PTAB adopts new attorney-client privilege rule for USPTO trial proceedings, extending protection to patent agents and foreign patent practitioners.

USPTO는 2017.11.7자로 PTAB proceedings에 관한 Attorney-client privilege 규칙을 공표했다.

2017.12.7부터 발효되는 새로운 규칙은, 그 동안 명확한 규정이 없던 US patent agent 및 해외 특허대리인 (가령, 한국의 변리사, 특허변호사) 에 대한 명문의 규정을 정한 것이다.

 

즉, PTAB의 절차에서 Attorney-client privilege는 기본적으로 US attorney와 client간에 성립되는데, 동일한 범위와 제한으로 US patent agent 및 “foreign patent practitioner”에 대하여도 성립되는 것으로 명문화 했다.

37 C.F.R. §42.57의 (b) definition에 의하면, US patent practitioner와 foreign jurisdiction patent practitioner에 대하여 다음과 같이 정의하고 있다.

 

‘‘USPTO patent practitioner’’ means a person who has fulfilled the requirements to practice patent matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office under § 11.7 of this chapter.

‘‘Foreign jurisdiction patent practitioner’’ means a person who is authorized to provide legal advice on patent matters in a foreign jurisdiction, provided that the jurisdiction establishes professional qualifications and the practitioner satisfies them.

 

또한, foreign jurisdiction practitioner에 대하여는 해당 국가에서 (미국에 대하여) 동일한 수준의 privilege 인정여부와 관계없이 본 규칙에서는 privilege를 인정하는 것으로 했다. 다음과 같다.

For foreign jurisdiction practitioners, this rule applies regardless of whether that jurisdiction provides privilege or an equivalent under its laws.

 

본 규칙은 PTAB proceeding에 있어서, 일관성을 확보하고 미국 또는 외국 특허대리인과 고객 간의 대화에 대한 동일한 privilege를 보장하는 취지에서 제정되었다.

 

다음은 37 C.F.R. §42.57 전문이다.

 

§42.57 Privilege for patent practitioners.

(a) Privileged communications. A communication between a client and a USPTO patent practitioner or a foreign jurisdiction patent practitioner that is reasonably necessary and incident to the scope of the practitioner’s authority shall receive the same protections of privilege under Federal law as if that communication were between a client and an attorney authorized to practice in the United States, including all limitations and exceptions.

(b) Definitions. The term ‘‘USPTO patent practitioner’’ means a person who has fulfilled the requirements to practice patent matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office under § 11.7 of this chapter. ‘‘Foreign jurisdiction patent practitioner’’ means a person who is authorized to provide legal advice on patent matters in a foreign jurisdiction, provided that the jurisdiction establishes professional qualifications and the practitioner satisfies them. For foreign jurisdiction practitioners, this rule applies regardless of whether that jurisdiction provides privilege or an equivalent under its laws.

(c) Scope of coverage. USPTO patent practitioners and foreign jurisdiction patent practitioners shall receive the same treatment as attorneys on all issues affecting privilege or waiver, such as communications with employees or assistants of the practitioner and communications between multiple practitioners.

새로운 블로그 Patent Brilliant 에서 새로운 글 업데이트 중입니다.

Patent Brilliant 주소: https://patentbrilliant.blogspot.com

미국 특허등록요건에 관한 case law 와 MPEP (Manual of Patent Examining Procedure) 주요 chapter 위주로 미국특허법을 study 합니다.

김정훈 (Robert J. Kim), US attorney at law (Washington DC), 특허법인 우인