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Notice of 2 October 2017

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Modernised: Patent Attorney Training and Examination

On 1 October 2017, the revised "Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys" (Verordnung über die Ausbildung und Prüfung der Patentanwälte) entered into force (Federal Law Gazette I, p. 3437 et seqq.). The ordinance aims at streamlining the patent attorney training and simplifying administrative processes. The former Ordinance Concerning Patent Attorney Training and Examination had remained largely unchanged since its entry into force in 1967.

Overview of the main changes

Training:

  • For the first time, the duration of the training at a patent law firm or a patent department is limited to a maximum of three years (Section 7, no. 1 Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys).

  • During the training, 30 instead of 24 days of recreational leave per training year are taken into account for the training period (Sec. 11 Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys). The ordinance contains also further provisions on the recognition of vacation and sick leave periods.

  • For the first time, Section 9 of the Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys prescribes that, after an interruption of the training, previous training periods will, as a rule, be recognised if the training has not been interrupted for more than one year and the training objective can still be achieved.

  • The interest rate on the maintenance loan to which patent attorney candidates are entitled during their training at a patent litigation court, at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and at the Federal Patent Court as well as during their examination period will be reduced from 6% to 3% per annum (Sec. 66 Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys).

Patent attorney examination:

To enhance legal certainty many questions about the procedure are explicitly stipulated in the Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys.

The patent attorney examination in accordance with the new provisions will take place for the first time at the examination date in June 2018 (Secs. 33 et seqq., 77 (4) Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys).

  • The prospective patent attorneys sit four written examinations in total (two four-hour examinations and two three-hour examinations).
  • In future, the examinations will be evaluated according to the 18-point system known from the lawyers' training.

  • The examination fee is tailored towards the new examination system and was increased for the first time in 28 years. It amounts to 650 euros as of 1 June 2018 (so far 260 euros, see Sections 37, 77 (3) Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys).

Further information

More detailed information on the patent attorney training and examination is available here.

Qualifying examinations for foreign patent attorneys

In addition, the qualifying examination procedure for foreign patent attorneys will be revised. The former Act on the Qualifying Examination for Admission to Practise as a Patent Attorney (Gesetz über die Eignungsprüfung für die Zulassung zur Patentanwaltschaft) was already replaced, with effect from 18 May 2017, by the Act on the Activities of European Patent Attorneys in Germany (Gesetz über die Tätigkeit europäischer Patentanwälte in Deutschland, Federal Law Gazette I, pp. 1121,1137), in which the qualifying examination is now regulated in Sections 2 et seqq. These provisions are supplemented and more clearly defined by Sections 67 to 75 of the Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys. However, Sections 5, 6 of the Act on the Activities of European Patent Attorneys in Germany and Sections 69 to 72 of the Ordinance Concerning the Training and Examination of Patent Attorneys will not be applied until 1 June 2018.

More information is available in our Hinweis zur Berufsanerkennungsrichtlinie (information about the Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications) (in German).

Picture: iStock.com/pascalgenest

Last updated: 23/11/17 

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