FICPI conducts its activities through voluntary member participation, and its functions and activities are the responsibility of specific commissions (committees). Considerable emphasis is placed on the work of the commissions, whose members make detailed studies of issues of particular interest to the IP profession and its clients.
The largest commission is the CET, the Study & Work Commission, whose acronym derives from the French name “Commission d’Étude et de Travail“. The CET comprises a number of specialised commissions dealing with trade mark matters, industrial designs and copyright, international patent questions, European, Community and other regional patent systems, patent issues arising in specialist subject matter areas such as computer-implemented inventions and biotechnology, IP litigation, including alternative dispute resolution, customs procedures etc., national IP issues and IP asset management.
The Professional Excellence Commission (PEC) addresses issues of interest to the daily work of IP practitioners and their practices, and promotes excellence amongst IP firms; including initiatives such as developing standards the communication between firms as a way to reduce the risk of misunderstandings and possible losses of rights to clients. The PEC Commission is also developing a mentoring system to assist in the management of IP firms.
The Training & Education Commission (TEC) has responsibility for promoting the training and education of members of FICPI and others interested in intellectual property protection. The TEC Commission is involved in developing the working programme is for FICPI’s educational meeting such as the Open Forums held every two years out of three in Europe and other symposia, but importantly also supervises the work of the FICPI Academy of Education, a body of voluntary tutors and course coordinators who each year run patent drafting courses in Europe and Southeast Asia.
The European Members Commission of FICPI (EUCOF) was established to facilitate relations with the European Commission and other pan-European organisations interested in intellectual property. EUCOF also provides support to FICPI members in “smaller” European countries where the profession faces particular challenges, especially following the introduction of the London Agreement.
Other commissions are concerned with admissions, FICPI’s statutes, deontology, communications, membership and contact with national IP attorney organisations so as to facilitate possible memberships. The majority of FICPI’s commissions have important tasks to perform in fulfilment of FICPI’s current strategic plan, which was approved by the EXCO in 2009.