules the following amendments have been made:
• Since the organisation will be a foundation (not an association) it can’t have members. Therefore ‘members’ in Article 5 are replaced by ‘associated persons’
• The Professional Representatives Committee cannot be considered a committee under the ISBQPIP, but is rather a monitoring body. Therefore a separate article is added on this body, renamed to Professional Representatives Collegium, describing their (enhanced) responsibilities and procedures regarding appointments of Collegium members, end of membership, decision taking and meetings.
• Article 22 on a possible dissolution of the ISBQPIP has been specified in more detail
• The Rules have further been adapted to reflect the changes in the Articles, meaning that Rule 3.6 has now been deleted from Rule 3 (which deals with Committees) and has been added to Rule 2.

In response to the feedback on the Code-of-Conduct the following amendments have been made:
• The wording of the Code-of-Conduct is modified to make clearer that it is intended for any QPIP regardless if they work in a law firm, search firm or in industry or are self-employed. The word ‘client’ as used in the Code-of-Conduct is chosen as a collective term to capture all of these different employment scenarios. Effectively, a QPIP's "client" is their supervisor, fellow employee or their employer's client who is requesting the patent information work. In the case of self-employed QPIPs , the "client" is the person requesting the patent information work.
• More emphasis is put on the fact that a QPIP should not provide any legal advice or legal opinion.
• The requirement of ‘not using resources not available to competitors’ has been removed.

Below are responses to the major points from the feedback that have not resulted in changes to the Articles and Rules:

• Although some of the knowledge to be tested via the exams may not be used currently by the candidates, the aim of the certification is to become an all-round patent information professional and to prepare for possible future directions of the QPIP's career.
• If some of the requirements for registering for the examinations or for PER may appear quite strict, please keep in mind that the ISBQPIP may be contacted for advice and exceptions may be made under the hardship clause (Article 19 Hardship/Force Majeur).
• The reason that the Supervisory Council is open to not only patent information professionals but also patent attorneys, patent agents or patent examiners is to ensure diversity amongst the Supervisory Council members. It is envisioned that when the Professional Representatives Committee appoints a person to serve on the Supervisory Council, that person will be able to demonstrate, at a minimum, an enduring interest in patent information.
• Candidates cannot sit the exams unless they have 3 years of work experience at the date of the exam, because it is considered necessary for the examinees to have a certain amount of experience in order to have a reasonable chance of passing the exams.
• Although it may be useful to know multiple languages for searching patent information, depending on which countries you have to search, the only requirement for the exams is to have sufficient knowledge of English, because the exams will be in English.
• As it may be difficult to quantify time spent on tasks for the purposes of meeting the eligibility requirements for examination enrolment or for the PER application, an estimate by the applicant will be sufficient.
• The willingness to contribute is an essential feature to become a QPIP via PER. We need manpower to get and keep the ISBQPIP running. The activities do not necessarily need to be in working hours. Based on our experience no travelling for activities is expected. If there is a requirement to travel, the ISBQPIP should find the means to support any required travel.
• There is an option for those who become a QPIP via PER to refuse twice when being asked to contribute if the QPIP is unable to accept the request to contribute for any reason. A third consecutive refusal will result in losing the QPIP registration. The type of activity/contribution will of course be determined in consultation with the QPIP. Depending on the number of people who become a QPIP via PER, it could happen that some will never be asked to contribute, although volunteers will always be welcomed.
• One of the options to contribute which falls under ‘participating in developing accredited training or courses’ (see Rule 18.5a(1)) would be to evaluate training and courses (e.g. in a national language) for accreditation. This option will explicitly be mentioned on the PER application form.
• Regarding the number of points for CPD activities, one of the responsibilities of the Qualifications and Continued Professional Development Committee will be to determine how courses and other training opportunities and materials will be rated. The committee will also decide on eligibility of CPD activities, as the list in Rule 23.7 is not exhaustive.