4.4. Authorisation of an association of representatives

The Administrative Council's decision CA/D 9/13 of 16 October 2013 on the interpretation of the term "association of representatives" (OJ 2013, 500) endorsed the interpretation in J 16/96. For more information on this subject, see also the Notice dated 28 August 2013 on matters concerning representation before the EPO (OJ 2013, 535).

As explained in J 8/10 (OJ 2012, 470), the EPO keeps a list of associations of representatives as an internal working tool which it does not publish.

In J 16/96 (OJ 1998, 347) the EPO Legal Division had informed a company X that its patents department could not be registered as an association of representatives. Such an association meant one consisting solely of professional representatives in private practice. The Legal Board concluded that there was no basis in the Convention for the EPO's practice of restricting R. 101(9) EPC 1973 (now R. 152(11) EPC) to professional representatives "in private practice". An association within the meaning of that provision could therefore also be formed by professional representatives not in private practice. There was no reason to interpret the term "association of representatives" in a way which limited its meaning. (J 16/96 cited on this point in T 656/98). As mentioned in the introduction to this point, Decision CA/D 9/13 endorsed the Legal Board's interpretation in J 16/96.

Case J 8/10 (OJ 2012, 470) was about whether legal practitioners too could belong to associations of representatives under R. 152(11) EPC (R. 101(9) EPC 1973). The Legal Board interpreted R. 152(11) EPC as referring to an association of professional representatives. Therefore, legal practitioners were not covered by the legal fiction of R. 152(11) EPC (see also T 1846/11).

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