Monday, 2 October 2017

Guidelines November 2017

A pre-publication of Guidelines for Examination November 2017 is available on the EPO website, as well as of the Guidelines for Examination at EPO as PCT authority.
The HTML-pages also contain a page with a list of changes (at the bottom of the left column)

The final version, available as of 1 November 2017, is however not the relevant version for EQE 2018 (Pre-Exam and Main Exam): per decision of the Supervisory Board of 29 September 2017, the relevant date for the applicable law and GL was changed from 31 December to 31 October (see here), such that the November 2016 version is the relevant version for EQE. Note that that version is partially overruled by legal changes (RFees 11, Rule 51(2), Rule 162, Rule 27, Rule 28 EPC) and case law (G 1/15 - partial priority).

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Pre-Exam 2017: results

Earlier today, the Examiner's Report was published, and now also the results are out and available on the EQE website here.

884 candidates enrolled for the Pre-Exam 2017, out of which 860 also sat the paper (97%).
672 candidates passed, corresponding to 76% of all enrolled candidates and 78% of all candidates that sat the exam. Congratulations!
188 candidates failed, corresponding to 21% resp. 22%.
The pass rates are thus similar as in 2016 and 2015.

The pass rate is considerably lower for resitters:

  • 105 Pre-Exam 2016 candidates were resitting: 53 passed, 52 failed again
  • 54 Pre-Exam 2015 candidates were resitting: 21 passed, 33 failed again
  • 17 Pre-Exam 2014 candidates were resitting: 7 passed, 10 failed again
  • 36 candidates that sat Pre-Exam 2015 and 2016 were resitting: 17 passed, 19 failed again
  • 9 candidates that sat Pre-Exam 2014, 2015 and 2016 were resitting: 6 passed, 3 failed again
  • 5 candidates that sat Pre-Exam 2014 and 2015 but not 2016 were resitting: 1 passed, 4 failed again

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Pre-Exam 2017: our answers to the toothbrush questions (claims analysis part)

The claims analysis part of the Pre-Exam 2017 (paper here: English, French and German) was about toothbrushes for human use.

The client's application described that a drawback of known toothbrushes is that the users need to be trained by dentists in order to achieve optimum dental plaque removal. Remaining dental plaque can give rise to dental caries, which is highly undesirable.
The invention is presented as being based on the surprising finding that the amount of dental plague removal can be increased by transmitting additional vibrations to the bristles of the toothbrush, generated by an electric vibrator inside the brush body, preferably in the handle together with a controller and a battery. The controller acts as a switching device for selectively supplying electric energy from the battery to an electrically operated element, because the controller connects and disconnects the vibrator from the battery.
Four embodiments are described and shown in four figures. In some embodiments, the controller uses a push button to turn on&off the vibrations; in other embodiments, a pressure sensor in the bristle zone is used. Some embodiments have a replaceable brush and a connection section to connect it to the handle. A LED can be incorporated to emphasize the technical character, which makes users think that the toothbrush has a higher cleaning efficiency.
The toothbrushes must have a length of less than 30 cm, or between 18 and 25 cm when having a replaceable brush head for ergonomic reasons.

Pre-Exam 2017: our answers to the legal part

As last year and unlike the years before, the legal part tested many non-standard topics. Some topics were quite unexpected, such as interlocutory revision, interruption and second medical indication - even though some of those statements were not that difficult, the unfamiliarity with the topic made them difficult. Well-prepared candidates having good knowledge and knowing their material well for fast look-up should have been able to answer most of the statements correctly. I expect that, as last year, many candidates needed 2 hours for the legal part and the full 4 hours for the whole paper.

Our provisional answers for the legal questions of the Pre-Exam 2017 (paper available here:  English, French and German):

Monday, 6 March 2017

Pre-Exam 2017: first impressions?

To all who sat the Pre-Exam today:
What are your first impressions to this year's Pre-Exam (pEnglish, French and German)? Any general or specific comments?
Were the legal topics well balanced?
Were the various aspects of claims analysis well balanced?
Was the balance between EPC and PCT right for you?
Which of the legal questions did you consider particularly difficult, and which relatively 'easy'?
How much time did you allocate for the legal questions, how much for the claims analysis part? Did you deviate from our original plan (for example, took more time for the legal questions than planned)?
Which part did you do first, the legal part or the claims analysis?
How many marks do you expect to have scored in the legal part, in the claims analysis, and for the whole paper?
What is your expectation of the pass rate and the average score?
How did this year's paper compare to the earlier pre-exams of 2012-2016 (assuming your practiced those) w.r.t. the pre-exam as a whole, w.r.t. the legal part and w.r.t. the claims analysis part? In particular, how did it compare to 2015 and 2016?

The paper and our answers
Copies of the paper will be provided on this blog as soon as we have received copies of the paper (English, French and German).

The core of our answers is given in two separate blog posts: one for the legal questions and another post for the claims analysis part.

We look forward to your comments!
Comments are welcome in any official EPO language, not just English. So, comments in German and French are also very welcome!

Please do not post your comments anonymously - it is allowed, but it makes responding more difficult and rather clumsy ("Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous of 13-13-2017 13:13"), whereas using your real name or a pseudonym is more personal, more interesting and makes a more attractive conversation. You do not need to log in or make an account - it is OK to just put your (nick) name at the end of your post.

Please post your comments as to first impressions and general remarks to the Pre-Exam paper as a whole, and to the two parts (legal part and claims analysis) as whole parts to this blog.Please post substantial questions to specific legal questions to our post with our answers and claims analysis related questions to our post for that part


Note: the legal questions are discussed here, and claims analysis questions here.

(c) DeltaPatents 2017

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Calendars for the 2017 Pre-examination available

The Calendars for the 2017 Pre-examination are available on the EQE website.

The Calendars for the 2017 Pre-examination show the calendars of 2016 and 2017 in the same format as the 2015 and 2016 exams: the months in blocks in the top half with the weekend days shown in grey, and the further closure dates for each of the three EPO filing offices on the lower half of the page. The closure dates are the "standard" national or local holidays - no bridging days are included.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Requirement to register start of professional activities

For sitting the main exam, it is required that a candidate:

(a) satisfies the Secretariat that at the date of the examination (or rather, 1 March) the candidate has:
      (i) completed a full-time training period of at least three years in one of the contracting states to the European Patent Convention (hereinafter "the EPC") under the supervision of one or more persons European patent attorneys (for exact formulation, see Art.11(2)(a)(i) REE), or
      (ii) worked full-time for a period of at least three years in the employment of a natural or legal person in an EPC contracting state and have represented their employer before the EPO in accordance with Article 133(3) EPC (Art.11(2)(a)(ii) REE)), or
(b) performed full-time the duties of an examiner at the EPO for at least four years (Art.11(2)(b) REE).
For the pre-exam,  these periods are reduced by one year. 
On 1 April 2016, a revised version of Rule 28 IPREE entered into force, which requires candidates intending to enrol for the European qualifying examination for the first time to register once they have commenced their professional activities or employment.
The registration has to be done within 2 month after having commenced professional activities or employment. However, a transitional provision applies that the registration can be performed at any time during a transitional period that runs at least until 1 April 2017. 
Candidates enrolling for the EQE for the first time in 2017 do not need prior registration
Candidates enrolling for the EQE for the first time in 2018 or later are advised to register before the end of the transitional period, as otherwise only 2 months of the training period before registration will be taken into account.
The full text of the decision is given below:
Decision of the Supervisory Board 

The Supervisory Board,

Having regard to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives (REE) which entered into force on 1 January 2009 (Supplementary publication 2, OJ EPO 2014), in particular Article 3, paragraph 7, thereof, has decided as follows:

Article 1
Rule 28 of the Implementing provision to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives shall be replaced by the following text:

(1) In accordance with Article 11(1) REE, candidates intending to enrol for the European qualifying examination for the first time shall register once they have commenced their professional activities or employment as defined in Article 11(2) REE.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 7 and subject to paragraph 4, the fee for registration for candidates already registered with the Institute as an “epi student” shall amount to 50% of the basic fee.

(3) For the purposes of Article 11(2) REE, only such periods of professional activity shall be taken into account as have been accumulated after registration pursuant to paragraph 1 above. The maximum period of previous professional activity as defined in Article 11(2) REE which can be taken into account is limited to two months on condition that such period occurred immediately before registration. 

(4) During a transitional period of at least one year from the entry into force of this rule, the registration can be requested at any time. Candidates may request any previous period of professional activity as defined in Article 11(2) REE to be taken into account without the limitation specified under paragraph 3. Registration is free of charge during the transitional period. The transitional period may be extended by decision of the Supervisory Board. For candidates enrolling for the 2017 European qualifying examination, no prior registration is necessary.

Article 2 
This decision shall enter into force on 1 April 2016.

Done at Munich, 23 March 2016
For the Supervisory Board
The Chairman
Chris Mercer

Added 4 January 2017:

A further Notice was published in OJ 2016, A108: "Notice of the Examination Secretariat of the European qualifying examination - Registration pursuant to Rule 28 of the Implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination"

The Notice provides many details as the the registration requirements and procedure.

The Notice indicates that the transitional period has NOT been extended by the Supervisory Board, as the Notice says: "During the transitional period until 31 March 2017 candidates may request any previous period of professional activity as defined in Article 11(2) REE to be taken into account without any limitation as to time."