Patent attorney

A patent attorney advises and represents clients in the field of intellectual property and intellectual property law, which patents, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, employee invention law, semiconductor intellectual property rights, plant variety rights and license agreements covers. The focus is on the representation in proceedings before the Patent and Trademark Offices and the competent courts ( both in Germany and in particular before the Federal Patent Court in 2012 in Switzerland). Patent attorneys have the right to express opinions for their clients before courts of law, but are not very postulationsfähig ( su to § 4 section 3 PatAnwO ), ie only in certain proceedings ( see § § 78 paragraph 3 Civil Procedure Code in conjunction with § 4 para 3 PatAnwO, see below ) be entitled to submit proposals. Therefore usually occur together lawyers with patent attorneys before the courts on, especially lawyers, in turn, often lack the technical qualifications.

At European level, there is the Authorised Representative before the European Patent Office, the patent attorney in a state party to the European Patent Convention ( EPC) are often at the same time.


With their completed scientific or technical university degree and her law additional training patent attorneys are entitled to represent third parties before the German Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Patent Court in matters of intellectual property law as well as before the Federal Supreme Court (BGH ) in patent nullity appeal proceedings ( § 111 Section 4 of the Patent Law ). In proceedings before the District Courts, the Higher Regional Courts and the Supreme Court are authorized to represent, in exceptional cases, namely where no lawyer is subject to compulsory ( § 4 para 3 PatAnwO ). This applies for example to requests for an injunction and for appropriate protective letters, but absolutely a lawyer should be consulted as soon as the court in which the application was made on a preliminary injunction, a hearing performs. Otherwise, the patent attorneys at the request is in addition to the process leading lawyer to allow the word (§ 4 PatAnwO ). Patent attorneys are also entitled to advise on matters relating to the technology enriching services and other responsible third party.

As part of the legal additional training is next to the patent law a particular emphasis on the Patent Office and Courthouse on the trademark law. Patent lawyers who want to bring a focus of her work and attorney's consulting expertise in this area to express sometimes lead the professional title of " patent and trademark attorney ", the latter term also referred to lawyers with consulting focus in trademark law.

In the Patentanwaltsordnung the rights and obligations of the patent attorney and the conditions are laid down for admission.


Soon after the founding of the Imperial Patent Office in May In 1877 found that for the complex technical issues in the patent system particularly qualified professionals are needed, which were in addition to the legal issues also able to understand the technical aspects of the inventions. As a result, occurred on October 1, 1900, the law relating to the patent attorneys in force, in which a list of specially qualified persons was conducted at the Patent Office.

In 1933 the Patent Bar Association was established, which henceforth served as a self-governing body of patent attorneys.

In the Third Reich the end of 1938 was the Jewish patent attorneys prohibited by the Sixth Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law of Professional Conduct.

In 1966, the Patent Attorney Code was adopted. Through this patent attorneys received its present position as an independent administration of justice.

The first woman who was a patent attorney, Freda Wuesthoff was. She laid in 1927 from the patent bar exam.

The administration of justice

The patent attorney is - as a lawyer - an independent judicial body. This means that the patent law is obliged not only to his client but also the legal system must pay. Thus, the patent attorney may not, for example, state the falsehood in court. He must not act if he already represents the counterparty for the same subject-matter, or has represented. The relationship between patent lawyer and client is constitutionally privileged, that is, the state can not force the patent attorney to report third party client calls.


The patent attorney training in Germany is governed formally by the Patent Attorneys Regulations (PAO ) and the patent attorney training and examination regulations. Requirement for training as a patent attorney is then first a successful completion of a science (eg, chemistry, physics, biology) or technical studies (eg, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, architecture, metallurgy, etc.) at a university. Not enough is the completion of a technical college studies. In addition, a patent attorney candidate before the patent attorney training has to prove his practical and technical experience, one year of professional activity. In practice, the work goes as a patent attorney but depending on things to come activity focus often a multi-year research, eg as part of a dissertation advance.

There are two different ways of patent attorney training. The long patent attorney training ( § 158 PAO) takes at passing the examination for licensure as a representative before the European Patent Office eight years, or 10 years. Many employees in the industry candidates take this path. The short patent attorney training lasts 34 months. It begins with a 26 -month internship with a patent attorney or a patent assessor working in industry. Up to 2 months of internship may also be made in the form of an internship at a regional court. During the internship, monthly seminars Chamber of Patent Attorneys are to visit and give lectures. The patent attorney candidates must also complete a two- year distance learning in general law or put it in a different Faculty of Law, the first legal state exam in order to prove the legal knowledge required at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hagen. After fulfilling these conditions, the so-called year of office is to be completed, an eight-month training period at the German Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Patent Court in Munich. At the end of the training state a written and an oral examination, after which the existence of the title Patentassessor is awarded, is the prerequisite for applying for an entry in the list of patent attorneys.


To freelancing advise clients and to be able to represent them before the national German authorities and courts for intellectual property, patent assessor must be registered in the list of patent attorneys that is registered with the German Patent and Trademark Office. For this purpose, the patent assessor must be able to swear in as an organ of justice and set up a law firm. Even the entry into an existing firm can meet the requirement of setting up a firm.

Admission as German Patent Attorney also entitled to practice before the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market in Alicante, Spain (OHIM / OHIM ) and the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva (WIPO ).

There is also an independent other training to another profession, that of the Authorised Representative before the European Patent Office. This professional group is authorized to represent clients before the European Patent Office (EPO). The admission to the examination as (English ) European Patent Attorney designated representative requires at least a technical or scientific degree and three years of activity under the supervision of an authorized European representative.

Authorisation as a German patent attorney not authorized to practice before the European Patent Office. An authorized representative is there on the other hand - in contrast to the German patent attorney - not authorized European Office for trademarks and designs and European Plant Variety Office to represent clients before the German national authorities, DPMA and the Federal Plant Variety Office, and the EU authorities. Before the national authorities is merely the German patent attorney ( and, as always, a German lawyer) representation. In general, however, most of the German Patent Attorneys have passed both entrance exams and are therefore also at the EPO representation.

The authorized representatives allowed the German Law on Legal Advice no different than before the EPO to act. Article 134 (5) EPC stipulates that national ( inter alia German ) authorities may withdraw the authorization in each individual case in the application of legislation adopted to protect public safety and order.

For Germany European patents fall under the EPC - with the exception of the opposition and opposition appeal as well as the procedure for restrictions - under the responsibility of national authorities. The opposition proceedings, the opposition appeal proceedings and the restriction procedure, however, are located at the EPO.

Patent attorneys in court wearing a black gown with a steel blue stocking from dull silk.