Monday, February 11, 2019

Possible questions on "recent" legal changes - EQE 2019

The law being tested at EQE 2019 is theoretically the status on 31 Oct 2018 in the year before the exam. Unless specified otherwise, "today" on the exam is the actual day of the exam (25th - 28th Feb 2019), so the law of 31 Oct 2018 should be applied to these situations. In particular, fee amounts valid on this date should be used when specifically required to answer a question.

Make sure your legal references are up-to-date and you are aware of recent changes. See here for my overview of recent releant EPC changes and an overview of recent relevant PCT changes. I have also included my comments about whether a question is likely or not - I have no insider knowledge, it is based on experience with previous exams.

Changes in 2016 are also included as there is usually one DI question (or an aspect of DII), and at least one Pre-exam Legal Question, directed to a "new" subject or a "recent" legal change. As each exam takes up to 2 years to make, these may not seem new or recent to you. For example, in DI 2018, G3/14 was asked for the first time.  The decision by the Enlarged Board in that case was taken on 25 Mar 15, and it was published in the OJ EPO in November 2015.

They also added the EPO PCT Guidelines to the official list of EQE texts  about 2 years ago, so some topics fom here could also be expected. Most of the contents are found in other references, like the Euro-PCT Guide, the standard EPO Guidelines or in OJ EPO notices. Two subjects that are explained here in more detail include:
-- PPH (Patent Prosecution Highway) - E-III, 1 - 3 (See here for a copy of the chapter & a relevant OJ EPO)
-- PCT-Direct - A-IV, 1 and B-IV, 1.2 (See here for a copy of the chapters & a relevant OJ EPO)

So, familiarise yourself with the changes from 2016 and early 2017 as well.

Good luck!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Suggested books & things to take to Main & Pre-Exam - EQE 2019

Note: updated 11 Feb 2019 2110 with new (complete)overviews of EPC & PCT changes

- Check the exam times and plan to arrive early
- Since EQE 2017, an additional 30 minutes has been given for papers A, B, C and D (REE OJ 2019 SE2 - page 41) to help candidates who do not have English, French or German as their mother language. The papers are designed to be made in the official REE duration (e.g. 5 hours for C and D) but an extra 30 minutes is given to make it at the exam (e.g. 5.5 hours for C and D).
- Read through the rules regarding the conduct of the exam (REE OJ 2017 SE2 - page 36-40). See the warning here about possible problems.
- See here what candidates from last year said about the location where you are taking the exam
- Be well rested in the days before the exam - many D candidates sleep badly on Monday night
- Take a suitcase with wheels, and limit the books to ones you have used in the last 6 months of your preparation
- If you need a little help on DII, this presentation provides a basic methodology and some explanation of what they are looking for
- For the D paper, the marks available for DII (used to be 60 marks) may be reduced from EQE 2020 onwards (epi information 4/18 - pages 25). For EQE 2019, it will be unchanged (60 marks), but they are becoming more critical when awarding full marks for the legal citation (legal basis) in DI.
- After doing the papers of 2018, look at the Tutors' Report to help with interpreting the EQE Compendium (epi information 4/18 - pages 26-33)
- For the A & B papers, don't forget to do the Mock A (Examiners' Report) and Mock B (Examiners' Report) for additional practice. There is also a video explaining the philosophy behind the combined technology papers which were given for the first time at EQE 2017.
- If necessary, look here for some tips for reducing anxiety at the exam
- Be prepared to do the exams with a relatively small (possible as small as 60cm x 90cm) space. Normally, you can place books you don't need under the table.
- Look through the EQE Study Guide for other tips

Instructions to Candidates - EQE 2019

The EPO just published the up-to-date version of the Instructions to Candidates, including the restrictions on scissors, and the fact that the announcement before the end of time for the Pre-Exam will be 10 minutes so that you have time to fill out the answer sheet. For the Main Exam papers, it is 5 minutes, so you have time to put the answer pages in order and number them.

  • Don't be tempted to keep writing when they announce the end of the exam. If they come to collect your paper and you are still writing, they will not collect it. Even numbering of pages is not acceptable.
  • Make a note of the number of pages you hand-in for each Main Exam. They will send you a copy of your answers (unmarked) within a couple of weeks - check then that all the pages you handed in have been copied and are complete.
  • If you have use cut and paste for part of your answer, make sure the pieces are well stuck, and there is not excess glue which will cause pages of your answer to get stuck together. When you receive a copy of your answers,check that everything has been scanned properly.
  • Take an A4 envelope with you to hand-in your phone - see this earlier post.
Good luck!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The thin paper is available again

Good news - for new orders of my Study Materials, the following will be printed on thin (50g) paper:

My printable National Law Book for EQE2019

For the D paper, 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.

Unfortunately, the printed version of the National Law book is no longer available from the EPO. The latest version from Oct 2018 (360 pages) is here and can be printed on A4 paper yourself. But, not everyone likes the horizontal tables, and the small font makes it difficult to read if printed on A5 paper.

I have produced an up-to-date printable version - downloadable from my patent firm's website - using the latest information from the EPO website which has a bigger font. Tables I and VIII are irrelevant for the EQE, so leaving them out saves 150 pages. I have added an index, page numbers and included the validation information published in the OJEPO for Morocco, Moldova, Tunisia and Cambodia.
New this year: headers on each page indicating the table shown, better formatting, additional banners to show the different sections of the tables, and a useful overview of states showing dates of accession to Paris, EPC, PCT, PCT national entry time limits, whether PCT national routes are closed and whether validation is automatic after grant. The EPO has also added a new table VI. B renewal fees after successful petition for review.

My book is 430 pages - to save paper when printing, it should be printed with 2 pages on each side of an A4.

For those who cannot easily print out several hundred pages, you can also order a copy on double-sided A5 paper.
Update (17/1/19): the thin paper is availabe for new orders. See the links on my patent firm's website.

Most of the contents are sourced from EPO websites and Official Journal, and no copyright is claimed for these parts.

Good luck at the EQE,
Pete Pollard

Saturday, December 22, 2018

I will be a "guinea-pig" again for the epi in Munich (EQE 2019)

I am happy to have been picked again to "guinea-pig" the EQE papers on behalf of the epi. I will be doing all the papers again - A, B, C and D. Although we are called "bench markers", we do not calibrate the exam or set a base level. The Examination Committees and markers rely on our papers for initial discussions about aspects that should get (or not get) marks and the weighting for the aspects. This helps fine-tune their internal instructions before they start the actual marking. They have about 6 people making each paper at different locations and with different backgrounds under exam conditions - these volunteers have already passed the EQE, and ideally they want us to score around 50 points.

To anyone who has passed the EQE (or passes it next year), please consider volunteering next year when the epi sends the email in October. It is very much appreciated by the Examination Board and Committees. You are not paid for the hours, but travelling expenses are refunded by the EPO via the epi. It is also possible to sign up for one paper only, but the chance of being picked is higher if you sign up for more than one. For EQE tutors, it is invaluable to sit papers you see for the first time like this.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Suggested papers for AB practice

As there are not many combined technology papers, it is recommended to do some of the older papers to practice. In particular, it is good to practice exra old papers in the least familiar technology. The selected papers below tend to be more "C-like", avoiding chemical formula in the claims and also avoiding the very mechanical inventions. The papers and Examiners' Reports are found in the Compendium.

Combined papers

A - 4 hrs given to make a 3½ hr paper
B - 3½ hrs given to make a 3 hr paper

After introduction of Pre-Exam
A - 3½ hrs to make a 3½ hr paper
B - 3 hrs to make a 3 hr paper
  • A CH 2015 
  • A EM 2014, 2013
  • B CH 2015
  • B EM 2016, 2015, 2013
Before introduction of Pre-Exam
A - 3½ hrs to make a 3½ hr paper
B - 4 hrs to make a 4 hr paper
  • A CH 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2004 
  • A EM 2000
  • B CH 2012, 2010, 2009, 2003
  • B EM 2012, 2010, 2007