I am wondering whether anyone can give an idea as to the job prospects for an EPA with several years of experience, who decided to move to the US and continue to work in IP. Currently, the EP laws do not allow an EPA having a place of business outside of the EU to actively practice before the EPO (which is silly because many things are now done online, but there you have it.)
Thus, would US firms be interested in hiring such a person, even though he or she could not do things directly before the EPO, such as filing applications and responses to Office Actions.
I don't suppose an EPA who has not passed the US bar could be made partner?
Hi UVAGal. I think the virus_guy is correct that it's whether or not you are a registered attorney-at-law that determines whether you can be a partner in a US law firm. Generally, US lawyers are forbidden from entering law partnerships with non-lawyers. So while the USPTO exam is indeed a piece of cake, passing it won't help in terms of partnership. Certainly it might help in terms of getting a law firm position as an agent (i.e., a US agent who also happens to be a qualified under EPC).
But I personally don't think being a US-based EPA would be useful to a US law firm. As you already mention, if you're here, all you can do is act in an advisory capacity. And then so they still have to pay an EU-based EPA to do any actual filings, oral arguments before the examining or opposition divisions, etc. But I could be very wrong about this, so just take it as "one dude's opinion" and keep checking.On the other hand
, where your EPA status may be valuable is in a US in-house patent department of a large corporation. So if you're considering heading back from France, don't forget to look at that angle. And you may want to pay particular attention to US based in-house departments of EU companies. Eriksson, Nokia, etc. These companies will be accustomed to thinking of EPAs as "patent attorneys", whereas the patent depts of US-based companies are filled with US patent lawyers who tend to think of anyone not an attorney-at-law as a second class citizen or even get bent out of shape about the term "attorney" being used for those who are not attorneys-at-law. (Unfortunately I'm serious about this last point, having experience of a number of multinational companies.)