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Q. 1 How do I qualify as a Registered Patent Attorney?
A person wishing to become a Registered Patent Attorney in Ireland has to fulfil several criteria. Namely, the person must reside and have a place of business in the State or in a European Economic Area (EEA) State, and possess the prescribed educational and professional qualifications. Looking at the educational requirements firstly, the person is required to have a knowledge of engineering, or chemistry, or physics (or such other scientific or technical subjects as may be deemed appropriate) – usually a degree certificate is sufficient as evidence of such educational qualifications. 

With regard to the professional qualifications, in order to satisfy this requirement, the path to qualification involves sitting a number of examinations. These examinations include Irish, UK and/or European patent examinations. The person is required to have a knowledge of the Irish law and practice of patents. In this regard, the Irish Patents Office arranges for the holding of an Examination in the Irish Law and Practice of Patents, usually held at the Irish Patents Office in Kilkenny around March or April every year. The date on which this examination is held is announced in advance in the Patents Office Journal. Candidates are expected to have a good knowledge of Irish patent law and practice, including a good knowledge of relevant case law and show a knowledge of European and International patent law and practice. This is the only patent examination held under the auspices of the Irish Patents Office, but persons wishing to become qualified as patent Attorneys must also sit a number of other examinations testing an ability to prepare, interpret and criticise patent specifications. In this regard, candidates are required to sit and pass the relevant written examinations prepared and conducted by the United Kingdom Patent Examination Board PEB (a joint committee of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys and the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys in the UK). Such written examinations of the PEB normally take place in October each year and it is the advanced papers known as P3 (FD 2), P4 (FD 3) and P6 (FD 4) of the PEB which Irish applicants seeking registration in the register are required to sit. The examination in these papers is held simultaneously in the U.K. and in Ireland under special long-standing arrangements between the PEB and the Irish Board. The dates on which such examinations are held in Ireland, again usually held at the Irish Patents Office in Kilkenny, are announced in advance in the Patents Office Journal. The correcting and marking of Irish candidates scripts is also performed by the PEB.

Where a candidate has sat and passed Papers A and B of the European Qualifying Examinations (examinations held for the purpose of entry on the List of Professional Representatives entitled to represent clients before the European Patent Office), the Board will consider this result as satisfying the requirement to sit papers P3 and P4 of the PEB. The subject matters covered by papers P3, P4 and P6 of the PEB relate to preparation of patent specifications, amendment of patent specifications in revocation proceedings or otherwise, and infringement and validity of patents. The European Qualifying Examinations are normally held in early March each year.

An application for registration in the Register of Patent Attorneys must be made to the Irish Patents Office accompanied by the prescribed application fee. In addition to the educational and professional qualifications explained above, the candidate must have undergone training under the supervision of a patent attorney for not less than three years in the office of a patent attorney in accordance with the law of the State or another Member State of the European Economic Area, or have been acting as a patent attorney for not less than three years in the office of a patent attorney acting in accordance with the law of another Member State of the European Economic Area. A partnership is eligible to be registered in the Register of Patent Attorneys if every partner thereof is himself/herself already registered.

Applications for registration in the Register of Patent Attorneys are considered by a Board, comprising persons nominated by the Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and of which the Controller of the Irish Patents Office is Chairman.

The fees prescribed are as follows:

  • To sit written examination in Irish patent law and practice pursuant to a requirement under Rule 6(2) - €200.00
  • On application for a review of marks obtained in the written examination in Irish patent law and practice - €70.00
  • To undergo a test in any subject, other than a written examination in Irish Patent law and practice, pursuant to a requirement under Rule 6(2)  - €290.00       
  • For entry in the Register of Patent Attorneys (Rule 8) - €125.00            
  • Annual fee for registration as patent attorney payable before the 31st day of December in each year in respect of the following year (Rule 10) - €250.00

Details of the fees prescribed for the UK and European examinations may be found at www.cipa.org.uk and www.epo.org, respectively.

The APTMA does not of itself hold any patent examinations although it does hold tutorials when the need arises for candidates wishing to sit the examinations. Such tutorials are normally held in the months leading up to the examinations. There is a fee payable to attend those tutorials for non-members of the APTMA.

Q. 2 How do I qualify as a Registered Trade Mark Attorney?
There is a formal examination held by the Irish Patents Office, usually around April which must be passed to qualify as a Trade Mark Attorney. The Patents Office is responsible for the maintenance of the Register of Trade Mark Attorneys while Rules 51 to 59 of the Trade Mark Rules, 1996, governs the entitlement of any individual to entry onto this Register. The Patents Office is responsible for the maintenance of the Register of Trade Mark Attorneys and Rules 51 to 59 of the Trade Mark Rules, 1996, govern the entitlement of any individual to entry onto this Register but see also S.I. No. 46/2016 - Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules 2016.
An application for registration must be made to the Controller of the Irish Patents Office, accompanied by the prescribed application fee - currently €250. Rule 51 of the Trade Marks Rules, 1996 as amended by the Trade Marks (Amendment) Rules 2007, specifies the particulars which an application for registration must give, which include the address at which the Applicant intends to carry on business and the educational and professional qualifications of the Applicant.
Applications for registration in the Register of Trade Mark Attorneys are considered by a Board appointed by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The rules do not prescribe any specific educational/professional qualifications, but Rule 51(3) states that a person shall possess such educational and professional qualifications, and be of such personal character, as to satisfy the Board, after such enquiries including such oral or written examination in the Law and Practice of Trade Marks, as the Board deems necessary, that such a person is fit to practice as a registered trade mark Attorney. According to the Patents Office’s website, Applicants will generally be expected to have acquired at least a pass in the Leaving Certificate or comparable qualification. It is a normal requirement of the Board that Applicants must sit, and pass, a written examination in the Law and Practice of Trade Marks. The date on which such examination is held is announced in advance in the Patents Office Journal.
The aim of the examination is to test candidates understanding of the law and practice relating to the registration, enforcement and exploitation of trade mark rights as they apply in the Republic of Ireland, which would include knowledge of the EU Directives and Regulations governing trade marks and the European Union Trade Mark system
The fees prescribed are as follows:

  • On application for registration in the Register of Trade Mark Attorneys Rule 51(1) - €50.00
  • On application to sit the written examination in the law and practice of trade marks - €200.00
  • On application for a review of marks obtained in the written examination in the law and practice of trade marks - €70.00
  • For registration in the Register of Trade Mark Attorneys (Rule 53(a)) - €125.00
  • Annual fee for renewal of registration as a trade mark attorney, payable before the 1st December in each year in respect of the following year (Rule 55) - €250.00

The APTMA does not of itself hold any examinations although it does hold tutorials when the need arises for candidates wishing to sit the official examination. Such tutorials are normally held in the two months leading up to the examination. There is a fee payable to attend those tutorials for non-members of the APTMA.

Q. 3 Does the APTMA hold tutorials for those wishing to qualify as a Patent or Trade Mark Attorney?
The APTMA holds tutorials when the need arises for candidates wishing to sit the patent and trade mark examinations. Such tutorials are normally held in the months leading up to the examinations and are open to members of the APTMA. There is a fee payable to attend those tutorials for non-members of the APTMA. The fee is €300 for the trade mark tutorials and €400 for the patent tutorials. If you are interested in attending, please contact the APTMA

Q. 4 How do I become a member of the APTMA ?
There are various categories of membership. To become an Ordinary Member you have to be either a qualified Patent or Trade Mark Attorney in Ireland and work full time in the profession. To become an Associate Member you have to a special interest in intellectual property and have a place of business in Ireland while to become a Student Member you have to be a pupil of an Ordinary Member of the Association. Election as an Ordinary, Associate or Student Member requires a nomination in writing by two Ordinary Members. All such nominations will then be put forward for election at the next General Meeting of the Association. Nominations should be sent on the form below to the Secretary of the Association.

APTMA Application for Membership Form



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