The PRAKTIKA INTERN programme is made up of three modules designed for participants with different levels of knowledge and experience. It is intended for candidates preparing for the European qualifying examination (EQE) as well as professional representatives working in private practice or industry. It is an international programme organised and co-ordinated by the European Patent Academy, and it aims to promote equal access to education and training opportunities in the field of European and international patent law and practice across all current and future contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The three modules described below are stand-alone and can therefore be taken independently of each other. However, participants may only take part in one module per year. Last year's participants will not be given preference over newcomers in this year's selection procedure.
Overview of the modules
Module 1 - Initial training
Module 1, which takes the form of classroom sessions, introduces participants to the patent grant and post-grant procedures before the European Patent Office (EPO). Participants in this three-week course must already have started their professional training with a professional representative or in industry, and they ought to be planning to sit the EQE or the pre-examination paper within the next three to four years.
Module 1 will be available at the EPO's Munich site on the following dates:
10 - 28 June 2013 (Munich)
Module 2 - Working with an examiner
Participants for module 2 are expected to have adequate knowledge of the European patent grant procedure as well as the national patent grant procedure of their EPC contracting states. They must also have successfully completed the CEIPI/epi basic training course in European patent law or an equivalent course. In exceptional cases, applicants may also be admitted into the programme if they can demonstrate a level of knowledge equivalent to that of an EQE candidate.
Interns spend three weeks in Directorate-General 1 (DG 1), which is responsible for search, examination and opposition. Here, they have the opportunity to work on actual case files. Each intern is looked after by an examiner who explains step by step how DG 1 operates. In connection with this, the interns will also learn the dedicated software programmes that examiners use in their daily work.
Module 2 will be available at the EPO's Munich and The Hague sites on the following dates:
7 - 25 October 2013 (Munich)
23 September - 11 October 2013 (The Hague)
Module 3 - Technical board of appeal
For an internship in General Directorate 3 (DG 3) the applicants must have more advanced patent law qualifications (preferably the EQE or a national patent attorney qualification) and practical experience in dealing with patent matters (filing, opposition, appeals and/or litigation). All participants are assigned to a technical board of appeal in Directorate-General 3 in Munich, where, under the guidance of their supervisor, they have the opportunity to learn about the procedure before the boards of appeal. They may also be able to attend oral proceedings.
There is no fixed schedule for this module. Dates are individually arranged for each participant in agreement with the individual boards.
Participation in all three modules is free of charge, however interns must provide for their own board and lodging. Applications for financial support from the EPO may be granted in exceptional circumstances (see the application form).
General conditions for participation
Applicants for the PRAKTIKA INTERN programme must be nationals of an EPC contracting state, and their place of business or residence must also be in such a country.
They must have a good knowledge of at least one of the EPO's three official languages and a basic knowledge of the other two. The number of places on the programme each year is limited, and preference will be given to candidates whose mother tongue is not an EPO official language. For module 1, special preference will be given to applications from countries which have only recently acceded to the EPC.
Apply online now. Closing date: 31 January 2013