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Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

Qualifying as a European Patent Attorney

If you are considering becoming an European Patent Attorney you must satisfy a number of requirements.

First of all, you must have your place of business or employment in one of the EPC Contracting States. In other words, you cannot become or remain a European patent attorney if you are working, for example, in the US or in Japan even if you are a citizen of an EPC Contracting State.

A second requirement is to pass the European qualification examination (EQE)

From 2025 to 2027, the EQE will change from a format optimized for an in-person, paper-based examination to a digital-friendly format. More information about this change is available here.

The examination, in the new format, comprises of:

  • Foundation paper (Paper F), and
  • four main examination papers (M1-M4).

In order to sit the EQE, you must have a scientific and/or technical degree (see R.13 IPREE https://www.epo.org/en/legal/official-journal/2024/etc/se3/p20.html) with a substantial portion of subjects devoted to scientific and/or technical matter. Degrees from certain programs (e.g. interdisciplinary ones), even if listed with an engineering title or equivalent, may not suffice.

Another prerequisite for sitting Paper F of the EQE is having at least one year of professional activity, which includes training supervised by a European patent attorney and/or representing an employer and/or work as an examiner at the EPO. The prerequisite for sitting the last main examination papers is at least three years ofsuch professional activity.

After passing the EQE, you must request to be registered as a European patent attorney. From then onwards, you will have to pay an annual subscription fee in order to maintain your right to practice.