In March 2011, I submitted my application to Awapatent. I received a confirmation from the HR department acknowledging a date of filing. I had fulfilled the basic requirements: a) an indication of the subject-matter – the position – sought, b) a statement of my name and address allowing them to contact me, and c) a description of myself.
As a date of filing was accorded, the examination with regard to formal requirements started. Did I speak the required and preferred languages? Had I included all necessary information in my application? Did the content of the application actually originate in me? Did I claim priority in any kind of way? Was I situated in the relevant geographical area and available for an interview?
As the formal requirements were fulfilled, I was passed from the Receiving Section to the Search Division. From being mainly dealt with by the HR department, I was now accepted to meet my colleagues at my home office.
The search – the trainee period – was initiated. Theoretical weeks were mixed with practical work. The theoretical weeks were like assessing novelty: black or white, yes or no, right or wrong. The practical work was rather like assessing inventive step: a greyscale, maybe, it depends. I went from dealing with the words patent and intellectual property rights as abstract terms to slowly putting them in a structure and in relation to the known art.
In April 2012, it was time to get known to the crowd. I was no longer a trainee with limited capacity, but an associate fighting on the same conditions as all other employees with full capacity. It was time to face my strengths and weaknesses, to combat for my survival in the public domain, and to be substantively examined during several years. Thus, I was forwarded from the Search Division to the Examining Division.
Since September 2013, we are about 10 colleagues struggling monthly with the European Patent Convention preparing to pass the European Qualifying Examination. It is a tough examination preferably resulting in a grant and the professional title of European Patent Attorney. Recently we met in Malmö for the sixth session of preparation, and received another “communication” indicating which parts each of us still has to improve before the mention of grant.
To pass the European Qualifying Examination is a great goal, but for a patent attorney, as for a patent application, the procedure up to grant is only the very start of a long and exciting journey.
Ingela Svanäng, Associate