The expertise and specialist knowledge of professional representatives before the EPO are essential to the operation of the European patent system, which is why the European Patent Academy co-ordinates and supports an intensive training programme for them.
We focus mainly on trainee attorneys preparing for the European qualifying examination (EQE) under the supervision of experienced representatives acting as their tutors.
The Academy endeavours to ensure that access to training opportunities is the same in all the member states of the European Patent Organisation, particularly those countries in which the EQE pass rate is low or there are very few professional representatives.
For example, in the new member states we promote regional training programmes - in the form of workshops, for example - which are designed to introduce patent attorneys to our training methods over a period of two to three years and build a foundation for future training measures using local expertise. Attorneys from the new member states can also make study visits to the EPO to find out more about how we work.
We provide training materials in the form of e-learning modules that EQE candidates can use to practise answering papers, improve their confidence and generally get used to the requirements of the examination. We recognise the vital role played by expert attorneys in supervising our candidates in their three-year preparation period and make sure that we give them plenty of help, information and feedback.
We also provide more established attorneys with training in new procedures and practices, as well as opportunities to broaden and deepen their existing knowledge and skills.