H&A works in collaboration with the “Prakticum Extern” program for the training of EPO examiners

4 December 2019

4 December 2019

My Praktikum Extern took place at the IP law firm Herrero & Associates, based in Madrid, during the first two weeks of November 2019. The aim of this program is to discover the other side of the patent granting process and to improve the relationship between the different parties involved in it.

During my secondment I discussed communications from the EPO with H&A’s attorneys and we exchanged views about the development of different cases and the best strategy to follow. It was very interesting to see how attorneys play the difficult role of intermediaries between examiners and applicants. This helped me understand better the job they do, the problems they face on a daily basis and what I can do from my side in order to achieve a smoother patent granting process.

Further, I took part in several meetings with inventors who were interested in obtaining a patent. These meetings were extremely exciting for me because they allowed me to witness first hand how and why a patent is born. They also gave me an insight on the relationship between the commercial side of an invention and the intellectual protection side, aspects which, surprisingly, often differ greatly from each other.

I also spent some time with paralegals at H&A learning about other steps of the patent granting process, such as national validations in EPC countries, patent prosecution in South America or the relationship with other IP agents all over the world. All this gave me an extensive overview about the whole patent granting process, making me understand how my work as an examiner fits in a puzzle that involves numerous professionals.

Further, I had the opportunity to learn about IP outside the patent world, such as industrial designs, trademarks and litigation, and the resemblances and synergies between these worlds and that of patents.

In summary it was a very enriching and motivating experience for me, not only professionally but also on the personal side. I would like to thank all the staff at H&A, especially Gustavo Gónzalez, for treating me so well and for their total availability.

Rafael Villar Fernández

Examinador de la European Patent Office (EPO)


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