The government is proposing to create an authorization system for agents managing industrial property rights. The agents would have the possibility to obtain a degree which reflects their professional competence. Such agents would receive an official authorization and a title recognized by law. The new legislation would repeal the current Act on Patent Agents.
By creating a specific degree, the government aims to improve the quality of industrial property services. Having passed the qualification, agents would be experts on the relevant legislation and administrative procedures, and could therefore offer better advice to companies on protection strategies. While the authorization would not be mandatory, certain professional titles, protected by the law, would be reserved only for authorized agents. These titles are: patent agent (FI: patenttiasiamies), trademark agent (FI: tavaramerkkiasiamies), design right agent (FI: mallioikeusasiamies), and industrial property rights agent (FI: teollisoikeusasiamies).
Both the authorization and supervision of the agents would be assigned to an independent committee for industrial property agents (FI: teollisoikeusasiamieslautakunta), appointed by the National Board of Patents and Registration of Finland. Authorized agents would be subject to good counseling principles and confidentiality. A breach of duties by an agent could result in disciplinary action, up to the revocation of their authorization.
The Act has been proposed in the government bill HE 89/2013 and is indented to enter into force on 1 April 2014. During a one-year transition period, authorization could be granted on the basis of past merits or experience.