EPAC: the EPO introduces a new certification scheme for patent administrators

14 July 2022

The EPO has developed a new certification: the European patent administration certification (EPAC). Designed for paralegals, patent administrators and formalities officers, the EPAC will equip professionals with the knowledge and skills to manage filing, prosecution, grant and maintenance associated processes for European and international patent applications before the EPO. Enrolment begins in September, with the first exam planned on 12 December 2022.

European patent system users have increasingly suggested the convenience of a certification scheme for paralegals and administrative staff working in intellectual property rights. While training and certification opportunities exist in a limited number of countries, demand at the European level is growing. To address these needs, the EPO developed the EPAC, offering tailor-made training in dedicated courses and providing a new high-quality certification.  

The examination focuses on procedural aspects under the European Patent Convention (EPC), the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Paris Convention. It also covers national laws and other agreements applicable to European patents and patent applications, including the London Agreement. Candidates will answer questions on the various patenting routes, application procedures and the procedural, administrative and formalities-related tasks involved.

With the EPAC, the EPO has broadened its certification offer, which currently features the European Qualifying Examination (EQE) for European Patent Attorneys. For user convenience, the newly-built certification portal and a dedicated EPAC website provide information on the certification, steps candidates should take to sit the examination and learning materials.

The EPO has established a new patent education certification committee. Set up in the context of the new structures of the European Patent Academy, the EPAC Board is responsible for designing and marking the papers and comprises representatives from the EPO and professional associations.

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