Many have heard the term “client-attorney privilege” – at least we know from the American movies that such privilege may be used to hide the most gruesome secrets from a criminal court of law….
Many also know that US patent litigation often involves enormous values, impacting Swedish businesses as suppliers, partners and obviously, as counterparty before the Judge and his Jury.
Fewer may have considered the importance for a Swedish business or enterprise to work with a patent attorney who can apply such a privilege. What if you, as e.g. a manufacturing company selling products in the US, are accused of patent infringement and find yourself involved in US litigation?
You will most likely be represented by American lawyers in the US court, but remember that the other party will have the right to call your staff including consultants as witnesses. A patent attorney is often aware of details of your research work and technical strategies to market, which are crucial to keep far away from the competition. Meaning, your patent attorney is one of the last people you want to place on the witness stand unless a client-attorney privilege applies.
Brann is happy to present 15 attorneys (patent attorneys and attorneys at law), who are all registered and authorised under Swedish law and who therefore could apply the client-attorney privilege when working with you. For those interested in the legal nitty-gritty, the read continues below:
Surprisingly to some, in the civil law country of Sweden, any person may practise law, and offer legal services including representation before the Swedish Patent Office without the need for official authorisation. Legal education is of course available at universities and other institutions, and most patent agent firms have patent attorneys trained for the European exam (the EQE) to ensure a common standard and quality.
However, those active in the trade of patents would always treat patent litigation in common law countries such as US with a well-founded respect, if not fear. An element that may place foreign parties at a disadvantage is the fact that client-attorney privilege will apply only if authorised in a country where the national law includes such a basis.
A great step forward was taken in 2010, when Patentombudsnämnden was created and commissioned by the government to provide a national exam and register the thereby authorized Swedish patent attorneys (Patentombudsnämnden is found here. Technical competence is required of a level equivalent to the EQE, and the legal requirements have a focus on legislation specific to Sweden, such as remuneration to inventors and the professor’s privilege.
This qualification of the Brann attorneys is an additional quality in their daily quest of making clients successful in business by actively using IP.
Do you have any questions? Please contact Annika Kilander, European Patent Attorney at BRANN AB.