CHRISTOPHER MORCOM, Representation of Parties before the European Court of Justice—Is There a Need for Reform?, European Intellectual Property Review, Volume 31, Issue 5, 2009
Orders under the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 have designated the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents (CIPA) and the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) as \”authorised bodies\” for the grant of rights of audience and litigators\’ rights. Duly qualified patent and trade mark attorneys are now placed on the same footing as solicitors. Not so in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the statutes of which restrict these rights to \”lawyers\”. Recent Court of First Instance (CFI) decisions have prevented patent and trade mark attorneys from appearing or instructing barristers in cases before the court. This opinion considers the decisions and questions the Court\’s interpretation of the word \”lawyer\”, which appears to ignore the fact that the attorneys have been granted rights under the 1990 Act to act, in essence, as lawyers.