Registration of patent attorneys

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you intend to work as a patent attorney in the Netherlands, you can only do so if you are registered in the Register of Patent Attorneys (Octrooigemachtigdenregister, in Dutch). This is because the title of patent attorney is protected by law. To be registered you must complete a specific education and a traineeship.

Conditions to become a patent attorney

To become a patent attorney you need to:

  • have a Master's degree in science or technology;
  • have completed a 3-year traineeship;
  • have passed the Dutch exams for patent attorney.

What do you need to do during your traineeship?

During your 3-year traineeship you work under a qualified patent attorneyto gain experience. Consult this list to see find out about vacancies for traineeships for patent attorneys or European patent attorneys.

You are also required to follow part-time theoretical courses on:

  • general, patent law and other law relating to intellectual property, European law/competition and professional attitude
  • communication skills
  • practical skills relating to patent applications and infringement advice

You follow these theoretical courses with the organisation where you work as a trainee or through the Stichting Beroepsopleiding Octrooigemachtigde. The training course to become a Dutch patent attorney takes 2 years. Fill in this form to apply for patent attorney courses (in Dutch).

Dutch patent attorney exams

When you have completed your traineeship and theoretical courses, you have to pass the Dutch exam for patent attorney (in Dutch). Only then do you qualify. The complete examination consists of 2 exams on patent applications, 1 exam on advising on patent applications and 3 exams on theoretical knowledge.

European patent attorney courses and exams

If you want to become a European patent attorney, you can apply to take a 2-year training course for European Qualification Examinations (EQE) in the Netherlands. These courses are also available in French and German.

Register of Patent Attorneys

Once you have passed the exam and obtained the required experience, you can be sworn in as a patent attorney and entered into the register. Only when you are registered can you work as an independent patent attorney, for a patent agency or company. Clients can then find you in the Register of Patent Attorneys.

Working as a foreign patent attorney in the Netherlands

Are you a patent attorney in a different EU or EEA country. Do you want to do a limited number of patent applications in the Netherlands during a specific period? Then you will need permission from the director of the Netherlands Patent Office (in Dutch).

Rules of conduct

As a patent attorney, you must observe a number of rules of conduct (in Dutch), which have been laid down by the Netherlands Institute of Patent Attorneys. As a member of the Institute, you are also obliged to keep your knowledge up to date (in Dutch). Every year, you must provide the Supervisory Board of the Institute of Patent Attorneys with an overview of the training you received.

Online registration procedure via Message Box

You can ask to be added to the Register of Patent Attorneys digitally via Message Box. Message Box is a secure email system that enables you as an entrepreneur to exchange digital messages with Dutch government agencies.