What examiners do

Today, patent quality is more important than ever. So not every invention can qualify for a European patent. And the people who decide whether to grant them are the EPO's patent examiners.

Patent examiners work at the forefront of technology and deal every day with the latest and most challenging technical innovations.

Science and law

Their daily work combines scientific expertise with analytical research and an eye for the legal aspects of intellectual property.

An examiner's main tasks are to search and examine patent applications received by the EPO. Patent applications are text and drawings describing an invention for which an individual or a company is seeking legal protection.

  • The purpose of the search is to find the most relevant existing documentation ("prior art") against which the patentability of the application can be assessed.
  • Substantive examination enables the applicant (or their authorised representative, such as a patent attorney) to be informed of any objections to the grant of a patent, with a view to resolving these through correspondence and, where necessary, oral proceedings.
  • Examiners may also be involved in opposition proceedings if a granted patent is contested.