Wednesday, November 7, 2018

New innovations to learn patent law

Two websites offering something new to help students - online tools that you can access anywhere at any time, so you can study when it is most convenient:

1. EPC.App
A very smart way to allow you to annotate the EPC. You can use the existing annotations and comments from the authors, adapt them as you wish and add your own. So, you can add extra comments about things you have difficulty with, or short answer templates for things asked frequently on the exam. You access your version on-line from any device, and when you are getting close to the exam, you make a pdf and print it. The law is updated twice a year, so you can keep using it after the exam as well. It also solves the problem you have updating your legal book when studying over two years (Pre-Exam then Main Exam). The standard price is comparable (in some cases cheaper) than buying a legal book each year, but they do have a Student Edition which is free for EQE candidates until 31-03-2019. It is available in English and German.

2. Practice for the EQE
Test yourself with questions about EPC & PCT. The best way to learn the law is to learn it in pieces, and to work on it frequently. This an easy-to-use platform that allows you to test your legal knowledge and keep track of your progress. The questions are asked in different ways, so you can try different styles. It is accessible on-line on any device. The instant feedback and oveviews of what you got wrong means you can concentrate on those areas the next time you go through it. They are still adding content, but there is currently no charge to use what they have. 

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Report from the EQE Tutors Meeting - Oct 2018

In October, the EPO & epi arrange an annual meeting of EQE Tutors and members of the EQE Committees (EC's). Information & views are exchanged to help Tutors prepare Candidates for future exams, and to influence how future exams are made and marked. It is a good opportunity to learn about how each paper is made and tested, and to meet the EC's. In particular, anything highly relevant for the next exam (in this case EQE 2019) is communicated.
A full report usually appears in the December version of epi information (I don't make this anymore), but here are my most important conclusions:

1. ABCD: extra 30 minutes

  • There were concerns that some papers (this year B and C) seemed to be longer than average, eating up the extra 30 minutes given to make the paper. The EC's assured us that the papers are made and tested based on the time limits defined in the Exam Regulations (REE). The extra 30 minutes remains extra time for candidates to make the paper, and compensates for slower reading and writing by those who do not do the paper in their native language. 
  • My advice is to build & practice a methodology for doing the papers without the extra 30 minutes. You can then decide at the exam how to use this.

2. D: lower passing rate in 2018

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Using DII to become Fit to Practice

Every year, the EPO hosts a Tutor's Meeting where EQE tutors discuss the last exams with the Examination Committee's who made them.
This year, on 18 Oct 2018, I will talk about why the DII part (Legal Opinion) of the D paper should be embraced by trainees, tutors & mentors to make trainees a better patent attorney. And trainees should embrace DII to make passing the D Paper easier. Click here to download the presentation from my firm's website - it also includes a basic methodology to start with, instructions on how to adapt and customize it, and shows the real-life skills you should practice to arrive at your own efficient (and high scoring) way of doing DII. Some possible analysis tools and matrices are also described.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A good book for Opposition & Appeals for EQE (and real-life)

This year's D paper had a lot of questions about Opposition and Appeal. The information in most legal books is difficult to read as there are not many dedicated legal provisions to group everything under. Also Appeals are not covered in the EPO Guidelines (except for Interlocutory Revision - Art. 109 EPC).
A good book for study and real-life is Proceedings Before the EPO: A Practical Guide to Success in Opposition and Appeal by Marcus Müller & Cees Mulder.
It not only explains the legal part, but it also explains how the procedures work and has a lot of practical tips. The version is from 2015, but most of it is still current.
For the Appeal part, also print out the Rules of Procedure Boards of Appeal (RPBA) as these are referenced quite frequently.

Note that the RPBA Rules are likely to be updated in the near future - see proposal here.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Advice on preparing for EQE 2019 Paper D in about 160 hours

I often get asked about how best to prepare for Paper D. Ideally, you should start no later than September. Here is the minimum you should do before the exam.

The main differences with Pre-Exam:
  • 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)
  • You have to deal with DII (a very large, open question advising the client worth 60 marks)

1) Study DI methodology - 8 hours
Learn how to efficiently answer = to get the most marks in time available.
  • Ask someone else or get a book (see below). 
  • Do the DI questions of 2013 one-by-one (don't do Q.2 - law is obsolete) and really study them: what is being asked, how is it being asked, what should be in your answer. 
  • Look in the Examiners Report for the minimum required (statements + legal basis) for full marks. 
  • You get marks for giving an answer, and explaining how you got to the answer using the facts you have been given in the question. 
  • Figure out if you missed a major issue or a minor issue - concentrate on learning lessons about major issues. 
  • Study Candidates Solution for tips on writing your answer - the phrasing used, the detail level and organisation. Note that these are candidates getting almost full marks on each answer - you do not need to be at this level on all answers to pass. But you need to be able to get close to full marks on the legal subjects you know well. 
  • You don't need to write full sentences - bulleted short statements are acceptable. 
  • Note that the compendium is never updated, so some legal provisions may be out of date, and the fees will also be incorrect in many cases. 

2) Learn core of legal subjects (EPC and PCT) - 60 hours
Learn how the law fits around them, learn how to find things quickly in your legal book.
  • Knowledge is tested by answering questions
  • Do the 150 selected questions from the DeltaPatents D Book (see page 9 of the Questions part).
  • Do most of them fully, but to save some time do some of them quickly by concentrating on the most relevant part of the answer. 
  • For the modules with 1 or 2 questions, you can do them all. For the ones with 5 or more, just do every other one - you can go back and do the missed ones in a second run through.
  • Copy some of the answers as templates into your legal books.
  • Do additional questions in important area where you may be weak (like PCT)
(** 16 Oct 18: see below for updated comments about doing DII **)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

EQE2018 Examiner Reports with expected solutions

For those who want to practice the papers, or to analyse their own performance, the EQE 2018 compendium is now almost complete:

Examiners Reports show the expected solutions and some of the alternatives that were accepted:

For anyone who unfortunately failed, a marking sheet will be provided with the official results letter, showing the number of marks per question awarded by each marker. 

Candidate's Solutions are usually added after the summer (one in each language). These are usually someone who scored about 80 points. In most cases, they are made by a native speaker who wrote a lot, so don't consider these to be typical. But they can be a good source of terminology and phrasing.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Congratulations to those who passed EQE 2018

The results for the EQE Main Exam 2018 are here. Congratulations if you passed at least something - none of the papers are easy, especially when you take into account the stress. There were many comments in the Candidate's survey this year that the extra 30 minutes seems to have been cancelled out by the increased length, particularly for C and D. C and D tend to require a lot of writing, so if more time is needed to read the papers, there is less time is available to score points.

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

Paper D
Well-done to those who passed D. The final passing rate is about 7% less than last year. The DI was a lot to get through. DII was a different style compared to recent years, but it was also shorter than in 2017. My advice for D is to skip one of the DI questions (the one you know will take a long time to look up and answer). Do the DII as fully as possible and the rest of the DI questions.

Paper C
C was 7 pages longer than in 2017 - I felt like it took forever to read everything. The passing rate is slightly (3%) lower than last year, so it does not seem to have been a problem. Unfortunately, with C, you have to go through every thing - even documents that are not to suitable for the major part of an attack may contain definitions or something else useful. On C, when you have enough for an attack, write it down - don't wait for the complete picture before starting.

Paper B
This was the second year with the universal technologies. The relatively high passing rate from 2017 (80%) has been maintained. It seems that more Candidates scored 60 - 80 points compared to 2017. The advantage of the B paper (compared to A) is that you are given the starting point (the claims and part of the description as filed), and you are pointed towards the solution by the objections of the examiner and the letter from the client.

Paper A
The A paper also has the same passing rate as last year (62%). To optimally prepare for A, you need to be familiar with both chemistry and electromechanical claiming practice, as well as know how to draft a method and product/apparatus claim.

See here for an easy-to-use site dedicated to the EQE statistics made by Joeri Beetz, allowing you to do your own analysis.