European Patent Office - European Patent Examiner


Today, patent quality is more important than ever. So not every invention can qualify for a European patent. And the people who take that decision are the EPO's patent examiners.

Patent examiners work at the forefront of technology and deal every day with the latest and most challenging technical innovations.

Science and Law
Their daily work combines scientific expertise with analytical research and an eye for the legal aspects of intellectual property.
The main tasks of an examiner are to search and examine patent applications received by the EPO. Patent applications are texts and drawings describing an invention and submitted by individuals or companies seeking legal protection.

  • The purpose of the search is to find the most relevant previously published technical disclosures ("prior art") against which the patentability of the application can be assessed.
  • Substantive examination enables the applicant (or authorised representative such as a patent attorney) to be informed of any objections to the grant of a patent, with a view to resolving these through correspondence and, where necessary, oral proceedings.
  • Examiners may also be involved in opposition proceedings if the patent is contested.

Further information about what an examiner does can be found here.


- Citizenship of one of the member states of the European Patent Organisation.(See for the full list of countries).

- Full university degree in physics, chemistry, engineering or natural sciences.

- Good working knowledge of at least two of the official languages (English, French and German) and the willingness to learn the third.


The job of European patent examiner demands a unique combination of scientific expertise, analytical thinking, language skills and an interest in intellectual property law, coupled with a well-developed sense of responsibility and the ability to work independently. A genuine passion for technology and a willingness to continue learning are essential, since examiners deal constantly with the latest developments in their technical fields.


EPO pay comprises a competitive basic salary which may be supplemented by various allowances depending on the employee's individual circumstances and family situation. Salaries and allowances are covered by the EPO's internal tax system and exempt from national income tax.

Application procedure

Please see EPO application page to see procedures.