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  • Do the DI questions of 2013 one-by-one (don't do Q.2 - law is obsolete) and really study them: what is being asked, how is it being asked, what should be in your answer.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)

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.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Pre-Exam 2018 - congratulations to those with ambiguous answers

Several candidates who appealed their Pre-Exam 2018 failing grade of less than 70 have been successful. After taking the arguments provided in appeal into account, three more answers in the Pre-Exam Examiners' Report have been amended. See here for a track changes version (at the top of my Study Materials page).

Legal Questions:
4.4 True or False
5.3 True or False

Claims Analysis:
13.1 True or False

This is in addition to 12.2 and 12.4 which were already considered ambiguous at the time of marking.

Congratulations to those who have now passed - you have the weekend to celebrate. But not too long 😉- you need to enrol for the Main Exam between 9 July and 3 September for the Main Exam. And to make a study plan 😱.
A big thanks also to the Examination Board for objectively considering the arguments from those appealing.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Looking forward to tutoring Papers A & B in Maastricht for EQE 2019

I am proud to be joining the team in Maastricht to help with their EQE Paper A B C D  and Pre-Exam Training Courses.

The team are: Cees Mulder, Nyske Blokhuis, Natasja Duhayon and Isabelle Surdej.

I am part of the AB team - together with Natasja and Isabelle, we are preparing an exam methodology and step-by-step training program to deal with the challenges of the current papers. The benchmarking I did in February under EQE conditions was ideal to draft and test a step-by-step approach, and to think about how to deal with the chemical and electro-mechanical styles & practices. I may also be helping with the C course and the Pre-Exam Claims Analysis.
The AB training consists of 3-days in Maastricht (19-21 November 2018), followed by online assignments and contact with the tutors through the university's electronic learning environment. The groups are not large, so if you are interested, make sure you sign up quickly using the form here. Maastricht is also a wonderful place to visit for a couple of days with historic buildings, friendly people, good food/beer and a lively nightlife :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

EQE 2018 Paper C

Today I did paper C. If you want to look, here are official copies of the paper.

It felt very long, and it turns out it was 7 pages longer than 2017.

Most of the people I talked to had issues getting through everything, and the inventive step seemed very complicated to sort out. Almost every document had comments related to other documents, and some negative statements which were possibly meant to be teachings away.

There were some relatively straightforward novelty attacks (which you could do when you found them), but for the inventive step attacks you would usually read through everything first to see what the strongest was. By that time, there was not much time left to write out the attacks, and it was not so easy to pick the closest prior art. The comments I heard from others was that it was "overwhelming" and "endless reading".

In a few weeks you will get a copy of your answers. If you cut up the exam paper (with your childsafe scissors ,-),  and glued or taped it into your answer, check carefully to see if any piece is missing. Or whether there are pages missing. It can happen that pages get stuck together, and then are missed during scanning. Or pieces fall off. If you notice anything, notify the EQE secretariat.