Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Internet Resources & Calendars during EPAC 2022 & EQE 2023

During the exams, only LIMITED ONLINE ACCESS will be available. So, you will need to print references and CALENDARS yourself before the exam. WISEflow allows access via the Permitted Internet Resources menu to EPO Legal Texts (En / Ge / Fr) and PCT APPLICANT’s Guide (En / Fr) only.

We have made a set of Exam Calendars available, including the closing days from the EPO, as well as some guidance about using them and calculating time limits.

See IP.appify Blog post for more details.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Who can afford an in-person EQE ?

By DALL·E, OpenAI
The EPO makes Adminstrative Council documents public to increase transparency. Unfortunately, they do not have older documents. I have made CA/139/08 available here because it provides important background for the many changes made to the EQE during the last years. 

There are a lot of people arguing that we should go back to the in-person exam. But that can only happen if some organisation is willing to organise it and/or pay for the organisation. The EPC is silent about who should bear the costs for the EQE, so it has been a struggle between the EPO and the epi / national offices as the EQE has grown from tens of candidates candidates to a couple of thousand. The system is very dependent on the many people who kindly sacrifice their free time organising / making / marking exams. 

For example, the figures in 2007 were:
"All in all, the cost of the 2007 examination came to EUR 7 167 000.
Of this, EUR 2 681 000 (estimate based on EPO cost levels) was contributed through the working time of professional representatives made available free of charge and EUR 108 000 (estimate based on EPO cost levels) through kind support from national patent offices in the form of premises and staff.
Receipts from fees amounted to EUR 652 000.
The remaining costs totalling EUR 4 378 000 were borne by the EPO."

This was the main reason to introduce the Pre-exam - with the increasing number of resitters in the system, the EPO calculated that their costs would rise to 8 500 000 in 2018

Whether you want it or not, the EQE will change. I have no idea what the current online exams cost, but it must be a lot less than in-person, so it will stay online.
Longer exams do not work online, and there are many countries that have health and safety rules which oppose having to be present for 90 minutes without a bathroom break. So, they have to move to shorter exams.
Also, it is getting harder to find enough volunteers, so they have to move to exams that are less time-intensive to make and less time-intensive to mark. 

Thursday, September 22, 2022

September 2022: PCT.App update is now live!

The only digital PCT reference that is future-proof, self-customisable, & self-printable. In English & German. Paper books and an EPC version are also available.

We have just completed our major update of PCT.App for the legal changes in July & August. Most of the changes relate to sequence listings, which is now much more integrated into PCT. We have also changed some core structures to improve the layout and to distribute legal provisions in a more logical way.

In the self-editable online version of our PCT commentary, all changes of the update are rolled-out automatically, while personal user annotations from before the update are retained and can be exported into a customized printable PDF offline version. As usual, we further published this September 2022 edition as standalone softcover books in English or German with same content. 

See the post on the IP.Appify blog for more details.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

New e-EQE has major improvements

A cyberpunk illustration of a successful ecstatic student with laptop and books
By DALL·E, OpenAI
The EPO and epi recently published their extensive proposals for the new e-EQE, including mock exams to get a better feel for the changes.

It will be a major improvement for candidates, but it will also depend on how the modules will be made.

IP.appify Blog: New e-EQE has major improvements

Monday, July 11, 2022

e-EQE2022: Main Exam - what to do after a pass or a fail

15-07-2022: added comments about translation errors.
14-07-22 - added note about split exams compensation.
13-07-22 - added "fit to practice" check during marking.

A big congratulations to all who passed at least at one exam. None of the exams are easy, and if you are unlucky, it is easy to miss something crucial or to misread a sentence.

The result totals and statistics are available here. The pass rate for B is higher than last year, and D is relatively high compared to previous years (not including D 2021 because of the global compensation for technical issues). 

Unfortunately, (since 2021) anonymized individual results are no longer made available, so we cannot calculate statistics or see the mark distributions per exam. Joeri Beetz has a nice website with extensive statistics for the older exams. We were told last year that this omission was due to a lack of capacity.

2021 "Pass rates" - candidates with 45 points or higher:

  • Nr of candidates: Main Exam = 2780, A = 1905, B = 2005, C = 1852, D = 2003
  • A  = 79%, B = 65%, C = 57%, D = 92% 
  • Passed last exam in 2021: 1093 (= 53 % of all ME candidates)

2022 "Pass rates" - candidates with 45 points or higher:

  • Nr of candidates: Main Exam = 1918, A = 886, B = 1158, C = 1400, D = 704
  • A  = 73%, B = 84%, C = 61%, D = 71% 
  • Passed last exam in 2022: 885 (= 46 % of all ME candidates)

The Examiners Reports for each exam are also available here. Unfortunately, the marking sheets are missing (they were included in 2021 and previous years). These are the same as each candidate receives, with a rough division of  available marks. I don't know why they are not included this year.

For each exam, the Examination Committees have selected Candidates' Answers in English, French and German who scored quite highly with an exam answer close to their desired solution. These are unedited, so they can contain mistakes. Unfortunately, the marking sheets for these candidates are still missing (they were also missing in 2021). These marking sheets were very useful for candidates trying to understand where they missed marks. We were told last year that this omission was due to a lack of capacity. 

Still to be published is the Survey report, summarising the answers provided immediately after the exam. It will appear here, at the bottom of the page. Hopefully, it will be back to it's pre-2020 extensive format. In 2021, it was merely a PR folder - we were told last year that this was due to a lack of capacity. 

In October (usually in week 42), there will be a meeting of Tutor's and the Examination Committees to directly discuss the exams of 2022, and to look ahead to EQE 2023. No definite date for the meeting is yet available. In 2021, it was online - no word yet if it will be back to an in-person gathering.

If you passed your last exam, double congratulations 🥇and welcome to the post-EQE world 💪. 

  • For attorneys, request entry onto the list of representatives. 
  • If you are a national of a non-EPC state and you wish to be on the list, you need to request an exemption under Art. 134(7). This involves extra administration - see the FAQ's. Preston Richard has made a template letter that you can use.
  • Relax and look forward to developing other aspects of your career.
  • Even though the epi has no formal requirement for permanent education, commit to keeping up your knowledge. You still need up-to-date knowledge to provide optimal services to your clients, especially of changes in EPO procedure:
    • Subscribe to a blog that regularly discusses case law and legal changes, like the IP.appify blog
    • Go through the yearly changes to the EPO guidelines and follow G decisions
    • Use your legal knowledge more in your daily work (see if a colleague needs help with an office action or opposition, give a presentation to your office, check whether your office procedures meet "all due care", teach subjects to trainees, write a legal article).
    • Attend or follow the EPO's education sessions related to Applying for a Patent, to Law and Practice, or for Patent Attorneys
    • Become a tutor, or volunteer for an Examination Committee
    • If you have added digital notes to EPC.app and PCT.app, they will be updated automatically each year.
Click on READ MORE > > for possible actions after a fail  

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Indexed EPO-EPC Guidelines (Mar 22) & Unitary Patent now available to order (EN)

For the order links, see: fireballpatents.com/study-materials

The EPO-EPC Guidelines for Examination detail the procedure to be followed before the EPO. It explains how the EPO implements the EPC, and covers their standard approach when dealing with the direct EP and Euro-PCT applications. These documented practices are based on standard interpretations of the law, internal policies and established case law, and can be used to predict the most likely objections and outcomes in a particular case. 

EPO practices are continuously updated, and once per year, the Guidelines are updated to reflect recent OJEPO's, G-decisions, J-decisions and selected T decisions. These EPO-EPC Guidelines (Mar 22) are expected to be legally valid from 1 Mar 22 to 28 Feb 23. 

We have also included the EPO's Unitary Patent Guide (Apr 22), which outlines how to obtain an EU Unitary Patent. The Unitary Patent is not yet in force, but it is expected to commence in early 2023. 

Our Indexed version improves on the official digital versions by abbreviating index entries, grouping them at the front to allow quick scanning, using page numbers to speed up finding pages, indicating sections with significant changes in the last 3 years, and fully using the page size to give a better overview of paragraphs. Relevant legal citations & references are underlined, making them easier to spot.

This book is suitable as a desktop reference for everyday use by attorneys and administrators. This is the most used reference for real life cases. We have retained the original order and numbering of the sections, so it can also be used with any EPC legal reference, such as EPC.App

It is also suitable for anyone studying European Patent Law and exam candidates. Exam candidates need to learn how the Guidelines are organised, what they contain (i.e. mainly EPO procedures, some substantive law) and how to find sections quickly. 

For EQE candidates, the EPO-EPC Guidelines are needed for each exam, and are considered essential for Pre-Exam and Paper D. The Guidelines are not legal basis themselves, but most of the EPC legal questions can be answered using the contents. However, answers should always be supported by Articles and Rules citations. The Mar 22 version is the official version for EQE 2023 Main Exam & Pre-Exam. Note that the Unitary Patent is not yet tested at the EQE.

Three editions in English are available (all have 532 pages):

  1. Portable A4 Edition - using thinner 50gr "bible paper" to reduce the thickness to 17mm and the weight to 825g.
  2. Study A4 Edition - using thicker 80gr paper, which is more suitable for intensive tabbing, annotating and highlighting. It is 28mm thick and weighs 1375g.
  3. Study Letter Edition - also using thicker paper, but made available through Amazon mainly for orders outside the EU (AU, CA, JP, UK, US). It is 31mm thick and weighs 1550g.

For more details, including the order links, and sample pages, see: fireballpatents.com/study-materials

Friday, May 13, 2022

Sign up to try the NEW e-EQE

After a lot of work behind the scenes, the EPO and epi have published their extensive proposals for the new e-EQE. There are even mock exams for you to try. And they want your feedback …

The proposal documents are on the New EQE pages of the EPO website. The consultation will run from the second half of May until 15 July 2022. The mock papers will be accessible in WISEflow, but you must sign up separately, even if you already have an account.

The proposal consists of 2 foundation and 4 main modules that gradually progress from acquiring legal and procedural knowledge towards its practical application.

The new format is adapted to online exam taking – the time on the computer during the exams will be shorter, and there is a combination of autoscoring (multiple choice) and open questions. The material that can actually be tested in each exam is therefore reduced, but that is compensated by having a broader range of situations that need to be prepared. These situations have all been explicitly mentioned in the proposal, so you can see exactly what you need to know.

I am already a big fan of M4 (Advising the Client) because it includes:

  1. Understand and know infringing activities (in comparative patent law),
    thus being capable of determining the rights conferred by a patent, their duration
    and which acts need to be performed to be able to enforce them.

Feedback can be provided by questionnaire once the mock papers are available. The earliest that these changes could be introduced is EQE 2024. They have already indicated that EQE 2023 will follow the current regulations and formats.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Still struggling with PCT ?

TLDR: the most advanced and comprehensive guide to PCT law & procedure
Welcome to PCT.App !

  • By IP.appify www.pctapp.net/en/pct-app
  • The only self-editable guide to PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty).
  • Readable on your mobile phone & tablet. It is extensively commented, with many summaries of key issues. The screenshot above is simulated"See Inside" for examples of actual screenshots.
  • Search full-text, and navigate with hyperlinks & cross-references to internal & external resources.
  • Organisation is chronological, mirroring the lives of PCT applications. 130 subjects include overviews and paragraphs from the most relevant provisions. All PCT Articles & Rules are included at least once.
  • Self-editable online using a browser. Freely adapt the references online with your own comments & highlighting, and hide any unwanted parts. For editing & modifying content, we recommend using a larger screen with a mouse & keyboard.
  • No need to transfer notes - legal updates are automatic without disturbing your individual content.
  • Make printable colour pdf's at any time, or use our Print-On-Demand service for color hardcopies.
  • Crucial for daily practice, essential for the EQE (Qualifying Exam for European Patent Attorneys).
  • Also available as a fully-commented black-and-white paper book. Editing and colour hardcopies are only available to online subscribers.

To Do in 2022:

  • Subscribe to PCT.App, the most advanced and comprehensive guide to PCT law & procedure.
  • For lawyerspatent attorneys and formalities officers.
  • Available in English and German.
  • By IP.appify www.pctapp.net/en/pct-app
  • "See Inside" for actual PC and mobile phone screenshots, explanation of the structuresample downloads, the Index and the Detailed Contents lists

Reviews & Recommendations:

Nominee - IPKat Book of 2021 / Yellow Sheet (Nov 21) / Salted Patent (Apr 21)

  • EPC.app and PCT.app helped me a lot in EQE Paper D - I did not even need to annotate it
  • Pete's PCT.APP book saved me on EQE Paper D1
  • I found it to be very good for EQE D exam. The plain language and keyword index made it work for me
  • Being able to edit the contents to how I see fit was a surprisingly easy experience
  • Organising PCT.App by subject in the order that an application would go through PCT gives an intuition that I haven’t found in other materials
  • How convenient to have Till & Pete update your go-to EPC & PCT so they are always up to date
  • Can´t recommend enough for EQE candidates as well as anyone in the profession
  • I always had the material, with my own annotations, available online and as a printed book

© IP.appify GmbH

Sunday, March 20, 2022

e-EQE: 18 Mar 2022 - Pre-Exam - copy to try yourself

  • Friday was the e-EQE Pre-Exam (Part 1: 1000-1110 CET - 70 mins, Part 2: 1130-1240 CET - 70 mins, Part 3: 1400-1510 CET - 70 mins and Part 4: 1530 - 1640 CET - 70 mins). 
  • If you want to try yourself, see here for the files: PE-1-2-3-4-questions-EN (2022), PE-3-printable-EN (2022), PE-3-printable-FR (2022), PE-4-printable-EN (2022), PE-4-printable-FR (2022). Sorry, no DE printable files.
  • The questions (only EN, sorry) and statements (in DE/EN/FR) were only available digitally, and have been extracted from candidate's answers. The questions from all parts have been combined in one file.
  • Unfortunately, the pages in the candidate copy are saved as low-resolution screenshots, so it was not possible to accurately OCR the text. The font is a little small, but certainly readable on-screen. 
  • The order of statements is randomised between candidates, so statement numbers have not been used.

Friday, March 18, 2022

e-EQE: 18 Mar 2022 - Pre-Exam - (copy in separate post) last exam

Updated 20 Mar 22: copy to try yourself is in separate post
Updated 18 Mar 22: some technical and language problems

Today was the e-EQE Pre-Exam (Part 1: 1000-1110 CET - 70 mins, part 2: 1130-1240 CET - 70 mins, part 3: 1400-1510 CET - 70 mins and part 4: 1530 - 1640 CET - 70 mins). Unfortunately, I was not able to get a copy of the questions, so I cannot share them. The copy to try yourself is in a separate post. The EPO normally makes good copies available in the compendium in the week after the EQE.

  • I am keeping my fingers crossed for all 2022 candidates 🤞🤞🤞. 
  • The choice of topics for the legal questions seemed different from previous years. After all the issues with calendars, they have decided not to require any time limit calculations. Coincidence?
  • I have not made it yet, but check the Telegram groups for some discussions and comments. Today there were not a lot of discussions - most seem to be happy to have survived the second eEQE, and to start the weekend early. Some short discussions about complexity. 
  • No widespread Some technical issues reported during Pre-Exam 👍👍👍 - see below
  • If you had any issues with the exam, report them as soon as possible to helpdesk@eqe.org. Formally, complaints must be formally filed no later than midnight on the day of the exam you are complaining about. I have helped update Preston Richard's template for EQE complaints to make the process a little easier, especially after a tiring day. Even if you have miss the formal deadline, submit all complaints that could affect your marking or performance as quickly as possible. You can also give a reason why you were not able to submit immediately after the exam, such as tiredness or needing to prepare for the next exam.

1. Thanks to the EQE organisation, and good luck with the marking
  • Thanks to all the invigilators, helpdesk staff, EQE secretariat members, and epi/EPO members who have been working tirelessly for the last few months to make it happen. Even under pretty stressful conditions (on both sides), many candidates had positive experiences of the invigilation system. 👍👍👍. 
    • the only issues seem to be with the capacity and thus the wait time
  • And good luck to those involved in the marking - at least you will not have to struggle with poor handwriting any more 😉, although there are a lot of spelling mistakes and copy/paste errors to puzzle over.

2. My suggestions to candidates after the eEQE
  • You survived the second eEQE 🥇
  • Put your TAB and WINKEY caps back 😀
  • Manually uninstall Lockdown Browser: in Win10, it is found in the start menu under Respondus
    • be suspicious of any emails mentioning WISEflow or Lockdown Browser
    • if you get any emails about "updates" of the Lockdown Browser, do not click on them. Only update through WISEflow.
  • Preferably unplug all the extra cameras and microphones. Or at least cover the cameras when not in use.
  • Take a couple of days off and celebrate 😉
  • Don't read blog posts about model answers. They are usually made by EQE nerds who made the exams under relaxed conditions. They could still be wrong. Even if it is a perfect answer, no-one knows where all the marks will be awarded. 
  • The marking sheets are only finalised after the exam following discussions within the committees about what to accept and what not. For example, if there was an issue almost no-one dealt with, they usually compensate by awarding marks for something else that most people got. The exams also have built-in fail-safes, so if you miss something, you will not lose marks everywhere. 

3. Telegram chat groups

  • Join the EQE Telegram groups to discuss issues with other candidates: Main group (324 members), Study group (133 members), ABC&PE-claims (206 members), D&PE-legal (166 members) and Marketplace (72 members). The groups are public, and open to any tutors or candidates. A few rules: treat others with respect, no discussion of cheating, no exchange of large sections of copyrighted materials (use of excerpts for study and discussion allowed). During scheduled exams, no discussion of the exam questions or answers. During mocks, no restrictions.
4. FLOWlock / Lockdown Browser
  • Many language errors in the navigation buttons
    • PE-1 and PE-2: button labels were in German, PE-3: button labels were in French, PE-4: button labels were in English. These languages could not be changed by changing the assignment language.
    • when the problem was reported, the invigilators provided translations 
    • the questions and statements were visible in DE, EN, and FR
  • Some problems handing-in Pre-exam answers
    • This was a major problem yesterday during C1 and C2. There it was related to the high number of candidates handing in relatively long exam answers. I am not sure of the numbers for Pre-Exam this year.
    • This is an area where WISEflow and the FLOWlock Browser work well - you need to first try refreshing (F5 "clockwise arrow" at the top left). If that does not work, contact the helpdesk who will guide you. 
    • There are many options available to the invigilator, including downloading your answer locally using an administrators menu and emailing it. FLOWlock Browser is continuously saving versions local and cloud versions of your answer. But always  check your answer to see if it seems complete.
    • Even if you managed to file your answer and everything seems fine, you should still file a complaint. it is unlikely that there will be problems, but just in case some of your answer got corrupted or appears missing. They can then double check if something looks strange during the marking.