Basic trainings
Many times I got the question: what is a good training course for me as Patent Information Specialist? The answer to this question is not very easy, and depends on many factors. Are you experienced? Are you just starting? What background do you have? Are you in a corporate environment with more Patent searcher to support you or is it a part of your job? For those who are starters it is very useful to be trained in short time on most of the basic aspects of patent searching. A basic fundamental course can be very helpful. A company can profit, by having a patent information professional fully effective within a couple of months, rather than guiding a person over period of approximately one year.

The best basic course I’m aware of is the one delivered by GO Opleidingen in Cooperation with the Dutch User group (WON) (see ) This Basic Patent Information course (BPIC) courses, running since 2001, consists of seven modules. The course will provide students with a solid knowledge of patent information, in general, however, particular attention is given to patent searches, legal aspects, the accessibility and retrieval of patent information. Although not cheap, it will provide attendees with a solid knowledge of all basic aspects of patent searching, given by well-known, specialized instructors, within a time frame of 5 weeks, and overall 17 days. This basic course is a recommendation for all who will start as patent searcher.

Another extended course is offered by TU-Ilmenau, but is limited to German speaking attendees. This course will take approximately half a year and is divided over 20 days. For more information see

Of course there are many other options to become trained as well. I will mention specific databases trainings from providers. Although they (of course) only teach how to use their tools. I’m always surprised to see how less they know from each other’s tools and do not carefully watch their competitors.

Also some learning tools are provided by patent offices (like the WIPO and EPO Academy) although they are very much focusing on novelty searching rather than other type of searches (like opposition/validity/FTO etc.)
Patent Searching Fundamentals Course offered by the US user group (PIUG)  is another training provided, attached to PIUG conferences. A two day course with very fundamental information.
Magister Ltd. (Stephen Adams) provide a number of Standard Training Courses, either at your site, or at a training centre. The website show Courses that are currently available. See

Other trainings are offered on for specific topics.


Advanced trainings
Searchers with some more experience are for sure more interested in something more advanced. Advanced courses, for further professional development in Patent Information are hardly available. I’m only aware of the advanced course offered by WON/GO called the APIC (Advanced Patent Information Course). See This Advanced Course should help you not only in further improving your searches, but especially in analysing your search results and thus adding more value to your reporting. This advanced course will cover, spread over 4 days, topics like legal aspects and patent analysis. You will learn about novelty and inventive step, legal practice, selection and usage of analytical tools.


How about Certification of Patent Information Specialists? When does it come? This question is asked many times. Currently there is progress on this after the PIUG, CEPIUG and PDG has joined forces and representatives of these groups are working on this, however the rules and regulations are still under construction and a first official exam will take some more time. At many events information is given about the progress. The website on the certification will keep you up-to-date with the latest development. (See )

What has already been decided is the name of certified patent information specialist, what will be QPIP (stands for Qualified Patent Information Professional) It’s clear that this certification will only be given to those who pass a very tough exam or being able to show many years of experience as well as CPD (Continuous Professional Development) The main driving force behind the certification program is Bettina de Jong (CEPIUG), supported by Bernd Wolter (PDG) and Susanne Hantos (PIUG)


I’m aware this is an incomplete overview of available trainings, but I tried to make you aware of those in my view, most interesting ones

Aalt van de Kuilen

Senior Patent Information Specialist in the field of Life Sciences and Chemistry. Read more about the background and expertise of Aalt van de Kuilen.