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Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

Qualifying as a European Patent Attorney

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


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

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

The examination comprises a   

  • a Pre-Examination, which must be passed before sitting the
  • four main examination papers papers (which can be taken individually or together).

In order to sit the EQE, you must have a technical degree with a substantive portion of subject devoted to technical matter. Degrees from certain studies, even though listed with an engineering title or equivalent, may not suffice.

Another prerequisite for sitting the first part of the EQE is having at least two years of training supervised by a European patent attorney.

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