Patent examiner training

The job of examining patents comes with a lot of responsibility. European patents are internationally recognised as a benchmark for quality, and making the right decisions on patent applications requires a high level of expertise.

The EPO provides a two-year training programme for newly recruited examiners, combining classroom learning with individual coaching.

Training usually takes place at the examiner's place of work: Munich, The Hague or Berlin.

The programme empowers new examiners by providing:

  • Classroom learning in groups of 12 (or fewer). Examiners enrol in an extensive training programme to become familiar with the tools and procedures necessary for the job.
  • Guided learning with a personally assigned coach. Mainly during their first year, examiners are supported by personal coaches. These are specially trained and experienced examiners who are experts in the new examiner's field.

The training covers:

  • Hands-on learning about everyday tools and procedures – courses cover computer tools, databases, search methods and procedures used in everyday examining work.
  • Legal and practical expertise – examiners learn to apply the patentability criteria: novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. They also attend courses on European and international patent law and practice.
  • Language skills – new recruits will preferably be proficient in all three EPO languages, but some may need to work on one or two. The EPO offers the necessary language training.
  • Work on real-life patents – under the close supervision of their coaches, newly recruited examiners work on actual patent applications from day one.