Bereich DPMA

Patent attorney training

Patent attorneys help create and enforce protection for the latest technical and scientific innovations. Where technology and law overlap, their expert knowledge is a key factor in the success of a technical innovation, a trade mark or a design. Therefore, the legislator and inventors as well as companies place high demands on future patent attorneys.

Patent attorney training

First of all, the aspiring patent attorney has to complete technical or scientific university studies and, for one year, do practical technical work. Subsequently, there is an approximately three-year IP training. Alternatively, the qualifying examination can be taken directly after long-standing relevant advisory or representation activity. In both cases, the basic knowledge of law required to act as a patent attorney is imparted in mandatory studies in general law at the FernUniversität in Hagen.

Course of training

University degree

in science or engineering + one year of (work) experience in a field of technology
almost three years of


at a patent attorney’s office, at the DPMA and the Federal Patent Court

patent attorney qualifying examination

written component (four exams), oral component
after passing the qualifying examination
you may call yourself “Patentassessorin” or “Patentassessor” (patent agent)

The patent attorney training is divided into three phases and starts with the admission as a patent attorney candidate by the DPMA. The candidates complete the initial and longest training phase of at least 26 months in a patent law firm or the patent department of a company (first phase of training). Then, they spend the two following training phases, known as the office year, in the patent and trade mark divisions of the DPMA (second phase of training) and on the Boards of Appeal for Trade Marks and the Technical Boards of Appeal of the Federal Patent Court (third phase of training). At the end of their training, the candidates take their qualifying examination, which comprises four written tests and an oral examination.

The DPMA is responsible for all matters relating to the training and examination of future patent attorneys. We assess who is qualified for admission to patent attorney training or the qualifying examination. Moreover, we support the candidates during their training and organise the office year, which begins every year in February, June and October, and the examinations, which also take place three times a year.

Qualifying examinations for patent attorneys in 2022

chart: Qualifying examinations for patent attorneys in 2022

good 1
above satisfactory 33
satisfactory 90
sufficient 37
fail 7
Qualifying examinations for patent attorneys in 2022
GradeParticipants (in %)
excellent 0.0 %
good 0.6 %
above satisfactory 19.6 %
satisfactory 53.6 %
sufficient 22.0 %
fail 4.2 %
Total 100 %

In recent years, it has been increasingly complex to examine the requirements for admission to patent attorney training or the qualifying examination. There is constant change in tertiary education, the variety of courses of studies is increasing. Interdisciplinary courses of studies are popular: We regularly receive applications from graduates in business administration and engineering, sales engineering or computational linguistics. In view of the legal requirement of a technical or scientific course of studies, we therefore have to decide on more and more borderline cases that require a particularly thorough examination.

The examination board for patent attorneys is established at the DPMA in order to administer the qualifying examination. In addition to the chairperson and at least four deputy chairpersons, the board consists of at least 20 judges of the Federal Patent Court and members of the DPMA and at least 40 patent attorneys or patent agents.

As of 1 January 2022, the Federal Office of Justice appointed for the last time a new examination board. The three-year term of this examination board will expire at the end of 2024. Effective 1 August 2022, the DPMA became responsible for appointing and dismissing the members of the examination board. From 2025, the term of office of the examination board members will be five years.

In 2022, the number of persons admitted to training decreased for the first time. The DPMA admitted a total of 110 candidates to patent attorney training. In 2021, the number was 138.

At the three examination dates, 161 out of 168 examinees passed the qualifying examination.

Detailed information on the patent attorney training and examination is also available on our website.

For detailed statistical data on patent attorneys and representatives, please see the “Statistics” chapter.