Saturday, July 27, 2019

Review: using EPC.App for Paper D - EQE 2019

I was immediately enthusiastic about EPC.App as it supports different uses by different types of candidate. To answer legal questions efficiently, you need to be able to find details (like procedural acts, time limits & references) quickly and accurately. Traditionally, either you make your own reference book or you learn to use (& annotate) a book written by someone else.
EPC.App supports both approaches and everything in-between: a digital, cross-referenced version of the EPC is provided with extensive standard notes, mark-up and comments from the editors. The standard notes were used by them to pass their EQE's, and also include links to Articles & Rules, OJEPO's, case law & guidelines.
The main structure is based on the Articles, followed by the relevant Rules. As you study on-line, hyperlinks allow you to open the resources, to make summaries and to add your own annotations. Standard notes can be hidden, so you can create a reference only covering the issues that you have difficulty with. If you need more explanation, you can make it and add it yourself. And you can put annotations next to the Article and/or Rule that you think is most logical. Just before the exam, you export it as a pdf and print it. As it becomes your reference, you can find the details a lot quicker at the exam.
To try out the book, I used only the standard EPC editors' notes for the benchmarking of Paper D in 2019. See below for more details of the version I used, what I quickly found and what I did not find. PCT was not included in 2019 editions, but I am working with the editors to make PCT.App, which will be available for EQE 2020.
  • I did not add any comments - I wanted to test the basic version with only the standard editors' notes and annotations. I did adapt the standard mark-up, choosing different text colors, background colors and underlining.

  • With EPC.App, I generated a pdf of 488 pages with the settings: 10 point, no blank pages + continuous numbering, part/chapter overviews. All the fonts were automatically embedded, including Roboto & LMMath. This could be printed or brought to a print-shop.
  • Option: Using Pumbo (www.pumbo.nl), I uploaded the pdf. There are many Print-On-Demand publishers who allow a single copy to be ordered. On 115 gr machine coated (silk) A4 paper, color print with a mat laminate paperback cover, it costs EUR 55.
  • Option: I prefer A5 size books to carry around, so I flattened the comments, and saved as PDF/A-2B. The DTP program I used complained about the Roboto Light font which I replaced by Roboto. I added the trim and bleed boxes, and shrank to A5. That cost EUR 35 to have a single copy printed. It was 145mm x 210 mm, 25mm thick and weighed 890g.
  • I tabbed only the EPC Articles and Rules that are most frequently required to be cited on Paper D (these are found in the Examiner's Reports of the last 10-15 years): 
A.14, A.54(2), A.54(3), A.65, A.76, R.36, A.87(1), A.87(4), A.99(1), A.100, A.108, A.114(1), A.114(2), A.121, R.135, A.122, R.136, A.123(2), A.133, A.141, A.153(7), R.3, R.6, R.40, R.45, R.51(1), R.70(1), R.76(2), R.84(2), R.114, R.116, R.126(2), R.131(4), R.134(1), R.137(5), R.139, R.151, R.157(2), R.159(1), R.160, R.164, Rfees 2(1).xx
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I sat Paper D with this EPC.App book, my Indexed EPO Guidelines, my PCT References, my National Law, and other PCT legal references.

In EPC.App, I quickly looked up and found:
DI
-- R.71(3), R.14, R.15
-- A.76, R.36, J20/05, G1/09
-- R.40
-- R.53(3), OJ 2013,50
-- RFees A.7
DII
-- G1/15 - A.87 - to see if it is applicable
-- A.55(a) - basic rules to see if it is available
-- A.54(3) effect relating to translation

I could not find
- A note under R.40 that missing claims must be provided under R.57(c), possibly also mentioning the A.123(2) limitation
- Exact details about shortfalls when using deposit accounts (from the ADA & AAD)
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My conclusions:
- Being able to tailor the reference to your own wishes makes this almost perfect for the EQE
- Using hyperlinks allows a very quick way of accessing the information and summarizing it
- It is relatively compact, allowing you to scan through the whole Article/Rule and get a good overview. The level of the standard comments cover the EQE level efficiently, and does not include a lot of conflicting case law.
- Just using the standard notes and annotations supplied, I could already find almost all the legal issues for this Paper D. This version is available (A4-size) from Amazon - it is 210mm x 297mm, 18mm thick weighing 1200g. 
- I am sure that any candidate using the on-line environment would have added the missing issues during their preparation
- It takes a while to get used to working in the on-line environment, but you have a high degree of freedom. But don't waste your precious study time on making it too nice.
- Color is a major advantage, especially to pick out fees and time limits on the page. 
- Printing 500 pages shortly before the exam might be a problem for some people, especially in color. If you have access to a double-sided A4 color printer, you can just print it and put it into a binder. If not, many print-shops can do it for you. 
- I have some experience with Print-On-Demand, so I know how to prepare the pdf for them and I know how to fix the issues that frequently occur. Don't waste your precious study time on making it nice.    

Possible improvements:
- Even though you can choose between 9 and 10 points for font, some of the comments are still small (8 points), even for A4 paper. A minimum font size would be useful to improve readability 
- Annotations are text-based. The possibility to add flowcharts and diagrams would be useful to illustrate options in procedures.
- EPC only - no PCT yet. But I am working with the editors to make PCT.App, which will be available for EQE 2020.

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