How to apply for Patent Agent Registration

The information contained hereunder does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the legal provisions governing registration in the Register of Patent Agents. The information set out is intended to inform persons contemplating registration of the main legal requirements which must be satisfied and of the examinations and tests which candidates must undergo.

Main legal requirements for eligibility to be registered in the Register

Under Section 107 of the Patents Act, 1992, as amended by the European Communities (Patent Agents) Regulations 2015, a person is eligible to be registered in the register if the person:

  • Resides in the State or in an EEA State
  • Has a place of business in the State or in an EEA state,
  • Possesses the prescribed educational and professional qualifications, and
  • Complies with the prescribed conditions.

A partnership is eligible to be registered in the register if every partner thereof is himself/herself already registered.

Section 109 of the Act empowers the Minister to make rules for the management of the register and may by such rules prescribe any matter or thing referred to in section 107 or 108 as prescribed, and in particular may so prescribe; the educational and professional qualifications and the conditions (including conditions relating to nationality or citizenship) which must be satisfied for eligibility for registration in the register.

The conditions which must be satisfied by a partnership, body corporate or unincorporated body of persons for eligibility for registration in the register, including conditions relating to:

(i)                Evidence of establishment as a partnership, body corporate or unincorporated body;

(ii)               Evidence that a patent agent established in an EEA state (other than the State) is acting as a patent agent n accordance with the law of that State;

(iii)              Evidence that the partnership, body corporate or unincorporated body is performing the services of a patent agent in the State

Acting under this power the Minister has made Rules entitled the Register of Patent Agent Rules 2015. The main provisions of these Rules insofar as they apply to applications for registration in the Register are:

  • Applications for registration in the Register have to be made in writing to the Controller, Patents Office, Government Buildings, Hebron Road, Kilkenny and must be accompanied by the prescribed application fee of €50. A form of Application indicating the particulars required to be furnished upon application is available here; Application Form for Registration as a Patent Agent
  • Applications for registration are considered by a Board, comprising persons nominated by the Minister and of which the Controller, Patents Office, is Chairman.
  • The Board considers the fitness of applicants to perform the professional duties of a patent agent in the light of the educational and professional qualifications which the applicant possesses. The Board may require applicants to undergo written or oral examinations or tests in such subjects as it considers necessary. The Board may allow exemptions in respect of particular subjects on the basis of the results achieved at previous examinations in those subjects. Subsequently the Board reports to the Minister, furnishing the Minister with the names of persons considered suitable to be entered in the register.
  • The Rules also prescribe the qualifications with which applicants are required to comply. Rule 8(1),(2) and (3) specifies that a person shall not be entered in the register unless the person:

(a) he or she has a knowledge of engineering, or chemistry, or physics (or such other scientific or technical subjects as the board may deem appropriate) of the minimum standard of Level 7 that is recognised within the Framework of Qualifications as defined by the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999 ,

(b) he or she has a knowledge of the law and practice of patents in the State, including the ability to prepare, interpret and criticise patent specifications and has passed the qualifying examinations required by the board,

(c) he or she has under gone training under the supervision of a patent agent for not less than three years in the office of a patent agent in accordance with the law of the State or another Member State of the European Economic Area, or

(d) he or she has been acting as a patent agent for not less than three years in the office of a patent agent acting in accordance with the law of another Member State of the European Economic Area.

(2) The board may, for the purpose of establishing that an applicant possesses the required educational and professional qualifications specified in paragraph (1) of this Rule,

(a) require that the applicant submit evidence to that effect,

(b) require the submission of a statutory declaration attesting to the training specified in subparagraph (c) or to acting as a patent agent specified in subparagraph (d), and

(c) may require such further particulars as are considered necessary.

(3) The board may, however, waive or vary any of the requirements specified in subparagraphs (a), (c) and (d) of paragraph (1) of this Rule, if it is otherwise satisfied in light of the educational and professional qualifications which the applicant possesses, that the applicant is fit to perform the professional duties of a patent agent.

(d) he or she has been acting as a patent agent for not less than three years in the office of a patent agent acting in accordance with the law of another Member State of the European Economic Area.

(2) The board may, for the purpose of establishing that an applicant possesses the required educational and professional qualifications specified in paragraph (1) of this Rule,

(a) require that the applicant submit evidence to that effect,

(b) require the submission of a statutory declaration attesting to the training specified in subparagraph (c) or to acting as a patent agent specified in subparagraph (d), and

(c) may require such further particulars as are considered necessary.

(3) The board may, however, waive or vary any of the requirements specified in subparagraphs (a), (c) and (d) of paragraph (1) of this Rule, if it is otherwise satisfied in light of the educational and professional qualifications which the applicant possesses, that the applicant is fit to perform the professional duties of a patent agent.

Correspondence                                                   

Applications for registration in the Register, and all correspondence connected with the registration of patent agents should be addressed to the Controller, Patents Office, Government Buildings, Hebron Road, Kilkenny.

Any person registered in the Register of Patent Agents should inform the Controller of any changes to his/her situation which would result in them ceasing to be eligible to be registered.

Upon request in writing by a person, the Controller shall remove the name of the person from the Register. 

Where a person who is registered in the register changes his private or business address, he shall forthwith notify the Controller in writing and the Controller shall thereupon enter in the Register the new address.