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Government information for entrepreneurs

Registration of patent attorneys

This information is provided by

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 AttorneysExternal link (Octrooigemachtigdenregister, in Dutch). This is because the title of patent attorney is protected by law.

Contitions to become a patent attorney

To become a patent attorneyExternal link you need to meet a number conditions. 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 kind of Master's degree do you need?

Your Master's level science or technical degree has to be in one of the following subjects:

  • mechanical engineering, aviation and aerospace technology or electrical engineering
  • industrial design, civil engineering or architecture
  • chemistry, chemical engineering or biochemistry
  • biotechnology, molecular biology or microbiology
  • medicine or veterinary science
  • information technology, materials science or physics

What do you need to do during your traineeship?

During your 3-year traineeship under a qualified patent attorney, you are 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
Consult this list to see find out about vacancies for traineeships for patent attorneysExternal link or European patent attorneys.

Dutch and European patent attorney courses

The training course to become a Dutch patent attorney takes 2 years. Fill in this form to apply for patent attorney coursesExternal link (in Dutch).

You can take the exams without taking the courses. You need to pass 6 Dutch exams for patent attorney (2 on patent applications, 1 on advising on patent applications and 3 on theoretical knowledge) to become qualified.

If you want to become a European patent attorney, you can apply to take a 2-year training course for European Qualification Examinations (EQE)External link in the Netherlands. These courses are also available in FrenchExternal link and GermanExternal link. In practice Dutch patent attorneys have to deal with European patent law as well. Dutch and European patent training courses overlap.

Once you have met these conditions, 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 paternt attorney, for a patent agency or company.

TraineesExternal link are not exempt from preparing for and taking any exams they have missed or not passed.

Rules of conduct

As a patent attorney, you must observe a number of rules of conductExternal link (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 dateExternal link (in Dutch). Every year, you must provide the Supervisory Board of the Institute of Patent Attorneys with an overview of the training you received.

Consulting the register

You can check whether someone is a patent attorney by consulting the Register of Patent AttorneysExternal link. You can search by name or office of the patent agent, postcode, location or discipline.

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.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO