Friday, June 06, 2008

Stairway to Heaven aka "VAP"

Today's title isn't some form of subtle advertisement for a 70's rockband song or some hallucinogenic reverie (although...), but a reference to the recently released communiqué by the French PTO (, about the organisation of the upcoming session for "validation des acquis professionnels" and consequent registration as a person qualified to practice IP.

Nothing to do with vapour or ephemerism whatsoever, except that it remains to be seen whether the legislative text behind this organisation will still be applicable once we have all become Avocats (that word just seems to creep in everywhere, doesn't it ?).

Just a quick recap : the French IP profession consists of about 800 registered specialists in private practice. This number is considered by the government authorities to be largely insufficient (and I tend to agree). In an attempt to overcome the stagnation that has beset our profession over the past 25 years, the government has thus decided to organise, in line with national policies in other sectors in France on training and recognition of professional experience, a means of becoming a registered IP practitioner without having to sit those awful and extremely arbitrary qualifying examinations that all of us middle-agies had to go through. With the merger with the Bar looming, and the consequence of increasingly difficult and lengthy examination spans to be introduced, there has been pressure put on the PTO to organise a professional experience recognition or VAP-session to swell the ranks of current practising membership as much as possible. On a side note, the PTO has also just announced the organisation of the qualifying examinations sessions as well, for those who are of a masochistic inclination.

I'm not going to translate the communiqué for would-be readers, because if you want to have any hope of being accepted, you need to have at least some inkling of French, so it'll be a good test for you. Suffice it to say that this session is open to all and sundry having worked in IP for at least 8 years, and meeting the other formal requirements (higher education degree in law or a science based subject), plus an equivalent diploma or education to that dispensed by the CEIPI in Strasbourg for IP studies.

The deadline for applying is September 8th, 2008 (midnight at the latest), as witnessed by the date postmark on your registered letter of application (with acknowledgement of receipt).

The oral interviews are to be held on October 20th, 2008. These interviews serve to ascertain the truth of the declarations relating to the acquired professional experience, and the depth of knowledge of the candidate with regard to our code of professional ethics. The jury will also have the possibility to question the candidates on their professional experience. Hmm, I wonder who's going to be chosen to do jury service, will it be a voluntary thing, or will we all have to take it in turns to do our bit for the promotion of our dying breed ? Lie back and think of France I can imagine the scene now : me thinking, mmm, yes, that gorgeous deep ruby red Cahors would go down really well just now - "I'm sorry, Mademoiselle, what was that you were saying about your patent drafting experience..." as my numbed brain is brought back to reality - now what was I saying about Stairways to Heaven and hallucinogenic experiences...

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