Hungarian IPO Tightens Criteria for Authorized IP Representatives

Jun 8 2023 - 14:04

As of May 1, 2023, the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) changed its practice regarding the examination of legality of the activities of persons acting as representatives in industrial property cases. The reason for the revision was the increasing number of cases where applicants and right holders were represented by persons or companies that were not professional representatives, resulting in damages that were difficult or impossible to correct. As of May 1, 2023, the HIPO has been acting as detailed below:

1. Commercial Companies

If the HIPO determines that the representative is a company that is not registered as a patent attorney company in the register of the Hungarian Chamber of Patent Attorneys, the HIPO will request the company to prove its Chamber membership or to provide a document proving the lawfulness of its representation. If the relevant documents are not provided, the HIPO will reject the representative’s appointment.

2. Non-Commercial Companies

If the representative is a non-commercial company (e.g. association, foundation, cooperative, society, etc.), they must declare, at the request of the HIPO, whether the representation they provide is free of charge on an ad hoc basis or on a commercial basis (regularly and for generating income). Free representation on an ad hoc basis will be authorized, while unlawful representation on a commercial basis may constitute an offence under the Criminal Code. If the company does not respond to the HIPO’s request or does not declare representation on a free of charge and ad hoc basis, the HIPO will reject its appointment.

3. Natural Persons

Natural persons may only act as representatives on a commercial basis if they:

  • Are a member of the Hungarian Bar Association (e.g. attorney at law); or
  • Are a member of the Hungarian Chamber of Patent Attorneys (e.g. patent attorney); or
  • Are a member of a law firm or patent attorney firm; or
  • Act on behalf of a company as in-house counsel or as a company officer authorized to represent the company, i.e. not on the basis of a power of attorney, with proof of procedural legitimacy.

It is however important to note that the patent attorney firm’s legal counsel can only represent the firm and not its clients in industrial property matters.

The representatives who are not members of the Hungarian Bar Association or of the Hungarian Chamber of Patent Attorneys must declare whether they act free of charge and only on an ad hoc basis. If they do not respond to the HIPO’s request or do not declare representation on a free of charge and ad hoc basis, the HIPO will reject their appointment.

4. Foreign Companies

Foreign companies can act as representatives before the HIPO if their representative is an attorney at law or an authorized industrial property representative in a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) and if it can be established from the case file and from the relevant register that they are a member of the Hungarian Bar Association or of the Hungarian Chamber of Patent Attorneys, or that they have declared ad hoc activity. Foreign representatives must be able to communicate in Hungarian.

The HIPO examines powers of attorney submitted after May 1, 2023 according to this modified practice.

Prepared by: Erika Farkas

For more information, please contact hungary@petosevic.com.

Source: Hungarian Intellectual Property Office website

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