It took me 8 years to become a European Patent Attorney

It took me 8 years to become a European Patent Attorney

It took me 8 years to pass the EQE (European Qualifying Examination for Patent Attorneys).

I have been working in the field of intellectual property for 10 years with ups and downs.

It all started in May 2012 – when I began training to become a German Patent Attorney. Since then I have been working on becoming a European Patent Attorney as well.*

Now it’s done, and I want to encourage everyone who hasn’t quite made it (yet) with my journey:

February 2015: New Year’s Eve 2014/2015 I had moved to Munich to complete the final stage of my training with the patent authorities and take the German patent attorney exam. I got 68 points out of 70 which are needed in the Pre-EQE. So failed the exam.

February 2016: I just moved to Frankfurt and started a new job. The EQE is paper based and in taking place in Munich. I score 69 points in the Pre-EQE. So I failed again.

February 2017: I let this year go by unused. I don’t feel like writing the Pre-EQE again and take a break.

February 2018: The exam is again in Munich. Paper based. When I wake up in the hotel room in the morning, I realize, that have some company: bedbugs are living in this room. I found one on my pillow and one in the bathroom. I am telling the receptionist, but he cannot do to much. During the exam I am worried, that I brought some bedbugs with my suitcase to the exam hall. Hopefully I am not responsible for an unwanted gift. When I am home, I am putting my laptop bag and some other things in the oven and heat it over 35 degrees so that I can get rid of any potential animals that are hiding. Unfortunately, the laptop bag melts and is destroyed after that. Apart from this, I finally get through the pre-EQE. Later in the year, I register for the main exam.

January 2019: I go to Strasbourg and take a CEIPI preparation course. At the end of the course, everyone sings together, “EQE, you won’t defeat me…”

March 2019: When I registered for the main exam, I didn’t know that I would be 6 months pregnant on the exam day. A friend thinks that since I now have two brains in my body, surely it should work out. Unfortunately, it was rather the other way around and the baby probably consumed a lot of energy despite good preparation. I only manage to pass one out of four “papers” (Paper B).

March 2020: I am well prepared for Paper A and D, for which I have registered. I spent a lot of time studying and little time with my family and little daughter. A week before the exam date, the exam is cancelled due to Corona.

March 2021: I studied well again and this year the exam is online for the first time. Despite some technical pitfalls I passed both registered papers (Paper A and D).

March 2022: This time I want to pass the last paper as well. Since the beginning of the year I have been studying two full days a week plus some of the weekends. At the beginning of March I reach a low point of motivation. While the Ukraine war has been going on for a few weeks, the European Patent Office emphasizes in a last preparation webinar that the exam is one of the most difficult in the world and that they want to keep this level. All of a sudden, everything seems very pointless to me and I ask myself why I am actually studying for all this. Other things seem to be significantly more important than dealing with a fictitious opposition, where the exam board hides the necessary clues in the documents as well as possible. Nevertheless, I continue to study until the day of the exam.

In July, I finally got the news: I have passed Paper C as well. 

In the 8th year I have passed the European Qualifying Examination for Patent Attorneys. After 8 years I now have a representative number and may call myself European Patent Attorney.

This shows that even with small steps, which always go in the right direction, you can reach your goal at some point 🙂 Good luck and courage to all who are not quite at their goal yet!



* For this, you first have to pass a preliminary examination (Pre-EQE) and then a main examination, which consists of four “papers”.