Chris Mercer (Honorary Secretary)

Chris Mercer

Honorary Secretary 

Qualifications: MA (Chemistry), MSc (Biochemistry) (Oxon), CPA, RPA, PAL, EPA.

Professional Career: After university, I joined the patents department of the National Coal Board where I trained for and passed all the CIPA examinations. On qualification, I joined Carpmaels & Ransford and became a partner in 1989. I retired from the partnership in 2010 and became a consultant to the firm. My practice is mainly before the EPO and latterly I have concentrated on oppositions and appeals at the EPO. During my career, I was involved in large scale, multi-national litigations and obtained my litigation certificate as a result.
I have also been involved with providing education, having been a tutor on the JDD P6 course for many years and more recently on their Paper C course. I regularly lecture for the Informals. I have been a JEB examiner and was the epi delegate for the revision of the EQE. I am now a member of the Supervisory Board for the EQE.

Positions Held: I am presently the Honorary Secretary of CIPA. I am a Past President of CIPA and was formerly CIPA’s Vice-President for two years. I have been a member of Council for over 15 years. I am a member of CIPA’s Patents, Litigation, Regulatory Affairs and Congress Steering Committees.

I was a Vice-President and then President of epi and am currently a member of epi’s Council and Board and am a member of epi’s European Patent Practice Committee. I am one of epi’s representatives on SACEPO and regularly meet with the Chairmen of the Boards of Appeal at the EPO.I am the Chairman of the Supervisory Board for the EQE.

I am a member of UNION and FICPI.

Services to the Institute: See above. I am also the Honorary Secretary of the Patent Agents Golfing Society. I have represented CIPA at various meetings, nationally and internationally and have provided contributions to the CIPA Journal.

CIPA is in a process of change. It has devolved its regulatory function to IPReg and is now becoming a fully representative body. However, the introduction of IPReg has also brought with it challenges, in particular in the way in which we are regulated and the way in which candidates are trained so that they can become registered. There are changes forthcoming in the regulatory environment in that there will be a new Chairman of the LSB and we will need to select a new Chairman of IPReg. I have been involved deeply in all these aspects and have tried as far as possible to ensure that the new regulatory system does not overburden CIPA's members.

There is also the likelihood of the Unitary Patent and UPC coming into force in the near future and I have been much involved in discussions within CIPA, with the UKIPO and the EPO and with members of the Preparatory Committee for the UPC, in particular regarding representation, where CIPA has been successful in ensuring that as many UK EPAs as possible are able to represent before the UPC. I am a founder of EPLIT, a voluntary organisation aimed at ensuring that EPAs are granted representation rights before the UPC.

I have always been very keen on educating candidates for what were CIPA's finals examinations and am therefore very keen to ensure that any changes to the qualification system do not reduce access to the profession and do not adversely affect the reputation of the UK profession, which is enviably high throughout the world.

I am also very involved with epi and use this involvement to assist CIPA via its Patents Committee in providing input to the EPO on the way it operates.