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How has working life changed since 1990?

I’ve just graduated and joined the IP profession. I can’t imagine what work was like before efiling, the internet and online databases. Can you explain?

The patent examiner

I joined the EPO in The Hague after I left university with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. These days the Office prefers to hire examiners with doctorates and industry experience.

For my first three years I was just performing searches. At that time all of the EPO's search work was done in The Hague because it had inherited the contents of the libraries of the Dutch Patent Office and the old Institut International des Brevets. Once we received an application we would classify it and then search our physical paper groups. Most applications fell into two or three overlapping classifications. The paper groups obviously grew over time so sometimes we would subdivide them (a tedious but necessary task). It took me three weeks to subdivide one paper group but once done it made searching much easier and quicker. Often the paper documents would be on...

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