Advertising Standards Authority keeps “Patent Expert” from Dutch market
In a decision dated 28th July 2009, the Dutch Advertising Standards Authority prohibited a defendant from advertising himself as a “Patent Expert”.
The defendant had a website on which he advertised himself as a “Patent Expert” and where he claimed to have received training to that effect in Germany between 1980 and 1982. He claimed that the only difference between himself and a patent attorney was the price charged for drafting a patent application. He stated that a patent attorney would charge “€5000 or more” to draft an application, whereas he charged “€960 all-in”. The “all-in” included: a novelty search, and the drafting of an application if the novelty search revealed no novelty-related problems. Moreover, he guaranteed the grant of a patent after filing the application and legal protection.
The Advertising Standards Authority decided that the defendant had violated the Dutch Advertising Standards in two ways:
- First, the title “Patent Expert” is not an official title, but was made up by the defendant. The defendant could not prove that a “Patent Expert” is somebody who has followed an official training course that is equivalent to a patent attorney’s training. The authority stated that it is misleading to state that a patent application drafted by a “Patent Expert” has the same quality as one drafted by a patent attorney.
- Second, it is true that the Netherlands Industrial Property Office grants a patent on every patent application (because the Netherlands has a registration system). However, this does not guarantee that the invention is legally protected. That is to be decided by the court during infringement or nullity proceedings. Moreover, in practice, the protection is determined by the quality of the application and - in view of several examples of applications drafted by the defendant - the defendant was unable to show that he could provide such a quality application.
Therefore, the authority ruled that the defendant had violated the Advertising Standards. The defendant was thus forced to stop advertising in this way.
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