Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Advice on preparing for Paper D in about 160 hours

At this time of year, I often get asked about how best to prepare for Paper D. Ideally, you should have started much earlier, but just in case, here is the minimum you should have done before the exam.

The main differences with Pre-Exam are:
- there are more subjects they can ask about
- you have to decide based on the question which law to consider and which to apply (no possible answers are given)
- deal with DII (a very large, open question)

1) Learn the core of legal subjects, learn how the law fits around them, learn how to find things quickly in your legal book by doing the 150 selected questions from the DeltaPatents D Book (see page 9 of the Questions part). Do most of them fully, but do some of them quickly by concentrating on the most relevant part of the answer. Copy some of the answers as templates into your legal books  - [60 hours]

2) Sign up for the Daily D questions from the EPO Academy - 60 questions in total you can do in your lunch break (or in the bus/train), but concentrate for these just on the main part of the answer and legal basis - [20 hours]

3) Find out about D methodology (efficiently answering to get the most points in the time available) - ask someone else or get a book (see below) - [8 hours]

4) Learn how to answer DI questions:
- do the DI questions from the D papers of the last 4-5 years. Compare your answer to the official answer (the official answers concentrate on the most relevant parts of the law for answering that question) - [20 hours]

5) practice writing by hand on mock EQE paper

6) Study DII methodology
- Start with DII of 2013 - this is a good balanced DII. Cover the following in your answer:
a. Situation-as-is (where are we today, what will happen if you don't get involved)
(i) patentability of application/patent legal status, novelty & inventive step of all claims
(ii) exploitation - what can the client do to stop the competitor and how, what can the competitor do to stop the client
b.  Improvements in both patentability and exploitation
c. Come to conclusion about freedom to operate (e.g. cross-licence)

Don't go through every procedural detail in your answer - concentrate on things that help the client. Compare your answer to the official answers, but try not to focus on all the details. Look for the general parts you missed. Each sentence in the Possible Solution is 1 point. Look for patterns that repeat. Preferably do it with someone else and have them read your answer to see if they understand it.

7) Do the DII parts from the D papers of the last 4-years - [30 hours]

8) You also need to think about where you want to spend your time at the exam:
- track the time it takes you to do the papers. Aim for spending no more than 3 minutes per point.
- the exam is designed with 2 hrs for DI and 3 hrs for DII
- you don't have to do all the DI questions. You can score your > 45 points anywhere in any combination of DI + DII points
- On D, you start with 0 points, and get 1/2 point for everything that is relevant for the question
- Your DII is marked as a whole, so it does not matter where you write down a relevant comment in your answer
- Hand-in at least 1500 words for your DII answer
- Optimise your points for the things you know, and avoid things that take a lot of time to answer
A training course is the most efficient way to learn methodology because you are guided through the material, you can ask your own questions, and you don't need to put so much time into figuring out how the exam is structured, and what you need to hand-in.

But at this late stage, it is probably better to get a book than to try and find a course - whatever you learn, you still need to practice the methodology on real papers before the exam.

"Goal-oriented Methodologies" by Daniel Herrmann is quite short compared to other books, but I like that. It covers the basics for A, B, C & D and you can read it in a couple of hours. It is actually shorter than it looks because it includes methodologies and examples in both German & English. It is based on his approach when he passed recently. Unfortunately, the website is in German, but the book is really in English as well. It is also available at

"Tactics for D" by Cees Mulder & Nyske Blokhuis is also relatively quick to get through and to understand.
If you are doing more than one paper, you will start to run out of time. Concentrate on D - D takes the most effort, and you don't want to resit it - it is very difficult to motivate yourself to go through everything again. Resitting A, B or C is much less work.
Good luck!

Monday, November 27, 2017

My printable National Law Book for EQE2018

Unfortunately, the printable National Law book is no longer being updated. The last version from Sept 2015 can be found here.
For the exam, it is important to have up-to-date details from the tables, particularly if there is a DI question on the translation requirements after grant, for example.

I have produced an up-to-date printable version - downloadable from my patent firm's website - using the latest information from the EPO website.

My book is 456 pages - unfortunately, it is difficult to further reduce the length due to the way that the EPO website generates the printable pages. So you can either use this one, or take the old one (300 pages) and update it using the OJEPO notices. Feel free to pass on the link to anyone who needs it. To save paper when printing, it should be printed with 2 pages on each side of an A4.

As I have included information on the validation states, I have titled the book "National Law and Validation Agreements".
  • Tables I and VIII are irrelevant for the EQE, so leaving them out saves 150 pages. 
  • I have added an index with some reminders about what is in each table
  • I have added some legal basis
  • I have included the validation information published in the OJEPO for Morocco & Moldova which has not yet been added to the on-line version of the tables.
As this is the first time I have made this, please let me know if something is missing, or if it could be improved.

Good luck at the EQE,
Pete Pollard

My FREE printable PCT Applicants Guide for EQE2018

Every year, the WIPO produces an official printable version of the complete Applicants Guide, including all annexes, specifically for the Pre- and Main Exams. The current version can be found here.

However, it is 1950 pages and much of it will never be required at the exam.

I have produced this abbreviated & improved version to lighten the load and to save a few trees. Using the EQE Regulations, past D papers and comments from the D Examination Committee, I have limited it to adequately cover what you should actually need. In addition, I have added several useful overviews from the WIPO & EPO websites which can speed up answering questions during the exam.

My book is 850 pages and free of charge - it can be downloaded in three parts from my patent firm's website. Feel free to pass on the links to anyone who needs them. To save paper when printing, it should be printed with 2 pages on each side of an A4.

Changes compared to last year’s version:
  • Following Decision of the EQE Supervisory Board (29 Sep 17), cut-off date for legal changes is 31 Oct instead of 31 Dec 
  • Limited I–11. Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) Pilots to only EPO, JP & US 
  • Added I–11. OJ 2016, A106 explaining PPH procedure with CN, EPO, JP, KR & US 
  • Added note that I-12. PCT Fees contains overview of competent ISA’s for each RO 
  • Added II-1. Overview of competent ISA’s for all RO’s (from PCT Fee table) 
  • Added notes in II-7 that 22m (not 19m) time limit to request SIS (from 1 July 2017) 
Good luck at the EQE,
Pete Pollard

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The official answers to the EQE 2017 papers are now available

The Examination Committe's have published their Examiners' reports containing a good "possible solution", some alternatives and comments on how the papers was actually answered by candidates.
A: ReportB: ReportC: ReportD: Report
If you unfortunately didn't pass, you should be able to get some idea what you missed using your marking sheet (which is sent by post) and these Examiner' Reports.
Note that these are not model solutions and there may be other comments/arguments that got points.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Congratulations to all those who passed one or more EQE papers

The EPO has published the results for the EQE Main Exam 2017 here. Congratulations to all those who passed at least something - none of the papers are easy, especially when you take into account the stress.

The missing scores at 43, 44, 49, 50 are due to the extra check that is done - if you are just failing, everything you wrote is screened to see if you are "fit-to-practice". If so, extra points are awarded

Paper D
In particular, well-done to those who passed D - it was a difficult paper to get through to the end. The final passing rate is about the same as last year.

Paper C
Well-done passing C - the amount of documents and text you have to deal with always makes this sometime unpredictable.

Paper B
Together with A, this was the first year with the universal technologies. It looks like a success.

Paper A
This was expected to be quite difficult for some technical backgrounds. Of all the distributions, this is the most spread out. On A, the maximum number of points you can score is limited if you begin with a inferior solution - that may explain it to some extent.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Take an A4 envelope for your telephone & tablet

Remember that having electronic apparatus (phone, laptop, tablet, digital watch) in the examination room (even if turned off) is not allowed. You should preferably leave them in your hotel or at home. It is also possible to hand them in, but you need to take an A4 envelope YOURSELF with your name and date of birth noted on it. See below for more detail.

Good luck to all!

Reminder sent to candidates this week:

Sunday, February 5, 2017

FREE printable PCT Applicants Guide for EQE2017 in FRENCH

Gregory Baque, is well-known to French candidates as the author of CBE-PCT legal book for the EQE. Gregory gives a number of EQE course each year for DeltaPatents in French. He also has his own patent law firm -

Every year he makes a printable National Law in French. The latest version (updated to the situation on 31 Dec 2016) is available here.

At the same location, you will also find a printable National Law table.