Saturday, March 7, 2020

EQE-disaster recovery plan

What a nightmare - as far as I know, the EQE has never been cancelled. For those who were ready to take the exam, it feels like the end of the world.
I saw a lot of negative comments about the EPO, but you shouldn't blame the messenger. The Boards are comprised equally of EPO and epi members, and they were working tirelessly until the last moment to find some way to let it go ahead.
Take some time off now: relax in the weekends, do other things, and try to think of positive things you can do. You can certainly take off the days that you were supposed be doing exams, and do some of the things that you postponed due to your intense study schedule.
Prepare your 4-6 week intensive schedule: if it is rescheduled, they should give you 4-6 weeks notice (a reasonable time to book flights/hotels). If you were ready for the exam in 2 weeks time, you can be ready again.
Decide on your low-level schedule: For some people, it may be a good idea to continue studying at some level:

  • Organise your legal materials a little better (a lot of the current legal reference books started life as someone's well-organised EQE notes). 
  • Use your legal knowledge more in your daily work (see if a colleague needs help with an office action or opposition, give a presentation to your office, check whether your office procedures meet "all due care", teach subjects to trainees, write a legal article). 
  • Regularly do papers, and legal questions, even ones you have already done
  • Regularly do A and DII - theses are the two papers that are the closest to real life, and directly benefit your practical skills. For exam preparation, you can never do enough of these papers. And for A, try some of the other technology papers as well.
  • See the great initiative here on LinkedIn for refresher workshops

Think about other improvements: ... and don't forget your physical/mental well-being

  • for example, read this LinkedIn post about meditation & exercise
  • discuss any issues and worries with other candidates, tutors, etc
  • be prepared not to attend any exams (or work) if you are sick or may be contagious

Prepare for three scenarios:
I have no insider information, but I know something about how the exam is organised. There is only one exam for each paper, so they cannot hold the same paper on different days or at different times. But they could try to arrange the papers in different weeks, for example, or at least organise papers with the most preparation for candidates = Pre-Exam & Paper D.
1) Rescheduling for May/June July/August
Earlier than that seems unlikely. A lot of the cancellations and closures are official reactions to increases in cases, but each country has a different philosophy. So the earliest would be about 4-6 weeks after there is a continuous decline in cases (earliest measurable in April). Registration deadlines for EQE 2021 may need to be postponed.
Updated (21/03/20): May/June seems unlikely now. Normally, having exams during the summer would be impossible to arrange, but these are not normal times.
Updated (1/4/20): September seems to be being considered - see separate post
2) Rescheduling for September/October
This seems to be most likely if they are to reschedule. But this may conflict with some national exams, so maybe you have to change the order of preparation. They may have to delay EQE 2021 as well to get everything to fit.
Update (1/4/20): at least Registration deadlines for EQE 2021 will need to be postponed.
3) No Exam in 2020, wait for EQE 2021
I hope not. But even for EQE 2021 to go ahead with some certainty, they will already need to consider a lot of changes and back-up plans. For example: more online sitting of exams, moving the EQE to May each year, having max. 50 people per room, using testing locations outside big cities (plenty of places in central Europe), change system to fewer exams to pass, offer Pre-Exam more frequently, shorter exams
Be prepared for more inconvenience in the future:
All international events, meetings, exams etc will have to have a plan for the future to reduce risk from any virus, not just Corona COVID-19, and have an emergency plan. For example: instructing people not to travel / attend if you are sick, having a policy for visibly sick people = refused access or removed or given a mask or moved to a separate room, temperature measurement, providing masks / soaps / handgels for more cleaning, disinfecting rooms, disinfecting answer papers, no handshaking (like in hospitals) etc.

165 comments:

  1. Thank you Peter - We very much appreciate some advice from experienced heads.
    The problem I have is that I've done all past papers and its difficult to un-see or undo what you've done/practice.
    What can be done for C and B.

    There are only a few papers for A and B and I found the old papers quite different to the new format.

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    1. I know the problem. But redoing papers is also useful - there are always tricks and issues, so you will likely remember them. But the B, C and DII parts have a lot of points for explanation/argumentation. You can work on improving your scoring of those parts (The Examiners' Reports are based on the actual marking sheets - each sentence is approximately 1 point) - a lot of people fail because they see the answer, but they don't provide the argumentation.

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    2. The A paper has not changed so much, but I would tend to avoid the EM papers where you have to claim five embodiments. The current paper is more like the Chemistry papers, where they give measurement results and explicit claim language. The B chemistry papers are also closer to the current ones. The main difference is that now they have to explain the technology - for the old papers, you may have to Google some of the terms to figure out genus/species relationships etc.

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    3. You could try doing the same paper again and see if you get a better mark. If you do - it shows you have learnt from the paper. it will also assure you.

      Equally if you get things wrong - you know you need to work on that.

      So its not bad to practice the papers again once everything has settled again.

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    4. Yes - compare your answers to the Examiners' Reports. They are based on the actual marking sheets - each sentence is approximately 1 point.

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  2. It is difficult to know exactly how much revision to do in the meantime. Things are so uncertain that I don't want to burn myself out when the exams come round again. Having been going intensely for 1 or 2 months, I'm finding it very difficult to slow down.

    I have this fear of forgetting everything I've learnt.

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    1. Don't carrying on studying at the same rate - you need to ramp down otherwise you will certainly burn out. Yes, you will forget some things. But you can pick all those things up again when you have a date to work to.

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    2. Thanks Pete. I'm going to follow your advice and hope that the EPO can somehow find a date that works for us all.

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  3. Some much needed advice, thank you Peter. I'm also stuck in two minds of how much revision is now required. Its very difficult to prepare at the moment. Its hard to motivate and plan properly without knowing a date. I certainly can't continue to waste time spent on revision and putting everything on hold.

    Thanks for offering your thoughts.

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    1. The right frame of mind during study and at the exam is as important as what you know. If you already feel demotivated, it is pointless to do just sit there staring at a book.

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  4. Peter is right. Relax this weekend. After last week, no one will be in the right frame of mind to continue revising. Perhaps start some light revision again in the next few weeks.

    At the moment, it is painful and feels like we've wasted so much time but give it a few weeks and hopefully everyone will be in a more positive mind frame. I truly understand it is very difficult at the moment (me included).

    perhaps someone can post some topics every week especially for Paper D just to keep ticking over.

    Its difficult to motivate yourself but if someone post a topic on priority -- we can all read that topic that week. It will at least make us do some light revision.

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    1. Yes, try to relax.
      And your time has not been complete wasted - the things that fade are details like specific time limits, exact legal basis, argumentation details. But the understanding will remain. That is the way it works after the exam - you know where to find the details (law, Guidelines, etc) when you need them.

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  5. Peter, do you have a view on rescheduling the exam. Waiting for a year is unthinkable but I also can't see how the EPO can find a date that would suit everyone.

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    1. I think Pre-exam and D could be rescheduled, but at the moment the general mood is cancel/close. Once more events go ahead with appropriate safeguards (like the Olympic Games in JP) and governments become more comfortable with this, and cases start to drop, then we have a chance. I think, personally, that they have a chance for Sept/Oct 2020.

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    2. The two most likely times appear to be Sept/Oct or next year.

      If it is going to take place on Sept/Oct - its going to be difficult for pre-EQE candidates to prepare for the main EQEs and its likely that there will be re-sitters which doesn't give time for them to prepare for March 2021.

      We should also bear in mind that candidates have been studying since Summer 2019 and will continually be studying (albeit at different intensity) for 1 to 1.5 years.

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    3. They are likely to be flexible about registration deadlines, cancellations and refunds as these are not fixed in the Rules and Regulations.

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    4. Do you have inside information about Tokyo2020?

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    5. I saw a spokesman from Japan discussing it. At the moment, they say they can't cancel.

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  6. Thanks for some additional input and support from you Peter. Like you said - a nightmare situation.

    It is difficult to bring yourself round to doing months and months of more practice papers - the shortest one is at least 3.5 hours long.

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    1. It is pointless doing papers if you are not motivated - you will just be staring at papers for hours. If there is a paper you like doing (I always enjoy A & DII because there is an element of creativity), then do that. Otherwise do something else.

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  7. Brillant advice Peter. I'm doing all 4 papers (for the first time). I plan to just do some work on one paper a week until I know more. Perhaps 1 paper a week.

    I do agree with the others though in that at the moment, it is very hard to focus. As alot of people said on the Delta Patents Blog, we have sacrificed a lot of time already on preparing for March.

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    1. But that time is not completely wasted - it is invested. You will be able to pick it up quickly again.

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  8. I must say that its going to be so much to learn the materials for Paper D again. But I think you right - leave it for a few weeks and pick it up again. Hopefully my state of mind would be in a better place.

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    1. You will forget a lot of the details, but you should know where to find them. You will be surprised how quickly you pick it up again once the exam date is known.

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  9. Are the books on your website still available Pete?

    I would guess the right thing for the EPO to do is not to change the law cut off date.

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    1. They are all still available. If there is a new exam date, and any changes to the syllabus, I can explain the best way to update your existing materials.

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    2. If the exams are to be moved to next year then it would seem very odd to be learning law 2 years old.

      Equally, some candidates have to pay books from their own money so it would be expensive and extremely unfair for those.

      My gut feeling is that the EPO should keep everything the same. I think this is the fairest way without further punishing candidates financially.

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    3. The 2020 exams were already made with those cut-offs in mind, so that cannot be changed. If held in 2020, you will still need to answer as if Today = 16 Feb 2020 (Pre-exam) and 17 Feb 2020 (Paper D). And they will consider answers based on any legal changes that were published between the cut-off date and the exam - they always do this anyway.

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    4. Don't you think they should change dates in the exam question. They should at least make clear what "today" is in the exam paper.

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    5. I spent years updating questions and old exams - just changing dates can lead to a lot of work ;-)
      Better to provide an extra note or a sticker on the envelope.

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  10. Thanks Pete. There's been a lot discussed on linked in and other blogs. Unbelieveable the amount of genuine grief that candidates are suffering. Agreed that the EPO had no other option. The website www.lawcare.org.uk seems to offer comfort to those suffering at this time.

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  11. I have been involved in the EQE exam preparation a few years ago and I have to say that I find it unlikely that there will be an exam in 2020. You all complain about the work you seem to have invested in vain, and understandably so, but you have not the slightest idea of how much work is involved in the exam organisation. Re-scheduling involves tremendous difficulties.

    My advice would be: prepare mentally to sit in 2021. Allow yourself some days of grief, and then life goes on. Have a pause and restart working in fall (unless there is an announcement that there will be an exam in 2020, of course, but do not expect that). Enjoy your life, it is so short. Do not spend too much time complaining and cultivating your misery. Shit happens, and you cannot expect life to be fair. It simply is not, never has been.

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    1. Its difficult to enjoy your life if you've worked so hard and then to received the cancellation news. I understand that it was not the EPO's fault - completely agree that they had little wiggle room but to cancel the exams.

      The issue is this period of uncertainty we are entering now. Do we continue to revise for a possible exam this year - what if the exams are now re-scheduled in May and many candidates have booked holidays etc...

      On the other hand, you are asking thousands of candidates to take it next year through no fault of their own. Sorry - but its not as simple as moving on. Many of us have invested so much and this also has an impact on our family and friends too.

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    2. So you are telling everyone to revise in full for an exam that will not take place.

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    3. You also do not have the slightest idea how much this affects candidates and their personal/professional lives so do not downplay this very serious situation.

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    4. @Olo - are you sure about this. How do you know there is not going to be an exam this year.

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    5. Half of the committees and boards are from the epi, so they know what cancellation can mean.

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    6. So are we now saying that the exams are not going to be re-scheduled. Candidates don't know what the EPI means by cancellation.

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    7. Very easy to tell people : "s...happens..." and that they do not have " the slightest idea of how much work is involved in the exam organisation". I'm sure rescheduling and setting up for exams can be a logistical nightmare. However I'm pretty sure organising these exams doesn't take the same amount of time and self sacrifice as these people put in day in day out, month after month to prepare for these exams. To those with families, young children or even those who are expecting to have babies in the next few months.....are we really saying "S...happens"? The complaint (as you put it) isn't about the work, and no one is saying there wasn't any point to it- people are justified in their frustration because they do not know where they stand, they are looking to each other for support and advice and maybe some clarity/clarification can be offered so that people can plan their lives accordingly...that's when it will be easier to reset, adjust and move forward. We all know life isn't fair, if it was we wouldn't be in this position.



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    8. Well said.

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    9. You could also contact your national epi representative in their PEC (Professional Education Committee): https://patentepi.org/en/epi-bodies/epi-committees/professional-education-committee-pec/committee-members.html

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    10. @olo @epi: it is a very lousy excuse to mention the amount of work that goes into preparing and organising the EQE and therefore not allowing rescheduling. From a professional and established organisation like the EPO it is expected to be reliable and to be prepared for situations that need rescheduling! Besides all the sacrifices I made the last 8 months, I would be most devastated and disappointed to read that the Supervisory board has not even considered a Plan B in all these years... the EPC implemented several rules on 'force majeure' situations, but for the EQE there is no basis with regards to unforeseen circumstances. Really insane. And finally: the fact that we did not even get a decent explanation or argumentation WHY there is this cancellation really bothers me.... we are trained by the EPO to argue based on support and legal facts.... well, where is the EPO with support, argumentation and basis... I personally think it is quite disrespectfull to the candidates that we had to take on this cancellation with a short empty oneliner. It really makes me question whether I still want to represent this organisation in fact.

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    11. I agree the message was quite short, but that is not the same as disrespectful. They did refer to the EPO announcement on 5 March that no events with more than 50 people were allowed at EPO premises - that meant that The Hague and Berlin could not allow candidates in. And the EPO management/president recalled all employees back from international travels, and prevented them from any business travel except between the EPO buildings in Munich (which prevented them invigilating anywhere in Europe or at the MOC).
      The epi also announced it will not be holding any international meetings at all where people need to travel.
      I am not sure what kind of Plan B they could have had for that - the resources to prepare, organise and mark the exam barely cover what needs to be done. They rely on a lot of goodwill and sacrificed personal time already by the people involved. They have 1 paper for each exam that has to be given at the same time in all locations.
      They also had the real possibility to deal with that they would have to cancel the day before or even on the same day.

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  12. I wonder what the reaction will be from all firms and industry if the EPO cancels this years exam.

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    1. Why would they react? I think they have other concerns. The only people deeply affected by this are the candidates and, to some extent, the people involved in the preparation/organisation of the exam. As far as I can see, there is no shortage of representatives.

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    2. In some countries. there is a shortage of representatives due to retirement, but that does not seem relevant.
      A lot of companies/firms had already told their employees not to travel (they did not consider it essential). It is possible that a lot of candidates were cancelling during the last few weeks due to their own concerns, or requests from their employer.

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    3. This also has a significant impact on firms so I would imagine firms would get involved. As a senior attorney at my firm - we have 8/9 trainees every year. To cancel EQE exams and rearrange it for next in my view is completely unacceptable. Firms spent thousands on their trainees every year for books, training courses, training days off etc...

      There is also the problem that we now have 16-18 trainees all potentially doing exams at the same time next year. That has a huge impact on the business. Financially, we stand to lose out and cannot afford to pay for courses or letting all of them take the exams at the same time. We will probably have to select which candidates to take them. I know our firm has a budget allocated for training every year and for sure we cannot afford to support 18/19 trainees to do the EQEs next year. That means we will have to disappoint or let some trainees go.

      I think your question Olo shows a lack of understanding and more importantly sympathy especially towards candidates and the impact it has on their firms.

      It is true that I do not know how much effort goes into board members organising the exams. It sounds like you also don't know how much time and costs it takes for a firm to get their trainees over the hurdle.

      Its not a short term problem but has significant consequences for all stakeholders. I urge the supervisory board and committee members to seriously study the impact and not think narrowly.

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    4. And while I'm at it, my heart goes out the EQE candidates this year. I completely understand the general reaction that candidates stand to lose the most out of this. At the end of the day, I still get paid and EPO/EPI members still get paid but it would appear that candidates will have lost a year of potential earnings - totally understandable as I was in your shoes once upon a time.

      Its fair to say that the EPO must/should consider some sort of discretion for the affected candidates. What that is I don't know.

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    5. Is it possible for EPO to cancel further registration until the backlog is cleared. Candidates enrolling for 2021 pre-EQE could be deferred to 2022. I can see a backlog and potential logistical headache for 2021 if we have too many candidates. Just a suggestion to deal with this immediate backlog.

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    6. I suggest you send an e-mail to your national PEC member. If the issue is resources and venues, for example, local patent attorneys should be able to organise something, like taking the exam in small groups at the same time. I would happily supervise.

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  13. Also be aware that your own national exams could be similarly cancelled - this is a year of many unfortunate "firsts"

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  14. Peter - do you know if the EPO ever prepares for a situation like this before. I remember some years ago there were flights grounded because of volcano ashes and this had severe impact on travel.

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    1. No idea - I don't think there has ever been anything like this.

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  15. Here is a straight question on behalf of candidates - would it be reasonable for the EPO to exceptionally consider this year any apply some sort of discretion/consideration.

    And before anyone says anything - no one is asking for an automatic pass. Just whether the EPO would at least consider these exceptional circumstances as we all know it is not the candidates fault

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    1. Don't expect any extra marks, unusual compensation systems or lowering of the passing rate. The Boards and Committees (EPO/epi) have very strict rules and regulations. They do give them for incidents during the exam at certain locations if people file a complaint.
      It would have to be something that does not benefit some candidates more than others - for example, they could extend the date for refunds of fees or registration deadlines.

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    2. Maybe something like a financial compensation package to all affected say EUR 250 each as example to help candidates rebook hotels or buy additional study materials, books etc...

      Although those doing all 4 papers stand the most to lose out in any situation.

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    3. Surely during the unconventional times, these "strict" rules/regulations can be looked at and modified.

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    4. Financial compensation is possible, but I am not sure who would pay it. Everybody is losing money here. Most of the cancellation insurance policies do not cover this.
      They change rules all the time, but they cannot discriminate positively or negatively. If you have a concrete suggestion, go ahead and post it. But it cannot just be awarding any compensation based on merely a registration.

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  16. Thanks for the advice Pete. I guess we just have to wait and see.

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  17. Olo - Unless you have actual information about when the exams will be held, please keep your 'advice' to yourself. What we need is clarity, not speculation and inane platitudes about how life is short from someone who isn't affected by this at all.

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    1. Although you might not want to hear it, olo knows how the exam system works in practice. That was also my scenario nr. 3 - I hope that they can arrange something, but you should think about how to deal with no EQE.

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    2. Thanks for your kind comment. No, I do not have actual information. It is perhaps because I am not affected (yet sympathetic) that I can see things more clearly than you. All I say is: I know how the exam is organised and I do not see how it could be postponed without creating massive trouble for the next edition. So prepare yourself for the scenario with no exam this year.

      But I will now heed your advice and keep mine to myself. All the best.

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    3. I think its good to have an insight into the way the EPO is thinking Olo.

      If this is the case, why did you think the EPO release the statement that they did. Is there normally a back date that they would have in mind in any event the exam cannot go ahead in March.

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    4. This is what I find a bit hard to understand: surely there must have been some planning as to what would be done if the exam couldn't be held? For example if severe storms or something else prevented them?

      Can it really be that, having prepared for exams due to be held next week, they really cannot be rescheduled later this year?

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    5. Yes, positive.

      For example, it is highly impossible to arrange venues from different countries for the same day so short time window. For this reason, the date of EQE 2022, for example, has already been locked.

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  18. I have to disagree with the notion of the Supervisory Board being considered "the messenger". A body who decides something cannot be considered the messenger.

    So, it was the EPO's decision to cancel the examination in all centres. Were they justified to do so? I disagree that they were.

    The only country who has implemented any restrictions which would be relevant to the EQE is Italy. I do not mean to be facetious to our Italian colleagues, but it seems to be unfair that all other candidates have to suffer due to the Italian government's reaction to the coronavirus.

    I would like to point out that in Munich the starkbierfest is still proceeding as normal. An event where people in an enclosed and cold space drink copious amounts of alcohol. A perfect breeding ground for infection.

    Let's consider some facts here. The mortality rate for the coronavirus in Europe is estimated to be 0.3 to 0.7 percent by the WHO. The mortality rate of influenza is, on average, less than 1 percent per year. Would it have been reasonable to cancel the EQE because of the flu? In the past 13 years, it hasn't.

    Will the cancellation of the EQE have any significant effect on the spread of the virus? Considering that events like the starkbierfest and football games are still proceeding as usual, does anybody seriously believe that the cancellation of an exam wherein only 400-500 people are sat in an exam hall wherein there is a 2-3 meter distance between participants would significantly affect the spread of the virus?!

    Let's look at the reality of the present situation. We are facing a virus that is asymptomatic in many individuals for which the only test we have is a reverse trasncriptase PCR assay which requires laboratory equipment. It is not possible to stop the spread. Thus, the EPO's decision to cancel the EQE was an exercise in FUTILITY which will not result in any statistically significant advantage.

    In short, it was all a knee-jerk reaction and in 5 months time we will be treating covid19 like we treat the flu. That is what the data is pointing to.

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    1. I would estimate the risk similar to you. For the collective spread, it mkaes little difference. And actually travelling to Munich by air (100 000 passengers per day) and S-bahn/U-bahn (hundreds of thousands per day), the EQE is a drop in the ocean.
      But I believe the EPO policies were following something from the Bavarian government, and apparently the German Patent Ofice was closed to the public as well.
      I would have gone (I was due to benchmark again), but we our outnumbered by others by 5 or 10 times who think it is too risky.

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    2. Although I agree with you and would have done the exams too, we cannot blame the EPO at all about the coronavirus situation. At least they have made the decision. The question is what can be done now to minimise further impact.

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    3. The German Patent Office is not closed (I currently work their for the natioal qualification)

      Also, given that events like starbierfest continue in Munich, it is almost certain that this was not a policy of the Bavarian government.

      However, the only restriction that was possible imposed is that people travelling from high risk ares (i.e. northern italy) would not have been allowed by Bavarian authorities....we can only guess, but maybe the Supervisory Board did want to go on with having the exam, when individual candidates from northern Italy could have been exluded...

      It totally agree with your risk assessment. I think the EPO is overreacting. In terms of public health, there should be a balance between the importance of an event and the risk involved. As for indiviual risk of contracting the virus, nobody would have been forced to attend.

      The EPO will not be able to stop the virus on its own.

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    4. Thanks for the correction - there are a lot of conflicting reports. Unfortunately, the alarmist reporting of the 24 hour media does not help either - anything with corona in the headline gets clicked on.
      But, companies have a duty of care to their employees - they need to consider whether they can prevent anyone in the organization getting sick from running an event. At the moment, no-one knows exactly what will work, and basic protective measures are sold out (like masks and hand-gel). They would also have to enforce the policies at that moment, like stopping Italians entering the room, or checking passports for visa stamps, or removing visibly sick people.

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    5. I think it is a particular problem that under current Bavarian government policy, they would have had to exclude people from northern Italy and were not prepared to do that

      Furthermore, I see the risk for the EPO that some of their employees contract the virus, which might lead to forced closure of the office by authorities and quarantine for all employees, which would probably be a nightmare.

      The federal German government is now recommending to cancel all events involving more than 1000 persons (they can only recommend as authority lies with the states)

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    6. Is there any chance that the EPO would reverse their decision so that the exam is held in March.

      Would seem very unlikely.

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    7. I would just like to add that there was a football game between Augsburg and FC Bayern today. 750,000 people attended the game at the Allianz arena...

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    8. Sorry, meant 75,000

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    9. @AnonymousMarch 8, 2020 at 7:57 PM
      No - they will have already cancelled, flights, hotels & venues. And many candidates will have cancelled as well. The infection cases are still rising, so they still don^t know when and where. They will take some weeks to decide what to do.

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    10. @AnonymousMarch 8, 2020 at 8:12 PM
      Really. I saw that a match in Dublin against Italy was postponed. There seems no real logic behind some of these thihgs ...

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    11. @Anonymous March 8, 2020 at 1:14 AM

      I fully agree with your argumentation. bottom line: we did not get any decent explanation/argumentation or technical support why the EQE is cancelled. Althought it is exactly what is expected in communication with the EPO...
      PS: I lived a few years in Munich, and getting reminded at Starkbierfeste: have a blast!! ;)

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    12. They did refer indirectly to the EPO announcement on 5 March that no events with more than 50 people were allowed at EPO premises - that meant that The Hague and Berlin could not allow candidates in. And the EPO management/president recalled all employees back from international travels, and prevented them from any business travel except between the EPO buildings in Munich (which prevented them invigilating anywhere in Europe or at the MOC in Munich). It is in line with actions that many other organisations & companies are taking.

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    13. @AnonymousMarch 9, 2020 at 1:53 PM
      They were also relying on the fact that candidates knew that corona virus could be a problem. Look around at all the cancellations and companies stopping people travelling. Against this background, it cannot have been a total surprise. Who has a new date and locations that they can guarantee today that it will go ahead?

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    14. As a side note: Starkbierfest in Munich has now been cancelled as well and you can expect that football games will go ahead without audience from this week on in Germany.

      Most German states seem likely now to ban all events with more than 1000 people involved and there is a recommondations that events with less people should also be cancelled.

      I think if EQE hadn't been cancelled last week it would have been cancelled in the course of this week so after, it's better to have known earlier than just a few days before the exam.

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    15. Thanks for the update. This is exactly what they were afraid of.
      A cancellation the day before the exam or even on the morning of the exam would have been even worse. By cancelling, they have at least kept open the chance of rescheduling.

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  19. I think its crazy to ask candidates to take the exams next year. I would find this completely unacceptable. The EPO should rescheduled asap.

    Like Pete said, the EPO must give 6-8 weeks notice so that candidates can start preparing again is necessary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But the problem is that finding a rescheduled date may not suit candidates. Many would have planned around these dates and there will be some who can't make the rescheduled dates. These candidates would be double penalised.

      Absolute Nightmare

      Delete
    2. The EPO can give compensatory marks for things like the exam hall being too cold, they can definitely give them for circumstances such as holding the exams at the wrong time of year.

      An yes, they absolutely should be rescheduled for this year if possible. If this has a knock-on effect on the nationals then these too might be rescheduled.

      Delete
  20. There is a suggestion on IPKAT that pre-EQE and Paper D should take place later this year and papers A-C should be done in March 2021.

    This approach means that there is a lot less marking for Examiners to do at any one time but also means that there will only be candidates who taking Paper D this year so numbers are drastically reduced and it is not a stretch to find multiple venues for candidates to sit the exams.

    We all know how much work Paper D is so this idea seems credible to me. Learning the law again is not fun but at least with this approach, candidates can sit Paper D this year and focus on A-C in March 2021. I think this is a fair compromise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Link to IPKAT

      http://ipkat.com/

      Delete
    2. You mean that for Paper D there are less participants than for Paper A and Paper B, for example?

      No, negative. I think oppositely. I think so that Paper D is very crowded compared to A and B.

      Delete
  21. If they can still use the 2020 papers (they remained confidential), then maybe it is possible. It may also require additional resources from the epi (people, venues, money).

    ReplyDelete
  22. I suggest you send an e-mail to your national PEC member. If the issue is resources and venues, for example, local patent attorneys should be able to organise something, like taking the exam in small groups at the same time. I would happily supervise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ok thanks Pete. I will send an email with this suggestion.

      Delete
    2. I don't know how long in advance the EPO send papers to the exam venues but assuming that they haven't done so, they should use the same paper but maybe tweak the dates in the questions etc...

      Delete
    3. Or use their back up paper.

      Delete
    4. I don^t think there are any easy solutions. From what I understood, the backup paper is next years paper, but not completely finished. Using this would give problems next year. I think the committees are undermanned at the best of times.
      But this could be solved with extra resources from somewhere.

      Delete
  23. Pete - as you appear to know some people on the EPO board/epi, could you possible ask them to set up a helpline please asap.

    There is www.lawcare.org.uk for some support for candidates but I'm not sure this line would work for all European countries.

    The Exam Sect have said that they have a backlog of emails and may not respond immediately. It is urgent to get the EPO to send this message to candidates now.

    I fear that some candidates may not have got this message yet as some rely on EPO communication only and may not be on these blogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have sent an e-mail to the PEC committee at the epi.
      And if anyone wants some personal advice, feel free to connect/message me through LinkedIn.

      Delete
  24. Bad news, the whole northern Italy (16 million people) are in lockdown. I fear this will only get worse. June not looking good.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think its completely normal for candidates to try and seek certainity but the truth is, I doubt the EPO knows what to do next exactly given the current changes.

    I am hopeful that they can find a solution soon but we need to be patient. I do think regular communications from the EPO would help a lot from now on so that candidates know what they are planning etc...

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Pete, thanks for the info.
    Do you think someone who would achieve the 2-year experience this May would be eligible to register for the Pre-EQE 2020 if it gets postponed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No idea - I suspect they will give priority first to those who were already registered. If they just refund everyone for Mar 2020, and have a new round of registration, then it may be possible.

      Delete
    2. Hi Pete - I hope they don't refund everyone and asking everyone to re-register. This would create more admin work for the candidates.

      Delete
    3. I don't think they should admit new enrolment into the pre-EQE until this year has been sorted out.

      Delete
  27. I really don't see May/June as a likely rescheduled option.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Bart van Wezenbeek (epi PEC memeber) commented on LinkedIn: "Good advice. Be assured that the PEC (professional education committee) of epi will try to reach the best possible solution for candidates and exam committee."
    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/petepollard_eqe-disaster-recovery-plan-activity-6642085151847383040-Dltq

    ReplyDelete
  29. "Organise your legal materials a little better (a lot of the current legal reference books started life as someone's well-organised EQE notes)."

    I choosed this option. For example, I have many tricks what comes to the matrix DII. Book will be published in the early Autumn 2020...

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is an excellent post and discussion: thank you Pete.

    I know it's tough but the right decision was made. We all share in the collective responsibility to limit the spread of the virus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks.
      Under the unpredictable circumstances, it was the right decision. And we have a collective and individual responsibility.
      But cancelling the EQE will not affect the spread in general - it is a drop in the ocean compared to all the other movements and interactions of people. Hopefully the world economy will recover quickly, and that in the future we will have accepted measures/safeguards to let international events & meetings to go ahead.

      Delete
    2. I do understand that this is completely abnormal and the EPO had to make a very difficult decision.

      But it is also clear that there were no procedures in place to pre-empt a situation like this.

      I would hope that the EPO learns from this in case there is a "next time" although I do hope that would never happen again.

      The candidates this year have been adversely affected and I hope they can minimise any disruption/pain for these candidates.

      Delete
    3. But cancelling the EQE will not affect the spread in general - it is a drop in the ocean compared to all the other movements and interactions of people.

      I see what you're saying but the point is that we all have to do what we can. As noted above other events are being cancelled or modified too. It's the same with any collective effort: individual things appear to make very little difference but when taken together there is a large effect.

      Delete
  31. It is not an easy decision, but it also needs to be balanced. Cancellations as a general policy is not without consequences - they contribute to the general state of panic, result in financial loss for tickets/hotels, and have unintended consequences for those involved.
    For example, some candidates will have missed their window to pass - no time available to study, no finances, no more employer support, lack of motivation etc, or they will be greatly delayed.
    Across Europe, there are many firms and companies who use EQE success to "select" who they will keep. if there is a long recession, some firms/companies may not survive at all.
    As mentioned, I think they made the right decision for the EQE under the current circumstances. But going forward, letting things go ahead with additional safeguards will eventually be seen as the better course of action.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Now, due to cancellation of EQE, we are (at least temporarily) again in normal work rhythm.

    How about Patent Authorities, how they have take the situation into account in deadlines of proceedings? I suppose that at least in Italy the deadlines have been adjusted (delayed) somehow but what about in other countries / in EPO? Is there coming some respites to those?

    Or is the prevailing supposition such that the Patent Attorneys doesn't fall ill? The Patent Attorneys are superman?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Universities and schools are finding alternative ways of assessments. Why can't the EPO do the same.

    J

    ReplyDelete
  34. There should be no automatic passes so I'm puzzled why some are saying pre-EQE candidates get automatic passes but candidates doing main EQEs don't.

    There should be some discretion applied by the EPO but everyone will need to sit the exams once the corona virus goes away (hopefully soon).

    ReplyDelete
  35. epi announcement: https://patentepi.org/en/epi/news/a4e7106e-0f2c-4d35-af84-6b00f6f89f5c
    "... many governments have taken measures ...., amongst them prohibition of public events with a certain size up to putting certain regions under total quarantine with an absolute travel ban.

    Additionally, many companies and employers have also put in place travel restrictions for their employees. It is not possible to carry out a complex pan-European EQE under those circumstances without putting at risk participants and organizers.

    We all do not know, how the situation will develop within the next months. We support and encourage therefore the Supervisory Board, the EPO EQE secretariat and all other bodies involved to explore all necessary measures to carry out an EQE for the candidates who planned to sit in March 2020 as soon as the situation will allow, either still within 2020 or only in 2021."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was hoping for a more stronger response from the EPI. The exams really need to take place this year and not for it to be delayed until next year. They should really ask for the EQEs to explore alternative assessments.

      Questions needed to be asked about the steps involved for making the decision. What are the next steps/plans and whether EPO actually prepared sufficiently

      Delete
    2. It does not seem so hopeful, and they even suggest 2021 as a possibility.
      I don't think any organisation in Europe was really prepared for this. But for EQE 2021, a back-up plan should be prepared.
      And this may be the trigger to look seriously at the EQE structure. For example:
      - Reduce Main Exam to three papers instead of four
      - Arrange Pre-Exam and/or Main Exam to be taken online
      - Exams more than once per year
      Behind the scenes, the resources are just enough to make, give and mark the exam. So any changes would need to reduce the resources required or more resources need to be found.

      Delete
    3. I don't understand why the epi pretends that they have no real influence - they provide almost half of the EQE Boards and Committees. They could reach out to members, generate a plan, and provide funds and people to implement.

      Delete
  36. I think it is now the time to start considering alternative assessments such as coursework or online assessment.

    Would the EPO consider these options given the exceptional circumstances we live in. Pete - do you have an opinion on this. Its better than waiting for a whole year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They already had an electronic pilot for the Main Exam, so it is theoretically possible. The Pre_exam just needs an electronic marking sheet, which is trivial to make. So technically it is possible.
      But there is nothing set up to take the test - how do you guarantee that everybody does it without discussing and without using electronic references? That rules out doing it at home - you would still have to go to a local testing center, but these are available in most countries. That just requires people & facilities.
      There is no standard course across the EPC states (and no requirement to follow a course), so no basis to use coursework.
      It is theoretically possible to set something up, but it would take several months before there is even an agreement on accepting this in principle, they would probably have to change the REE (more months) and many months before the material is made and accepted. By that time, everything should be back to normal.
      I am sure this will be discussed for the future, but I think the online/electronic at local testing centers has the most chance of being adopted as this has huge advantages for efficiency improvement in the organisation and marking.

      Delete
  37. The problem is that this could also go on to 2021 and affect the exams then. i think now is the time for the EPO to consider alternative assessments. I agree that online assessments at local (small) centres seem to be the most practical method.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are computer training centres with computers. The only issue would be extra invigilators (that should be manageable through the epi) and costs for renting the rooms. I know that the fees for the EQE do not cover the current costs, so this may be the biggest issue. The epi could contribute financially as well. Traditionally, rooms at local patent offices were used because they were cheap or even free - but they do not have a lot of computers available.

      Delete
  38. Here are my suggestion to move on with EQEs

    Candidates who are meant to be taking pre-EQE should be given a pass to go onto main EQEs. hey can take the main EQEs next year (hopefully)

    Candidates who are doing EQEs should be given a pass this year and be given the qualification (many schools and universities along with some professional exams are doing this already).

    For the EPO to be sure that the candidates who have passed are fit to practice, the EPO should set coursework or regular online assessment for 1-2 years.

    For example, if candidates who are given a pass this year can write an office action letter that is reasonably competent then the EPO should not hold them back. The EPO can randomly check their work by checking their responses (you can easily do this by searching for their signature names as they will have to sign it off). EPO can always follow up assessments or online discussions to check understanding.

    It can be the same for drafting specifications. The EPO can randomly spot check their works.

    For paper D - the EPO can set coursework and assignments.

    For Paper C - the EPO can set a piece of opposition as coursework or assignment.

    By doing this way, candidates are given the benefit of the doubt during these testing times but the EPO can check their work within 1-2 years to make sure they are fit to practice until we can all do exams again - looks like we may have to wait until 2021/2022.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can you be specific about which professional exams are doing this?
      I am not sure why you should get the qualification first? If the EPO/epi can set coursework in some way, then you can do that first and if the quality is sufficient, pass that way. Trainees already do work under supervision of a European patent attorney, who is supposed to check the work, up to the exam.

      Delete
    2. To qualify as a solicitors, they need to complete a period of work-based learning (around 24 months). During these 24 months, they are continually assessed.

      Yes, they do need to do some exams before that but they can only qualify to be a solicitor once they have been checked and signed off after 24 months of work experience.

      I like your idea of a coursework based approach. I would prefer exams but I also do not wish to be stuck for 1 or maybe 2 years. I hope you understand but there needs to be a solution for EQE candidates to move on somehow.

      Delete
    3. Pete - if you look at the UK, candidates who have exams at universities, or at schools (GCSE and A-Levels) are allowed to pass this year and move on. Could a similar approach be applied here?

      I get the point that EPO needs to make sure candidates are fit to practice but at the same time, we are being held back (potentially for 2 years at least if prediction are correct that this could last for 18 months). Do you think it is still fair to hold candidates back for 2 years.

      Delete
    4. They are also doing it here in The Netherlands - I am following closely as my daughter is supposed to to the secondary school exams in a few weeks time. They are looking at tests and projects made up to the exam, and where possible, adopting those as a final grade. They are also taking steps at the next education level to possibly give additional training.
      This works within each country as there is a high degree of standardisation in levels and testing and syllabus.
      But it is also an admisssion that a lot of the subjects tests are not essential.
      The EQE training is unfortunately far from standardised across Europe, and not everyone receives a proper practical training and guidance.
      If you let the EQE 2020 candidates through the Pre-Exam, it is basically admitting that it is not essential, and you may as well scrap it completely. Or keep it, and simplify the Main Exams.
      I am normally against changing the system too much as that can throw off some candidates, but if you want to make the exam more disruption proof, having fewer papers seems to be a good move.
      Places where the main exam could be trimmed:
      - there is a lot of overlap between what is being tested on A, B and C. These could have a separate compensation system from D. Or be combined into one paper in the future.
      - A seems a good test of patent attorney skills.
      - B has become very artificial. It is mainly testing that you do exactly what the client wants, but write a lot of argumentation defending inventive step.
      - C has its merits, but in real-life, you need to focus on the most important aspects. For the C paper, you have to treat every feature as equal and point out where you found everything. It is a puzzle, with artificial documents comprising all the pieces you need. There is also a lot of repetition in many attacks. You could test the same aspects with fewer claims and fewer annexes.
      - D is a good test - for DI, you need to concentrate on the most relevant aspects, and DII is basically your job (advising a client)
      => so if the essentials are A, C (simplified) and D, you could scrap Pre-Exam and B to reduce the number of exams.

      Delete
    5. Pete - I could not agree with you more. I am a candidate sitting all 4 main EQE and I do not believe that pre-EQE candidates should be given a pass or main EQE candidates be given a pass.

      However, I also realised that this is so unusual that something needs to be done, not least because we do not want to waste a year or even 2 years.

      Your proposal of a simplified examination is a good one. Scrapping a few exams would be good to try and fit it in this year.

      Perhaps they could consider reducing content of the exams too. Having 6/7 pieces of prior art for example in Paper C is not necessary. They can reduce this to 3/4 and still be able to test key skills. Alternatively, they can provide people with discretionary marks.

      I think A and B doesn't really represent real life so these can be scrapped in my view. In A, I think the exams are always looking for something too narrow where in reality, you would try and get as much scope as possible. For B, your main amendment would not hinge on what your client says.

      As for D - I think a few questions on DI and DII (reduced content) should work. We will be able to fit this within 1 or 2 days instead of 3 days.

      Delete
    6. I'm thinking pre-EQE in the morning. Paper D (reduced) in the afternoon and C (reduced) the next day. This would help with local examinations centre cope and help students.

      The problem that I have now (admittedly it might just be me) is that I don't have any training days left or holidays once measures to tackle coronavirus has lifted so I will have to take 3/4 unpaid leave to do the exams in its current format. Plus, who knows when we are going to be able to take them.

      There is a backlog trainees at my workplace waiting to enrol for 2021 so we need to move on somehow.

      Delete
  39. - I think A is still fairly close to real life. In real-life, if you broaden too much, then there is a real risk of it not being novel as you cover fields that the inventor knows nothing about. And in a lot of EQE answers where people broaden, they end up not novel over the given prior art (I think this is worse than not broadening as you are wasting the clients money). If you broaden properly (explain claim terms, illustrate novelty over all prior art), then what you did was defendable. And claim different categories.
    - Simplifying C would probably not be possible with an existing exam due to the way the pieces are distributed throughout the annexes.
    - DI questions are separate, so they could also be cropped
    - Pre-Exam legal questions are separate, they could be cropped (leave out some easy questions). The claims analysis are usually in groups, so 1 or more groups could be left out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wouldn't it be the simplest and fairest way to just apply some compensation/discretion to this year candidates.

      Delete
    2. Whatever is decided, it cannot be just awarding passes based solely on registration in 2020. The fitness for practice has to be based on something tangible. The consequences for the profession and for clients would be worse than just delaying the qualification of a large number of candidates for one year.

      Delete
    3. I don't think the majority are asking for a pass but perhaps some points or some other discretion in view of the massive disruption this year. Its no one's fault but candidates this year are severely impacted so its fair to give 5-10 marks for main EQEs and lower boundaries for pre-EQEs.

      Delete
    4. I would be happy to sit the papers and do not want a free pass however, other years have not had this major disruption before and to a certain extent, this year has already been very stressful. I (like many other trainees) depend on this qualification to keep my job and progress. To be denied the opportunity to sit them deeply affects me both personally and financially. I completely understand the EPO's decision and support what they've done. They have no choice but I agree that a few discretionary marks would go a long way. These extra few marks are useful because candidates can no longer dedicate the same amount of time for revision, some have used all their study leave, some have no holidays left and some cannot afford to go on courses and buy new books.

      Delete
    5. @ Anon 3.42pm. Spot on - the marks are there to cover loss time and loss of finances. The majority of us cannot afford to spend the same amount of time towards training for the EQEs again. I suppose this may also be part of the reason why retakers have lower pass rates. The window of opportunity is very key for passing EQEs.

      Delete
    6. Some of the issues seem to be more of an issue with your an employer - are they not providing any flexibility?
      What you don't want is a year of passes where there is an "*" that a lower level was allowed to get through. You will be confronted about it for the rest of your career when you change jobs. Some national exams allow an equivalent pass based on the EQE results - they may also make an exception.
      If the Pre-Exam cannot be held, they could allow candidates to take the Main Exam - the only challenge then is in the organisation. The level stays the same.
      They could be more flexible in compensation between Main Exam Papers if you achieve a certain number of points on all papers. But this would have to be changed for a period going forward as it make take several years for those affected to pass all papers.

      Delete
    7. I'm sorry. I don't think its fair to allow pre EQE candidates to pass and give nothing to main EQE candidates.

      Delete
    8. Unfortunately my employer is a small firm and have no more resources to support me. Everything I do now and beyond will be just me.

      Delete
    9. It will be extremely unfair if they allow candidates to pass pre EQE for free. I know its only pre EQE but I still had to work for it last year to have the right to do the main EQE papers. What does this say about pre EQE exams. Why not scrap it for all future years or replace it with something else if we are allowing candidates free passes for pre EQE.

      Either both set of candidates (pre EQE & EQE) get something from the EPO or both set of candidates get nothing at all.

      Delete
  40. I don't want to sound negative but there is no way the exams are taking place in June. I rally don't think that is realistic given where we are now in Europe. Pete, could you revise your advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you are correct. The whole of Europe would have to be removing restrictions before they can even think about planning.
      I have filled in July/August - normally, this would not be possible, but the normal rules and predictions are suspended at the moment. It is not really possible to plan a vacation at the moment, and a lot of businesses may not be able to afford paid vacation.

      Delete
    2. I just want to add that as time goes on, it gets harder and harder to focus just on exams. For me, revision at the moment seems so pointless given at what is happening around the world. There is no end in sight to this. Lets hope things get better soon

      Delete
  41. I cannot see exams happening this year. All my time is now working from home and child care (schools have cancelled). There is no time for me to revise at all. Schools will be shut until September/October.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Universities are looking for ways to deal with the exam disruption - eg medical exams: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/mar/22/coronavirus-forces-medical-students-sit-final-exams-online

    ReplyDelete
  43. Why is the supervisory board so slow. Please give us some announcement even if it is to say that no exams are held in the next 4-6 months.

    Their lack of response and no communication ever since 5th March has been terrible.

    Do they care about the candidates?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are so many people involved in the EQE, and virtually all of them are in confinement today. So, obviously, there will not be an announcement before the end of this nightmare (probably in May, I would say).

      Delete
    2. I assume that there is no communication because they are still considering the options, and the consequences of these options. They take their EQE tasks very seriously, but they only do that part time (and often in their own time) - so they are probably busy dealing with their work and home situations at the moment. They also have to prepare papers and organise for EQE 2021.

      Delete
  44. The postponment/cancellations of the EQEs is very unfortunate this year but it has also raised a broader question.

    I've been reading through all the blogs on IPKAT, DeltaPatents and this blog. Its clear to me that candidates are not being properly supported throughout the profession. For example, I know many UK firms don't adequately support their trainees development. Trainees are only supported in the first attempt and 1 retake only. After that, they are on their own or made redundant.

    The whole profession needs to take training and development more seriously and change their approach. There is far too much pressure on candidates nowadays

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not sure that can be changed easily. It happens quite widely, not just in the UK - firms take on 2 or 3 candidates, put them through a standard training, but with the intention of only keeping 1. The candidates know this - they are hoping to be the 1. This seems unfair, but over the years, I have seen a small percentage of candidates who are permanently in a state of training, with excuses why they cannot pass.
      It is difficult to separate out those who could qualify with more time and support from those who are not suitable for the profession. Just using EQE results is not ideal - it favors a more theoretical person who has time to study (little responsibility at work, probably no kids) and just do what is asked. But we also need the people with soft skills, who are creative and try and find the limits.

      Delete
    2. Practical training under supervision of a European Patent Attorney is also a requirement to take the EQE, so there is an assumption that some training has occurred.

      Delete
    3. Although to some extent I agree with this, we all know that the "real" work requires a much more rounded candidate. Candidates who are approachable to talk to inventors at all levels are required. They need to be commercially minded having the ability to see and advise clients based on their commercial interest.

      Presentation skills, management skills and teamwork skills are essential assets to have. There are so many more things to be a successful attorney than just exams. I would argue these skills are more important than being academically minded.

      The profession can be very narrow minded on these important "soft" skills.

      Delete
  45. "firms take on 2 or 3 candidates, put them through a standard training, but with the intention of only keeping 1"

    I also know firms who take this approach and it is such a terrible/shocking attitude to have towards your employees (who would have been working at least 3 years at the firm).

    This is why there is such outcry form candidates as so much is at stake for the candidates. Its a burden! It is not a healthy way to develop or promote our profession. I don't like this "dog-eat-dog" attitude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And many of these firms also use the "dog-eat-dog" way of selecting partners after qualification. Several associate partners are nominated to fight it out for a single slot. Thankfully, there are many (newer) forms abandoning these gladiator-style approaches.

      Delete
  46. In some of the discussions, the latest courses and latest books are seen to be the key to success (don't believe all the marketing :-)
    Following a course or having a particular book is no guarantee of success. Not following a course or having a different book does not mean that you have no chance.
    A good course allows you to be most efficient with your time as you are guided through the most important aspects. But you still need to spend time on what you have learned.
    Passing the EQE requires a balance of knowledge and exam training. The best way to learn in general is:
    (1) Learn (2) Reflect (3) Implement(Apply) (4) Share

    (1) Learn = classical studying - reading references, highlighting important sections, following courses etc
    Too many people stop here - you only retain about 5% of what your hear during a course or just read in the Guidelines.
    (2) Reflect = think about what you read. Think about what it means in real-life for a real case. Make summaries, flowcharts or mind-maps to add to your reference books. Think about how you would do an exam in practice. What are they likely to ask?
    (3) Implement (Apply) - do course exercises, relevant questions from Q&A books or past exams. There are 20 years of past exams, together with analysis, available for free on the EPO website. Doing past exams is one of the best ways to prepare for any exam. But also make a list of things you don't know, and common mistakes you make. Be critical with yourself. Look in the Examiners Reports for comments about where all the marks are.
    (4) Share - it is not always possible to teach, but at least discuss with other trainees, write an article, discuss with a colleague etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some of these do work but there is no motivation to continue revision with no end date.

      Delete
    2. There is no point studying if you are not motivated. A lot of people need a deadline to focus - if so, then do something else completely until you have a date.

      Delete
    3. This is sensible. It's clear there will be no exam for at least 6 months so little point in continue to revise now. It's questionable we get a date this year.

      You will end up getting very bored of revision when there is a date or burn yourself out when you need to ramp up revision.

      Better not to do any revision at all until there is a date.

      Delete
  47. The epi has sent a letter to the EPO, with their proposed timetables - interesting is their mention of not holding the Pre-Exam: https://patentepi.org/assets/uploads/documents/news/200324_epi-letter-to-EPO-President_2020-EQE.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See separate post. I have also included some of the main points of the letter: https://saltedpatent.blogspot.com/2020/04/eqe2020-in-september-if-possible.html

      Delete
  48. I'm sorry, I think there should still be some sort of fairness for main EQE candidates. Why should pre-EQE skip the exams but there is nothing for main candidates. Those who are eligible to take EQEs this year had to go through passing pre-EQEs. Its totally not fair to allow pre-EQEs candidates a free pass and give nothing for main EQEs candidates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By allowing pre-EQEs candidates to pass and not provide anything for main EQEs, the EPO is basically saying that main EQEs are not affected at all. A slap in the face!

      Delete
    2. It is a joint epi/EPO exam, not just the EPO. Basically, the epi is publicly supporting this as something which is also in line with the current regulations. See separate post: https://saltedpatent.blogspot.com/2020/04/eqe2020-in-september-if-possible.html

      Delete
    3. I really don't agree with this approach. It has to be fair to all candidates that are affected this year. This is surely the basic principle that all EPI and EPO members must adhere to.

      You need to provide something for all candidates and not just select one set of candidates but completely ignore the other set of candidates.

      It has to be fair!

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  49. Personally, pre-EQE is the easiest exam to organise, mark and for candidates to do. It can be taken now via online.

    Paper D should move towards multiple choice format too this year to help smooth things and ease marking pressures.

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  50. No European qualifying examination (pre-examination or main examination consisting of papers A, B, C and D) will be held in 2020.
    Communication from the Supervisory Board of the EQE
    http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/49492721c255256ec125854c00498eac/$FILE/SB_communication%2020_04_EN.pdf

    Decision of the Supervisory Board
    http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/cda002e5755d7730c125854c00496e80/$FILE/Decision%20of%20SB_EN_20_04.pdf

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  51. I am glad they made the decision now.
    I am still trying to figure out the consequences of "Given the prevailing, exceptional circumstances, and pursuant to Article 3(1) REE, anyone who so wishes will be allowed to enrol for the 2021 main examination, provided that the conditions laid down in Article 11 REE are fulfilled."
    I assume it means that as no PE was held, then it is not a requirement for Main Exam 2020. It may also mean that they will be flexible on the pre-registration dates as a candidate (which you have to do at the start of your professional activities).

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