According to article 176 of the Patent Law, industrial property (IP) agents are legally authorized persons who, as liberal professionals, habitually offer and provide their services to advise, assist and represent third parties in obtaining the various types of industrial property. In addition, among its functions there is also to act in defence of the rights derived from the modalities of industrial property before any competent Spanish, Community or international Administration.
It is true that industrial property agents do not have the exclusive right to intervene and act before the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM) since those people interested in defending their rights on their own and residing in a member state of the European Union are also legitimized. However, the complexity of the matter makes expert advice advisable for a better and faster resolution. Likewise, for all those residing outside the EU, the figure of the IP agent becomes essential.
Duties of the industrial property agent
Within the complexity of the topics to be dealt with, we could summarize the functions of an industrial property agent through four actions: advising, assisting, representing third parties and defending cases before the competent authorities. Therefore, we can clarify from these functions that the agent can intervene in all phases of the relationship between the interested person –whether natural or legal- and any competent authorities. When we talk about intervening, we mean that the agent will be in charge of writing requests and preparing legal reports, managing possible intangible assets, granting licenses and transferring said assets, among many other things.
It is important to highlight an element that arises from the relationship between the interested party and the agent: the confidentiality of the matters. Industrial property agents are required to maintain this confidentiality.
How can an industrial property agent help?
As has been seen, the principal function of the specialized agent is to complete the entire procedure for obtaining the industrial property modalities. That procedure is complex, so without the help of an agent, the investment of time and effort for anybody to get the application processed correctly is immeasurable. In addition, it could not be a favourable resolution, either because a mistake during the process or because the rights obtained are too specific and, therefore, have little value.
However, with an agent, he will be in charge of processing the procedure in a more agile and efficient way, solving any possible situation and obtaining valid and valuable protection. According to reports such as the Hoisl-Wagner report from 2013, applications represented by specialist lawyers were granted at a higher rate. Likewise, those submitted without the support of a professional had a high chance of losing rights due to lack of information or understanding of the procedure.
Accreditation as an industrial property agent
In order to be able to practice as an agent and have such status, the candidate must meet a series of requirements, among which is the passing of an aptitude test to confirm the necessary knowledge for the correct exercise of the profession, as well as an exam to verify the ability to speak foreign languages.
Having highlighted the importance of industrial property agent’s work, we have excellent professionals at Ponti with certificates as Industrial Property Agents. In addition, our team is always learning to offer our clients the best service and protect and defend their creations and inventions with the most up-to-date solutions.