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Trainee Attorneys

Training Programme

Our training programme is primarily based around “on-the-job” training supplemented with additional training in the form of tutorials and seminars, with the aim for you to qualify as a Chartered Patent Attorney and European Patent Attorney as soon as possible. On average, the route to dual qualification takes between 4-5 years. 

However, we won’t wait that long to recognise your progress. At Elkington and Fife, you can expect that your hard work and commitment will be recognised without delay, and your remuneration will keep pace with the progress you make.

The first phase

We will be training you to form an understanding of the fundamental aspects of European and other national patent laws, including the concepts of patentability, novelty and inventive step, which form the cornerstones of these laws. 

We will teach you what a patent is, and why patents are important. Patents are often important for different reasons to different clients, and we will help you recognise the commercial relevance of patents to different clients. 

You will be working on real clients’ cases from the first day of your training and your supervisor will bring you in touch with clients such as participating in client meetings or meetings with private inventors at an early stage to develop your client care skills. 

You may have the opportunity to attend oral proceedings as an observer such that you get first-hand experience of how to present your arguments in ex parte or inter partes proceedings before the European Patent Office.

The second phase

You will attend the Queen Mary, University of London IP Law course and gain a Certificate in Intellectual Property.  This course is a full-time course running from September to December and is completed by a series of exams in the first two weeks in January.

After you have completed the course and have passed the exams you will be a part-qualified patent attorney. At this stage, you will be given more responsibility, whilst still being supervised and supported in your learning. 

After completing the Queen Mary course, we will help you prepare for your UK finals exams, which you will need to pass to become a Chartered Patent Attorney. These challenging exams are best prepared for by having sufficient real life experience with patent work, and together with you, we will agree when you are ready and wish to sit these exams, which typically is 2-3 years after starting your career as a trainee attorney.

The following year you will be expected to take the European Qualifying Exams (EQEs). You cannot take these exams until having been a trainee attorney for at least 3 years. Once you have passed the EQEs you will be a European Patent Attorney. 

We will consider you a fully qualified attorney once you have become a Chartered Patent Attorney as well as a European Patent Attorney.