The Hungarian Chamber of Patent Attorneys (HCPA) was founded in 1996, arising from Law No. XXXII of 1995 on Patent Attorneys. HCPA is a public body of patent attorneys, active in the entire country and with a headquarters in Budapest. HCPA performs the public tasks specified in the above-mentioned law, as well as representing the interests, and safeguarding the rights, of patent attorneys, it watches over the fulfilment of patent attorneys' obligations and seeks to uphold the good reputation of the profession. HCPA has the right of consultation by, and making proposals to, competent state legislative bodies in the preparation of legislation affecting patent attorney activity; it is also entitled to give its opinion on general issues concerning the protection of intellectual property. The operating expenditures of HCPA are covered by the subscriptions of its members and by other incomes. The President of the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office exercises control over the activity of HCPA from the viewpoint of lawfulness.
Only a person who is a member of HCPA may act as, and hold the title of patent attorney. For admission to HCPA, the candidate must hold a university degree in engineering or an equivalent degree in natural sciences must have passed the examination of patent attorneys and must have professional liability insurance of patent attorneys. Patent attorneys must have a residence or premises suitable for carrying out patent attorney activity, unless the attorney works at an economic organization or is an employed patent attorney. Before commencing with his or her activity, the patent attorney has to take an oath before the President of HCPA.
A patent attorney has the duty of helping his or her clients to enforce their rights and to meet their obligations in industrial property matters. In the course of this, patent attorneys act by being retained or by virtue of an ex officio designation, as representatives in industrial property matters before the competent authorities and courts; they draft patent specifications, petitions, contracts and documents, carry out searches and give expert opinion, advice and information in industrial property matters. Patent attorneys are obliged to act conscientiously and to the best of their knowledge in all matters entrusted to them, to keep the prescriptions of the Code of Conduct of Patent Attorneys and to show conduct worthy of the dignity of the patent attorney profession.
A patent attorney is under an obligation of secrecy and confidentiality with respect to all facts and data that come to his or her knowledge in connection with his or her activity as patent attorney; this obligation remains even after termination of the client-patent attorney relationship.
Since January 1, 2003, when Hungary joined the European Patent Convention (EPC), Hungarian patent attorneys have had the possibility in case of fulfilment of particular conditions to be entered on the list of European professional representatives, allowing them to practise as European Patent Attorneys also.
HCPA keeps a register of patent attorneys, patent attorney candidates, patent law firms and partnerships. Since joining the European Union, the register comprises also a list of representatives from EU countries other than Hungary who have the intention of carrying on their professional activity in Hungary.
The organs of HCPA are the Assembly, the Presidential Board, the Disciplinary Committee and the Audit Committee. The officers of HCPA are the President, two Vice-presidents and the Treasurer. The rules of the organization and activity of HCPA are laid down in its statutes. HCPA has a disciplinary regulation with the detailed rules of disciplinary responsibility and a Code of Conduct relating to the patent attorney profession as well as regulation on the liability insurance matters of patent attorneys. The members of the Presidential Board, the Disciplinary Committee and the Audit Committee are elected for three years, and a patent attorney can be elected for the same function only for two consecutive periods.
HCPA is member of the Association of Hungarian Professional Chambers.
HCPA has good relationships with patent attorney Chambers or Institutes of numerous European countries as well as with the association of the professional representatives before the European Patent Office, the European Patent Institute (epi).