Career Licensing

The Career

The European Patent Attorney represents clients in all patent-related matters
before the European Patent Office (EPO) pursuant to the European Patent
Convention (EPC).

Licensing Authority

European Patent Office (EPO).

Residency Requirements

There is no residency requirement.

Citizenship Requirements

There is no citizenship requirement.

Educational Requirements

Bachelor's degree in a technical field such as biology, biochemistry, chemistry, electronics, engineering, pharmacology or physics.

There is no requirement that the bachelor's degree was earned within the European Union.

Employment Requirements

Depending upon the strength of the candidate's technical background, as judged by the caliber of the educational institution attended and grades earned as indicated on the candidate's transcript, either three or six years of patent-related experience is required.

The mandatory practical training is very important, since a great deal of the knowledge required by a European Patent Attorney is gained during this period. During this period the candidates must take part in a wide range of activities pertaining to patent applications or patents.

The work experience would typically consist of employment as a paralegal assistant in a legal office that routinely handles patent matters before the European Patent Office. However, the employment need not have been in a legal office. In fact, industrial experience is permitted provided the nature of the technical work involved included assignments in the field of patent drafting and patent prosecution.

Candidates must have trained under the supervision of a professional representative or as an employee or an assistant of an employee dealing with patent matters in an industrial company established in one of the contracting states. However, there is no requirement that the actual place of employment need be located within the European Union.

Licensing Examination

The "European Patent Attorney" licensing examination, called the European Qualifying Examination (EQE), is administered by the European Patent Office (EPO) pursuant to the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Examination Language

The European Qualifying Examination (EQE) may be taken in French, English or German.

Examination Schedule

The European Qualifying Examination (EQE) is given once each year, typically in March.

Examination Content

The European Qualifying Examination (EQE) is designed to establish whether the candidate has the requisite aptitude and knowledge to represent applicants before European Patent Office (EPO) pursuant to the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Candidates need to be particularly conversant with European patent law, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Paris Convention, European Patent Office Board of Appeal case law and certain national laws insofar as they apply to European patent applications and European patents.

Choose either Chemistry or Electrical/Mechanical Patents.

Chemistry Patents
Paper A - Drafting Chemical Patent Claims (3½ hours)
Paper B - Patent Prosecution for Chemical Inventions (4 hours)
Electrical/Mechanical Patents
Paper A - Drafting Electrical/Mechanical Patent Claims (3½ hours)
Paper B - Patent Prosecution for Electrical/Mechanical Inventions (4 hours)
Required Papers
Paper C - Opposition Proceedings (6 hours)
Paper D (Part I) - European Patent Law (3 hours)
Paper D (Part II) - Rendering Legal Opinions (4 hours)
Examination Statistics

In 2007, 684 candidates took the European Qualifying Examination (EQE) for the first time. Of these, only 165 (24%) passed all parts of the examination.