“My role is to know whether the invention meets the criteria of patentability, that is, whether the invention is novel and whether it has an inventive step. If this is the case, I write the patent application and proceed to its filing “, explains Céline Lienard, patent engineer at Brema Loyer, intellectual property firm. Specialized in the field of chemistry and pharmacy, its mission is to advise customers who have developed an invention and who wishes to patent it.
A legal engineer
The legal aspect is an integral part of the day-to-day life of the patent engineer because the latter must partly manage the litigation, which is becoming increasingly numerous. For every invention a customer submits to him, he must ensure that the product is not likely to be infringed by examining whether it falls outside the scope of a patent belonging to another person. “If this is the case, the customer must stop the exploitation of this product, under penalty of being susceptible to acts of infringement or to negotiate a license. “
Computer science, chemistry, agribusiness, biotechnology, …: patent engineers are present in all technological and scientific fields. In addition to a good level in English and German, the job requires strong skills of discernment, ease in writing but also organization and rigor. Regulatory standards are becoming more complex and procedures are becoming more numerous: analysis of the research report, replies to official letters, patent granting procedures abroad, opposition proceedings, counterfeit procedures, etc. “The patent has a territorial scope: so there are as many patent granting procedures as extension countries chosen by the client,” summarizes Céline Liénard.
In the office, the missions are even more varied than in the company. For even though he has a field of specialization, the patent engineer must adapt to each client’s project. Like Céline Liénard, who has filed patents on both cancer drugs, anti-wrinkle gels and a dog collar!
At the start of a career, the average salary of a patent engineer ranges from 35,000 to 40,000 euros per year, depending on whether he works in a firm or in a company. An experienced patent engineer can claim 100,000 euros per year.
A patent engineer is often a graduate of both an engineering school and the School of CEIPI Strasbourg (Center for International Studies of Intellectual Property), recognized at European level.
The European Qualifying Examination (EQE) and the French Qualifying Examination (EQF) allow the patent engineer to become an IP agent and consultant respectively. Evolutions are also possible towards positions of director of service, even of lawyer specialized in intellectual property.