See also

Find out more about the European Patent Office.

European Patent Office

See the full list of the EPO member and extension states.

EPO member and extension states


Patent examiner training

“There is a lot to learn in the first couple of years when you start as a patent examiner. And throughout the course of your entire career you will have to continue to learn.”

Willem Gijsels, examiner for telecommunications, The Hague

Examining patents is a very responsible job. The European patent is an internationally recognised benchmark for quality, and making the right decisions on patent grants requires a high level of expertise.

The EPO provides a two-year training programme for newly recruited examiners, combining classroom learning with tutoring by individually assigned coaches.

Training usually takes place at the examiners' place of work, namely Munich, The Hague or Berlin.

The programme empowers examiners-in-training by providing:

  • Classroom learning in groups of 12 (or fewer).
    During the first two years, examiners enrol in an extensive training program to become familiar with the tools and procedures necessary for the job.
  • Guided learning with a personally assigned coach.
    Mainly during their first year, examiners are assigned personal coaches. These are specially trained and experienced examiners who are experts in the new examiner's field.

The training covers:

  • Hands-on learning about everyday tools and procedures.
    Courses cover computer tools, databases, search methods and procedures used in everyday examining work.
  • Legal and practical expertise.
    Examiners learn to apply the patentability criteria: novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. They also attend courses on European and international patent law and practice.
  • Language skills.
    New recruits will preferably be proficient in all three EPO languages, but some may need to work on one or two. The EPO offers the necessary language training.
  • Work on real-life patents.
    Under the close supervision of their coaches, newly recruited examiners work on actual patent applications from day one.

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