Thursday, December 19, 2019

Suggested books & things to take to Main & Pre-Exam - EQE 2020

- 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 2019 SE2 - page 36-40). See the warning here about possible problems.
- See here what candidates said last year 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
- For the A & B papers, if you need more practice, 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.
- From EQE 2020 onwards, no opposition form will be supplied with Paper C, and no form should be handed in with your answer. Elements which used to be explicitly required in the form to ensure admissibility (complying with A.99, A.100 and R.76 EPC) should be included in your answer on a sheet of EQE paper.
- For the D paper, the marks available for DII (used to be 60 marks) will be reduced from EQE 2020 onwards (epi information 4/18 - pages 25). It may be different each year - check before you start by looking on the front page of the exam. Expect either 50:50 or even 60 DI:40 DII.
- They are now more critical when awarding full marks for the legal citation (legal basis) in DI. See here for some rules of thumb for optimising marks for legal basis.
- If you need a little help on DII, this presentation provides a basic methodology and some explanation of what they are looking for
- After doing the papers of 2019, look at the Tutors' Report to help with interpreting the EQE Compendium (epi information 4/19 - pages 40-52)
- 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

Updated: 23 Feb 2020 with link to EPC & PCT changes

- Photo identification (passport or drivers license)
- several black or blue pens (gel-pens are preferred for quick writing, but they can run out quickly). Make sure the pens are not too thin or bring ones with different diameters - as your hand gets tired, it gets more difficult to hold a thin pen.
- no electronic devices: only a wrist watch with an analogue display (and without any additional options) is allowed on your desk during the exam.
- make arrangements to leave your phone & laptops at home or in your hotel or in a train station locker. Or take an A4 envelope with you. See the warning here about possible problems.
- correction roller
- highlighters for use when reading the exam paper (don't use blue highlighters on anything that will be handed in as it will not scan/copy well)

- Pre-Exam only: 1-2 black medium soft HB pencils + suitable eraser + pencil sharpener

- Main Exam: the papers you hand-in as part of your answer may only include official EQE answer paper (A4 lined - provided at Exam - as much as you need) and pages from the Exam Paper itself (for example, the claims set for B with hand-written amendments). Only write on the front of each sheets. Only hand-in materials written at the exam - so, no pre-prepared materials such as tables and matrices. A mock-up of the official EQE paper is available here.
- It is allowed to cut-out pieces of the Exam Paper and paste them onto official EQE answer paper. This is usually used for A/B papers - you need scissors and a glue stick or permanent glue roller (not too noisy). The scissors must be rounded at the ends, with a blade of 6cm or less (measured from the fulcrum).
- Make sure the pieces are secure, and there is no excess glue. After the exam, you will get a electronic copy of your scanned paper - check that nothing has fallen off, and that no pages were stuck together when it was scanned.

- Bulldog clips or large paper clips to hold keep parts of the exam or your answer together (stapler can be noisy, but at the start of the paper a lot of people do it anyway)
- Food, snacks, drinks: there is no official break during each paper
- Paracetemol [acetaminophen]: to relieve pains or swollen fingers after writing for several hours.
- a good luck charm :-)

Legal references: versions valid on 31 Oct 2019 (in most cases)
- your favourite EPC reference book, with tabs and own notes. EPC.App is a good book to use at the exam if you are well-prepared candidate and knows the EPC very well. I am not involved in editing this book.
- Paris Convention (Articles 1 - 5quater and Article 11)
- Headnotes to relevant G decisions (if not in your EPC reference book). A very good overview, as well as decision summaries is on Wikipedia (decisions of the Enlarged Board)
(Note that the D committee does not ask questions on pending referrals to the Enlarged Board. They also do not require answers considering decisions taken in the period of 6-9 months before the exam)
- Some basic information on the US and JP patent systems, such as additional/alternative possibilities (don't need to know exact details):
US: general - Wikipedia: US Patent Law
For example: 12m grace period, "opposition" after grant, claiming priority of a continuation-in-part
JP: general - Wikipedia: Japanese Patent Law
For example: 6m grace period, opposition after grant

- Check that that your materials are up-to-date, and take any important notices from the EPO Official Journal and the PCT Newsletter in 2018 & 2019 not covered in sufficient detail in your reference book. See here for my overviews of recent EPC & PCT changes, as well as some comments about whether a question is likely or not.

- National law relating to the EPC - either update and print the Oct 2018 version yourselves, or buy my A5 Oct 2019 National Law and Validation book (which also includes OJEPO info about the validation states).

- Fees (EPC & PCT Fees relevant for EPO on 31 Oct 2019: OJ 2019, SE3
- An overview of decsions and notices related to payments, valid on 31 Oct 2019
- ADA = arrangements for deposit accounts - OJ EPO 2019, SE4. Questions on DI usually require you to figure out whether a right is lost (and the remedy) if payment from a debit account is attempted when there are too little funds. Other important things are fees that may be paid using automatic debiting and the last moment that each fee is paid automatically.

- Guidelines for Examination in the EPO (EPO Guidelines): see here for some help in deciding which version to use. I also make a version with an improved index, indications of sections amended in the last 3 years and page numbers which can be ordered as an A5 book in English or German.

- EPC Request for Grant form and notes - you should understand the legal consequences of each box or section.

- your favourite PCT reference book, with tabs and own notes. PCT.App is the only fully annotated PCT Treaty (Articles and Rules) available (I am the main author). As the organization is per subject, you need to practice finding the information in it before the exam. The subject organization closely matches those in the PCT Applicant's Guide.
- my PCT References for EQE 2020, comprising only the relevant parts (approx 960 pages) of the Applicants Guide. It includes the Introduction to International Phase (AG-IP) - July 2019, Introduction to National Phase (AG-NP) - July 2019, PCT Request form, the EPO entry Form 1200, notes, PPH overview, PCT-Direct procedure, PCT fees valid on 31 Oct 2019 and Annexes for relevant PCT States only. Downloadable for printing yourself or they can be ordered as 2x A5 books).
Note that the AG-IP and AG-NP are not considered as proper legal basis - see my comments here.

- Guide for Applicants - Euro-PCT Guide - Jan 2019. Either printing it yourself, or order as part of my EPO as a PCT Authority book). My version has an improved index, indications of sections amended in the last 3 years and page numbers.
Note that the EPG is not considered as proper legal basis - see my comments here.

- EPO PCT Guidelines (GL/PCT-EPO) - see here for some help in deciding which version to use. I also make a version with an improved index, indications of sections amended in the last 3 years and page numbers - it can be ordered as part of my EPO as a PCT Authority book)
The Examination Committee considers this book as proper legal basis - see my comments here.

Other books: (you decide based upon your experience answering exam questions during your preparation. If you haven't needed them yet, you probably will not need them in March)
- English/German/French <=> own language dictionary
- EPC Case Law Book - July 2019 (but all the case law you need to answer the DI and Pre-Exam legal questions are found in the EPO Guidelines as "Established Case Law")
- Ancillary Regulations - OJ 2016, SE4 (very out of date - many of the OJ EPO's have been superceded, and many important ones are not included. Good legal reference books will have a summary of the important points of relevant notices.

Do not take:
- Do not make your own calendars with EPO holidays. The actual calendars they used to make the papers (and the versions that will be included with the exam papers) are made available by the Examination Committee a few weeks before the exam - Pre-Exam Calendars and Paper D Calendars.
- Legal reference books that you have never used before (you need to have practiced finding things in them)
- Anything to do with the Unitary Patent or Unified Patent Court - it is not yet in force

Good luck!


  1. Hi, this is probably a very late comment but I am sitting EQE 2020 in a month's time. I just wanted to know if we are allowed to cut and paste parts of the Exam paper into our answer sheets to save time for paper A (drafting) and paper B (example, the original claim set). I would be grateful for your thoughts on this...there doesn't seem to be a clear comment by the examination board in this regard and my colleagues seem to be unsure as well..

    1. Yes, you can still cut & paste. But you are only allowed to bring short children's scissors. And make sure the pieces are stuck well. But only do it if it really saves you time.

    2. For complete unamended paragraphs you wish to add to your answer, you can just specify the paragraph's from the exam paper (if it is clear) to be inserted.

  2. Hi Pete. This is very useful - thank you. Do you have a copy of the latest EPC/PCT changes relevant for the 2020 EQE? Thanks in advance.