Examination is open to patent information professionals globally who meet the requirements for enrolment for the examination. (see FAQs below).

The examination will consist of six parts. The exam will take two full days in total, preferably with one day between the two examination days.

The examination language is English. You should preferably use your own tools, but only tools with an English interface are accepted for the results that you provide during the exam.

The examination fee is EURO 100.

The exam consists of six parts, six case studies and two theoretical exams two case studies and each having a choice of a chemical, engineering or life sciences related topic.

  • an opposition, validity or novelty search case study with a choice of topics
  • a patent infringement risk search case study with a choice of topics

The definitions of these search types are provided in Rule 4.3. Candidates are expected to plan suitable search strategies and conduct online searching, while explaining at each stage the decisions they make.  Demonstrating a clear understanding for every stage of the process is more important than reporting suitable references. 

  • a general theory exam that tests knowledge on such topics as the major patent systems, patent classifications, priority dates and other topics as listed in Schedule 2 (Download from Documentation page).  It will consist of a mixture of multiple choice, true and false questions and open questions that require a short answer.
  • a technology-neutral case study where candidates will be asked to select and categorise documents as to whether the documents are of interest or not from either a patent infringement risk perspective of from a prior art (novelty, opposition or validity) perspective. Candidates will be expected to explain why they have selected and categorised the documents in the manner they have.
  • 6-10 essay questions (requiring answers of max 250 words) related to patent landscape topics as listed in the Schedule I & II (Download from Documentation page)
  • a technology-neutral case to test patent landscaping skills. Candidates will be given a collection of patent data (about 3000-6000 publication numbers in Derwent Innovation, Patbase, Orbit and PatentSight format, from about 800-1000 patent families) and asked to provide some or all of the following and explain their choices:
    • A standardized assignee list
    • An example of a patent family reduction
    • At least three categories within the collection
    • Charts of publications over time
    • Charts of publications by category over time
    • Charts of the top assignees
    • Assignee trends over time
    • Assignee analysis over the categories created
    • An example of semi-automated technology clustering
    • An example of citation analysis
    • Tool requirements for the patent landscape case study
    • Tools for which an upload list of patent publications in a matching format will be provided during the exam:
      • Orbit.com — including the full Orbit Intelligence module
      • PatBase — including Analytics v3
      • PatentSight — full access
      • Derwent Innovation — Analyst level
    • Tools for which NOT an upload list of patent publications in a matching format will be provided during the exam. The candidate can use one of the other formats, which will normally give almost all patent families/publications in the final search result:
      • PatSnap — full access
      • PatSeer — Pro access with all analytics tools
      • This list is not exclusive. Candidates may also use other tools (with English interface), but should test if the provided patent number formats work for uploading and searching (see previous exams on the Documentation age)

Further information

The examinations will be held in an online format and will take two full days. All times indicated are local times in the time zone of the exam for which the candidate has registered (click the 'APPLY' button to see the options for different timezone regions and use "compare with my time zone" to see on the second line under 'Start date/Start time' what the start time would be for you).

Although not all aspects will be tested during the examination, the document "Schedule I & II (Skills & Competencies) and Suggested Reading List" provides an overview of the knowledge and skills that a QPIP is expected to have, and suggestions for practising and a reading list. Furthermore, examples of the various exam parts from previous exams give an indication of what these may look like and also model/sample answers are available. These documents can be downloaded from the Documentation page.

Further information

Frequently Asked Questions


Is QPIP a license to practice?

The QPIP title does not give a license to practice, i.e. it will not be required in order to work as a patent information professional, but it indicates a competence level and ensures (future) employers that the QPIP is an all-round professional, being able to do any kind of patent related search and analysis.

Is there a fee for maintaining my QPIP registration?

A QPIP registration renewal fee will be due at the beginning of each calendar year to cover that calendar year. ISBQPIP is a not-for-profit organization, that will publish a financial report every year. As a not-for-profit organisation, the renewal fee will be set to ensure that all running costs are covered without a significant surplus accruing. For 2021 the annual renewal fee is set on EURO 100. For candidates who successfully pass the exam in February 2021, the examination fee includes the QPIP registration fee for 2021.

What is done with the personal information that I provide?

See Privacy Notice (link at the bottom of each page in the black area)

Can I use the term QPIP and/or the logo?

The ISBQPIP has filed a trademark for both the QPIP logo and the term ‘QPIP’.  All QPIPs may use the term QPIP or Qualified Patent Information Professional in combination with their name (e.g. in their email signature, on LinkedIn etc.). Otherwise the term may only be used after written permission from the ISBQPIP has been obtained. The logo may only be used after written permission from the ISBQPIP has been obtained, but permission will not be withheld for use of the logo in combination with the name of the QPIP (e.g. in their email signature).

What are the tasks of the different ISBQPIP committees?

The major tasks of the committees are summarized below (for complete descriptions see the Articles and Rules):

Accreditation Committee: reviews applications for accreditation of training/course programs

Examination Committee: prepares the exam papers and reviews/marks the papers of the candidates (sub-groups may be formed to focus on specific aspects/technological areas of the exams)

Qualifications and Continued Professional Development Committee: reviews applications to enrol in the certification examination and reviews applications for Prior Experience Recognition. In addition, the committee will monitor developments in the profession to ensure that CPD requirements remain current. The committee will also assess activities to determine whether CPD points can be assigned, and if so, how many.

Regulatory and Disciplinary Committee: reviews complaints/appeals against acts/decisions of or within the ISBQPIP. In addition, the committee reviews complaints concerning alleged misconduct by a QPIP as well as assessing a QPIP's compliance or exemptions concerning the CPD requirements via a random audit.

The inaugural committee for each of these areas may need to develop procedures, forms and protocols in line with the Articles and Rules.

What is the time commitment involved in serving on an ISBQPIP committee?

Although the term of a committee member is typically three years, for the inaugural committees one member may step down (or be reappointed) after two years and one member should stay for at least four years to ensure continuity in the operation of the committee.

It is difficult to estimate how much work will be necessary to fulfil the different tasks of these committees. The amount of work will likely alternate between periods of more and less work at certain times throughout the calendar year. It is generally estimated that a committee member may spend anywhere from 3 hours to 10 hours per month or more depending on the circumstances.

It is likely that most of the tasks can be performed outside of business hours with perhaps the exception of any online communications (teleconferences or email correspondence) with other members of the committee that may need to be scheduled during business hours due to the availability of the committee members.


What tools/databases should I use for the exam?

You should preferably use your own tools or databases, as long as they have an English interface. You may use any tools or databases with which you think you can successfully conduct the two search case studies (novelty/validy/opposition search and patent infringement risk search) and the patent landscaping case study. Since the patent landscaping case study requires analyses and visualisations, it is recommended to use at least one of the following tools:

  • Orbit.com — including the full Orbit Intelligence module
  • PatSnap — full access
  • PatSeer — Pro access with all analytics tools
  • PatBase — including Analytics v3
  • PatentSight — full access
  • Derwent Innovation — Analyst level

This list is not exclusive, so other tools to conduct the case study are also accepted. It is recommended to check the description of the patent landscaping case study on the Examination page.

In case you don't have access to any of these tools and/or databases/tools with an English interface for the two search case studies, please contact the ISBQPIP as soon as possible via info@qpip.org, in order to allow the ISBQPIP to arrange access.

What are the requirements for enrolment for the examination?

(i) You must meet minimum work experience requirements:

At the date of the certification examination, you must have at least three (3) years of work experience with at least 60% of that time spent on searching patent information or a combination of searching and mentoring or a combination of searching and outsourcing or a combination of searching and overseeing search work of others according to the definitions in Rule 4.2 in each and every year of the 3 year period preceding the date of application.


(ii) At the time of applying for enrolment for the examination, you must have completed at least forty-five (45) search projects as defined in Rule 4.3 within the three (3) years preceding the application, the search projects being conducted in the course of business (not for personal interest). A single search project can include several individual searches that all aim to answer the question(s) posed by that search project.


(iii) You must meet minimum technical qualifications such as a university degree or work experience in a scientific or technical field as defined in Rule 4.4.


(iv) You must pay the application fee of EURO 100 which is non-refundable, after your application has been reviewed and you have been accepted for enrolment for the examination. Acceptable forms of payment will include bank transfer or credit card (Mastercard or VISA).


(v) You must confirm that you will abide by the QPIP Code of Conduct.

The Rules and Code of Conduct can be downloaded from the Documentation page.

What technical qualitifications will be considered to be eligible for the exam?

At the time of applying for enrolment for the certification examination, the candidate must have:

  • At least a scientific, engineering or technical Bachelor Degree of three (3) year or four (4) year program duration in a technical field e.g. as included in any publicly available edition of the patent classification system that is administered by the World Intellectual Property Office, the European Patent Office, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Japan Patent Office or any other national patent office; or
  • At least a technical qualification in a technical field e.g. as included in any edition of any patent classification system as defined in RULE 4.4a wherein the technical qualification was conferred by a university, technical university, technical high school, vocational college, higher technical college or institute, school of engineering, or any similar establishment and the qualification is deemed equivalent to a Bachelor Degree by the Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education; or
  • At least ten (10) years of experience working in a technical field as included in any edition of any patent classification system as defined in the first bullet point (RULE 4.4a).
Can anyone apply for enrolment for the exam?

Anyone fulfilling the requirements from anywhere in the world can register for the exam. That is why 5 different time zones have been set up and are available to sit the exam.


What is the examination fee?

The examination application fee is EURO 100 which is non-refundable. Acceptable forms of payment will include bank transfer or credit card (Mastercard or VISA). Those who pass the exam will not have to pay the QPIP registration fee for the year in which the exam is held.

What were the questions and answers during the information sessions on 16 December 2020?

You can find a document with a summary of the questions and answers of the information sessions on 16 December 2020 on the Documentation page under 'Examination', together with the slides that were shown and a recording of the presentation. The document is called 'Q&A summary Information Session 2020-12-16

Is it a possible to get a password to any commercial vendor during an exam?

Yes, this can be arranged. However, the ISBQPIP needs to be informed as soon as possible (at least two weeks before the exam) of your wish in order to be able to coordinate with vendors properly.