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I have a Maths degree – can I train as a patent attorney?

While your mathematics degree does count as a technical degree in the sense that you would require only the shorter qualifying period for becoming a European Patent Attorney (three years instead of the six years for non-technical degree subjects), we require a degree in science or engineering - ideally as a first degree, but possibly as a second - for someone training as a patent attorney. Other patent firms may have different policies.

I have a PhD – do I have to complete all the exams?

Doctorates and other academic qualifications, unless in law, do not provide exemptions from the training process. A number of universities (e.g. Queen Mary University of London; University of Manchester) provide courses in IP Law which, if passed, gain an exemption from the foundation examinations.

I have been to QMUL – how should I apply?

While passing the QMUL MSc or Certificate in IP Law, or one of the similar courses from other universities, means that you are exempt from the foundation examinations, we will assess you along with other applicants via an assessment day – in other words, against those contemporaries who will go through the foundation examinations. We may even suggest, or possibly require, any successful applicants to do the foundation examinations as well, as we feel that this gives a more practical basis to your career as an attorney.

I only have a third class degree – is it worth me applying?

Patent and trade mark work is intellectually demanding, and we do generally prefer candidates with a First or Upper Second. If you think you can make a strong case for your skills without this level of qualification then we would look for supporting evidence in your application, e.g. awards and or extenuating circumstances.

I cannot speak French or German – does this matter?

The ability to read French or German is no longer essential for the European examinations. That said, knowledge of any foreign language is useful in a career as a patent attorney so it is advantageous if you already have abilities in either of these languages. German is particularly useful (see below) to the extent that we often visit Germany to conduct European Patent Office proceedings. To support this we provide language lessons at our offices.

I can speak Norwegian, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Arabic – is this an advantage?

While fluency in any foreign language may be useful, German is the most useful European language for patent attorneys. Most hearings at the European Patent Office are held in Munich (although many are now also held in the Hague, and others occasionally in Berlin), and most non-English European Patent applications are in German rather than in French.