The Praktika Intern programme is designed for professional representatives working in private practice or industry with experience in drafting and prosecuting European patent applications. It is an international programme organised and co-ordinated by the European Patent Academy, and it aims to promote equal access to education and training opportunities in the field of European and international patent law and practice across all current and future contracting states of the European Patent Convention (EPC).
The internship programme will be running at the EPO's site in Munich between 15 and 31 October 2018.
Overview of the programme
Interns spend three weeks in Directorate-General 1 (DG 1), which is responsible for search, examination and opposition. Here, they have the opportunity to work on actual case files and run prior-art searches with some of the dedicated software programmes that examiners use in their daily work. Each intern is looked after by one or more examiners, who explain step by step how DG 1 operates.
The European Patent Academy organises an induction event on the first day of the programme, with presentations on general EPO-related topics such as the work of an examiner and an introduction to the European patent system. At the end of the first day, the interns meet the examiners. Additional training activities may be organised, for instance on the following topics:
Basics of EPO search tools
Opposition procedure before the EPO
Formalities procedures at the EPO
Sitting the EQE
Working with examiners
Within the general framework outlined above, activities may be tailored according to the individual needs of each participant. Interns should therefore get in contact with "their" examiner in the period before the programme starts to discuss expectations; this also provides the examiner with enough time to collect interesting cases for discussion during the internship.
Interns are free to attend oral proceedings in their own unit, as well as in other units, and take part in the debriefing sessions organised for them afterwards by their tutors.
Interns often want to see for themselves how examiners approach a search, develop a search strategy and draft a search opinion. They are usually also keen to have a go at analysing an application and its claims, learn about classification work and the databases available, and examine files together with the examiner. In the past, interns have occasionally drafted communications (including refusals and proposals for grant), analysed replies and prepared an opposition.
Participation is free of charge. However, interns must provide for their own board and lodging, and cover their own travel expenses. Applications for financial support from the EPO may be granted in suitably justified exceptional cases.
General conditions for participation
Participants are expected to have adequate knowledge of the European patent grant procedure, for instance from having successfully completed the EURO-CEIPI basic training in European patent law or an equivalent course. While passing the European qualifying examination (EQE) is not a strict requirement for joining the internship, participants are expected to have a sound theoretical knowledge of the EPC and practical skills as to its implementation; success in the EQE is therefore prima facie evidence of having attained the requisite level of competence.
Participants must have a technical or scientific academic background, as well as a good knowledge of at least one of the EPO's three official languages.
Applicants for the Praktika Intern programme must have their place of business or residence in an EPC contracting state. In selecting applicants, the European Patent Academy balances the need to ensure fair representation of interns from both contracting states with a high number of professional representatives and contracting states where there is still a limited number of patent professionals. For applicants from the latter contracting states, their experience as national patent attorneys will be considered as well in order to assess their overall level of expertise in patent matters.
Before submitting an application, candidates are asked to verify whether participation in Praktika Intern is compatible with professional and private obligations. Applicants are expected to firmly book the three-week period in their calendars until the selection procedure is concluded (typically in February).
Closing date for applications: 31 January 2018