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

See also

The European Patent

A European success story for innovation

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Internships for graduates in the fields of law, international relations, European affairs, economics and communication

These internships are open to talented graduates who have recently completed a degree in law, international relations, European affairs, economics, communication or marketing.

They are available in the following EPO departments:

0.8 - External Communications
3.0 - Legal Research and Administration
4.2 - Internal Communication
4.3.1.1 - Legal Support
5.0.2 - Brussels Bureau
5.1.1 - European Co-operation
5.1.2 - International Cooperation
5.2.1 - Patent Law
5.2.2 - International Legal Affairs, PCT
5.2.3 - Legal Division
5.2.4 - International Organisations, Trilateral & IP5
5.3.1 - Institutional and General Legal Matters
5.3.2 - Employment Law
5.3.4 - Legal Services The Hague
5.4 - Patent Information - European Patent Academy
5.4.0.2 - Didactics (European Patent Academy - Munich)
5.4.1 - Publication (Patent Information - Vienna)
5.4.2 - Promotion (Patent Information - Vienna / Munich)
5.4.3 - Specialised Services (Patent Information - Vienna)
5.4.4 - IP Practice (European Patent Academy - Munich / Vienna / The Hague)
5.4.5 - IP Awareness (European Patent Academy - Munich)

Aims

Under the supervision of a lawyer or administrator, interns spend their four-month internship as follows:

  • learning about the department's activities
  • building on the knowledge they acquired during their studies
  • familiarising themselves with various aspects of the European patent system
  • gaining first-hand experience of working in an international organisation

Availability

The number of places available is limited and is reviewed every year.

Internships are offered in the different sites, but primarily in Munich.

Dates

Two internship periods are available each year as follows:

  • March-June (closing date for applications: 31 October of the previous year)
  • September-December (closing date for applications: 30 April)

Financial support

The EPO makes a contribution towards living costs (on condition that they do not receive financial support from any other source). It does not cover any other expenses.

Interns must provide evidence of health insurance.

Requirements

Applicants must:

  • hold a recognised university degree or equivalent qualification, preferably in the field of patent law or intellectual property. In the latter case, the main subject of the degree should be related to the work done in the department concerned. Priority will be given to applicants who either already have a postgraduate degree or who are currently studying for one.
  • have completed their university degree no more than two years prior to the beginning of the internship.
  • have a very good knowledge of one of the EPO's official languages (English, French and German) and a good knowledge of another.
  • be nationals of one of the EPO member states

How to apply

If you would like to apply for one of these internships you can do so using our online application form.

After submitting your application you will see a confirmation web screen. You will not receive a separate confirmation notification by e-mail. 

The form is in English, but you may complete it in French or German if you wish. You may submit your CV and/or motivation letter in any of these three languages.

Shortlisted applicants may be required to submit further supporting documents (e.g. university diploma) and may be interviewed by a tutor.

Please note that the EPO operates a strict policy of pre-employment screening for new staff. Before the screening process commences, you will be asked to give your written consent. Screening is pre-requisite. Those who do not give their consent will therefore not be considered.

Retrieve your draft application

If you submit your application as a draft, you can retrieve it here.

0.8 - External Communicationst

The work of External Communications ranges from the external website, our social media profiles, publications, press and film content, as well as providing input to our media partners like CNN, Financial Times, Les Echos and Handelsblatt. Our biggest activities of the year centre on the European Inventor Award and the annual results. In addition to communicating on legal and technical issues with the patent profession, we engage with policy-makers, stake-holders and the public on broader issues around innovation.

Interns should have experience of one or more of the following disciplines:

  • journalism
  • press and media relations
  • websites and/or social media
  • publication design
  • event organisation.

Some knowledge of intellectual property or patents may be an advantage, but is not essential.

Location: Munich, Germany

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3.0 - Legal Research and Administration

Responsible for:

  • providing the boards of appeal and the general public with information about EPO and national case law; developments in patent law; publishing DG 3 decisions in the EPO Official Journal and the case law reports; providing assistance in appeal proceedings and support for the Vice-President DG 3 and the Director 3.0; training judges and EPO examiners (Legal Research)
  • legal and technical literature, CD-ROMs, databases (DG 3 Library)

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4.2 - Internal Communication

Responsible for: 

  • Management and production of the gazette (in-house magazine) 
  • Internal editing and publications (intranet news, gazette, audio-video)
  • Internal communication consultancy
  • Application management of the intranet
  • Organising or supporting internal and external events 

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4.3.1.1 - Legal Support

Responsible for:

  • legal support to HR related projects, notably when changes of the Service Regulations are required
  • legal expert desk for PD 4.3 staff
  • checking new internal appeals on whether a solution can be found and being involved in the decision taking process following the recommendation by the Internal Appeals Committee
  • representing the Office in procedures before the Disciplinary Committee 

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5.0.2 - Brussels Bureau

Responsible for:

  • liaising with European Institutions on issues of importance to the EPO and representing the EPO in Brussels on policy issues relating to patent law, innovation, research, regional aspects and international affairs
  • co-operating with the European Commission on issues relating to the internal market, innovation, regional affairs, competitiveness, trade and external relations
  • attending and reporting on debates and conferences in the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, as well as meetings with relevant stakeholders from industry, including BusinessEurope and non-governmental organisations
  • providing early alerts on political developments
  • event management, internal and external communication
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5.1.1 - European Co-operation

Responsible for:

  • Co-ordination of co-operation: Co-ordination of the whole spectrum of co-operation activities and the relations with a specific member state in general and the implementation of the projects set out in the Bilateral Co-operation Plans in particular;
  • New projects: Development of new co-operation projects in line with the users' and member states' needs and following the EPO policy objectives;
  • Exchange of information: Facilitation of the exchange of information relevant for co-operation (e.g. patent information, reports, studies, information about specific tools and services, etc.);
  • Monitoring of implementation: Monitoring of co-operation activities implementation, including policy compliance;
  • Networking: Facilitation of contacts between NPOs and relevant EPO units and Organisation of EPN events
  • Briefing: Support to senior management (e.g. through reports, mission files)

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5.1.2 - International Cooperation

Responsible for:

  • maintaining relations and co-operation programmes with patent offices in non-member states
  • maintaining official contacts with patent offices in non-member states
  • proposing strategies and policies concerning relations with non-member states
  • negotiating and drafting annual work plans and related documents (strategy papers, country briefs, etc.)
  • organising and monitoring the implementation of the co-operation activities in the annual work plans
  • providing patent-related support to the European Commission for IP Dialogues with developing countries

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5.2.1 - Patent Law

Responsible for:

  • providing legal advice to DG 1 and DG 2 in all phases of the patent grant procedure (filing > formalities examination > search > substantive examination and post-grant opposition)
  • answering general queries relating to patent law
  • taking part in examination/opposition proceedings as legally qualified members
  • legal aspects of Online Services
  • preparation and implementation of legislation
  • analysing case law and assessing its impact on EPO practice

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5.2.2 - International Legal Affairs, PCT

Responsible for:

  • developments in European patent law, in particular amendments to the EPC
  • legal co-operation with the national patent offices, international organisations and the US and Japan patent offices (trilateral co-operation)
  • publications (EPC, Official Journal of the EPO, brochure on national law relating to the EPC)
  • patent judges' symposium
  • preparing EPO decisions in PCT matters
  • chairing the EPO's PCT Co-ordination Group
  • maintaining and developing the PCT system in close co-operation with WIPO
  • representing the EPO at international PCT-related meetings (WIPO, trilateral co-operation)
  • monitoring PCT-related EPO procedures and providing legal advice to other EPO departments

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5.2.3 - Legal Division

Responsible for:

  • list of professional representatives
  • general authorisations
  • European Patent Register
  • secretariat of the Disciplinary Board of the EPO

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5.2.4 - International Organisations, Trilateral & IP5

Responsible for the implementation of the EPO's international co-operation activities:

  • in the context of the IP5 programme (including activities with the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
  • on the basis of the trilateral objectives agreed with the JPO and USPTO
  • with WIPO and other international organisations such as the WHO

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5.3.1 - Institutional and General Legal Matters

Responsible for:

  • legal advice and expert opinions on all questions relating to the EPO's status as an international intergovernmental organisation and to the status of its staff, particularly in connection with the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities and the seat agreements; legal advice on and drafting of statutory legislation of the EPO's legislative organs and institutional reforms
  • the legal and contractual framework for EPO activities (including negotiating with third parties and drafting the legal terms of contracts and agreements)
  • protecting the European Patent Organisation against loss of rights, including representing and defending the EPO before national and international courts and arbitration boards

The department does not deal with issues relating to patents or personnel.

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5.3.2 Employment Law

Responsible for

  • giving Office senior management and the Personnel Department advice on all aspects of employment law (Service regulations and Pensions Scheme Regulations in particular)
  • providing support for the drafting of regulatory texts 
  • representing the Office in internal appeals procedures (including hearings before its Appeals Committee) and in complaint procedures before the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO. 

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5.3.4 - Legal Services The Hague

Responsible for:

  • legal advice and expert opinions on all questions relating to the EPO's status as an international intergovernmental organisation and to the status of its staff, particularly in connection with the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities and the seat agreements: legal advice on and drafting of statutory legislation of the EPO's legislative organs and institutional reforms
  • the legal and contractual framework for EPO activities (including negotiating with third parties and drafting the legal terms of contracts and agreements)
  • protecting the European Patent Organisation against loss of rights, including representing and defending the EPO before national and international courts and arbitration boards

The department does not deal with patent-related issues.

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5.4 Patent Information - European Patent Academy

Responsible for:

  • the EPO's patent information activities, including turning patent documents into public information (Patent Information)
  • promoting and developing harmonised education and training in the field of European and international patent-related intellectual property law and practice across Europe (Patent Academy)
  • supporting and developing training initiatives, including the organisation of training events in co-operation with current and potential member states, international organisations, national training providers and other partners in the field

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5.4.0.2 - Didactics (European Patent Academy - Munich)

Responsible for:

  • the educational approach, in particular for the on-line offer of training, for both current and potential users of the European patent system.
  • Obtaining the right combination of instructional design, audio-visual definition and technological means for training purposes, mostly web-based, is the core activity of the unit.
    • e-learning design and production
    • instructional design of training materials, with an emphasis on on-line training
    • development of audio/video material for educational purposes
    • visual and contents structuring of training material
    • selection and maintenance of web-based training tools

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5.4.1 - Publication (Patent Information - Vienna)

Responsible for:

  • official publications of the Office as patent documents EP-A and EP-B, the Official Journal, the European Patent Bulletin
  • providing access to EPO patent databases for external users, either directly (Espacenet, European patent register, European Publication Server, etc.) or via patent information delivered to commercial providers
  • "one-stop shop" for anyone requiring expertise for the production of any type of publication within the Office

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5.4.2 - Promotion (Patent Information - Vienna / Munich)

Responsible for:

  • promotion and marketing of the EPO patent information products and services
  • planning, organisation and implementation of exhibitions stands, conferences, learning and promotional events
  • planning and implementation/production of live online events and self-paced training materials
  • production and publication of patent information related support materials on paper and on the internet, e.g. brochures or newsletters
  • user support for various patent information products, e.g. in form of helpdesk service or production of online help
  • collection and analysis of user feedback and requirements for patent information products
  • analysis of patent information products from the EPO and other providers
  • creating support material for patent statistics and patent portfolio management

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5.4.3 - Specialised Services (Patent Information - Vienna)

Responsible for:

  • Asian patent information services including legal status searches and watches, SDI and patent monitoring, Japanese subject matter searches and translations of patent documents
  • training on Asian patent information retrieval and particular aspects of the Asian patent systems and organisation of a yearly "East meets West" forum on Asian patent information in Vienna
  • distribution of information on searching free Asian sources and on particular aspects of the Asian patent systems via a "virtual helpdesk" and "Asian updates" on the EPO website, as well as publication of a regular column "News from Asia" and other articles in the EPO's Patent Information News
  • distribution of all EPO publications and products
  • invoicing for EPO products and services and administration of customer account's in SAP
  • printing service for internal working material needed for training and conferences

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5.4.4 - IP Practice (European Patent Academy - Munich / Vienna / The Hague)

For information please refer to:

Internships in Event Management, European Patent Academy, IP Practice.

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5.4.5 - IP Awareness (European Patent Academy - Munich)

Responsible for:

  • raising awareness of IP with a focus on patents in academia and business
  • supporting third-party activities that aim at training those in industry, business advisers, persons involved in technology transfer, and university lecturers, students and researchers on how to make most use of the European patent system
  • training selected target groups on patent-related IP topics
  • developing IP teaching and learning materials for universities, business and industry throughout the member states

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