Monday, December 21, 2009

What is sanction for wrong electronic signature ? R.2(2) EPC - T1427/09

In an interlocutory decision, the Board of Appeal in T1427/09 decided that filing appeal documents using the wrong electronic signature (the wrong smart card) may be remedied under R.50(3). The signature of someone who is not authorised is considered to the same as omitting the signature.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Draft 2010 version of EPO Examination Guidelines now available

Today (30/11/09), the EPO published a draft version of the Examination Guidelines. These Guidelines are updated based upon the EPC changes scheduled for 1/4/10, and may possibly be updated again.

For those sitting the EQE in 2010:
The Chairman of the Examination Board has also posted a notice, stating very clearly, that the version to be used on the EQE2010 is the version of 1 April 2009.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre-examination for EQE 2012 possible

At the tutor's meeting of 6 Nov 2010, we were told that the Examination Board is aiming to implement the new pre-examination in 2012.
The idea of a pre-examination is to provide an initial test of knowledge and competence. Candidates may only sit the EQE if they pass this pre-examination.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Remedies under PCT

PCT is rather compicated, which makes any overview particularly helpful.
I recently discovered this very useful document and presentation on the WIPO website.
In particular, the document (starting on page 27, has a very nice summary of "Procedural Safeguards for International Applications". Several of these have been on the EQE before.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Changes to EPC on1 April 2010 (1/4/10) will NOT be tested on EQE 2010

At the meeting between the tutors and the examination committees two weeks ago, it was clearly stated  by the D committee that the changes scheduled for 1/4/10 will NOT be tested.
The exam tests the law on the 31/12/09 - the fact that these changes have been published in the OJEPO this year does not mean that they automatically form part of the syllabus.
That should make studying a little bit easier.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Compensation for re-sitters in EQE 2010

Last week, I was in Munich for the yearly meeting of EQE tutors and the examination committees.
One of the issues explained was the compensation system, and in particular the possibility to retroactively pass individual examinations.

It is probably easiest to explain by examples.
(F): fail / (CF): compensable fail / (P): pass

For RE-SITTERS in 2010 and beyond

Compensation for first time sitters in EQE 2010 and 2011

Last week, I was in Munich for the yearly meeting of EQE tutors and the examination committees.
One of the issues explained was the compensation system, and in particular the possibility to retroactively pass individual examinations.

It is probably easiest to explain by examples.
(F): fail / (CF): compensable fail / (P): pass

For FIRST TIME SITTERS in 2010 and beyond

Friday, October 30, 2009

Integrated Paper D / Paper C training for EQE 2011

Anybody looking for an efficient training for the EQE in 2011 should consider our 3 week course.
It takes place in Eindhoven during 3 separate weeks throughout the year, and provides an integrated D & C training, covering legal topics and methodology.
The weeks are 22 - 26 March 2010 / 28 June - 2 July 2010 / 27 September - 1 October 2010
More info can be found here

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Books to take to the EQE, especially for D (4)

EPC1973 Guidelines, especially for prior rights

Unfortunately, the latest version of the EPC2000 guidelines does not contain all relevant infromation about the old law. Although the law as of 31 Dec 2009 will be tested in EQE2010, this does include any older provisions which continue to apply for applications which could be pending on that date. There have been questions on both 2008 and 2009.

The Examination Board announced in 2008 that it is up to candidates themselves if they wish to take a copy to the exam to help understand the transitional provisions - it is permitted. However, in the interest of keeping your EQE library as small as possible, it makes sense only to take the parts relating to prior rights.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Books to take to the EQE, especially for D (3)

Ancillary Regulations

Unfortunately, according to the EPO, this book will not be updated before EQE 2010. In my earlier post, there was a slight mistake - although you may want to consult the old book online, you will need to print it out (or order it) and update it your self to take to the exam.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

EQE Forum - now running to help you pass in 2010

For the last couple of years, I have been involved with the EQE forum. Organised by the European Patent Academy, it provides an extra source of info and help for EQE 2010 candidates, especially those who do not have access to a tutor. See here

For example, we are supplying questions to be answered on the forum. Candidates can offer an answer for discussion. Our standard answers are posted, and candidates can ask questions on any aspects, such as why is xxx in the answer, why is zzz not in the answer, is the legal basis correct etc. There are also a general DI and DII forum which I am moderating (as POLLARDP) where candidates can ask pretty much any question at all on D, or on specific papers. The idea is that other candidates react and discuss, and I intervene now and again with my opinion.
The questions are posted every 2 weeks in groups of subjects, and cover (in about 120 exam-style questions) the major topics of the EPC and PCT.
There are plenty of other forums as well run by other tutors, so you can always get a 2nd opinion. There are even cases specially written by other tutors on the forum for extra practice and interactive questions. The EQE is a test of applying the law to the different situations, and not just looking it up in Singer/Visser/Hoekstra etc, so plenty of practice is essential.

This year the interface has been greatly improved, so have a look.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Books to take to the EQE, especially for D (2)

So building on the REE list, we get the following EQE library:

Legal texts in force on 31 Dec 2009 (probably in your reference books, but check they have all the protocols etc). This also includes provisions (and their transitional provisions) which have changed (such as on 1 April 2009), which may apply to EP applications pending around the time of the exam.

1) EPC - Articles and Rules and all Protocols
2) PCT - Article and Rules
3) PC
4) Rules relating to Fees

Click below for EPC & PCT books

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Books to take to the EQE, especially for D

Recently, the EPO published a decision of the Examination Board here.
Under the new REE, the Examination Board were given the power to decide books and reference materials that candidates are allowed to use in the exam. They have basically decided not to restrict it, but this doesn't make life easier.

Candidates have to decide themselves what to take, and the exam committee is in principle not bound by any official list. Click below to see what the Examination Board officially indicates.

In a later post, I will comment on these and add some more.

Friday, October 2, 2009

When do you have to pay when you do early entry in Europe for PCT?

An interesting question:

I have a question about A153 / R159(1) that mainly concerns fees, and calculation of the renewal fee.

If I enter a PCT application into EP before expiry of 31 months e.g. at 25 months, I imagine the fees (e.g. filing fee R159(1)(c), designation fee R159(1)(d), search fee R159(1)(e), examination fee R159(1)(f), R159(1)(g) renewal fees) are due on (i.e. can be paid as from) the date of EP entry.

If some fees were not paid on EP entry, will the invitations to remedy (e.g. R160(1)) be sent (A) shortly after filing or (B) at expiry of 31 months?

If (A) applies, then will renewal fees R159(1)(g) be due on the date of EP entry, and the 6m period of R51(2) be calculated as from the date of entry? Or does the 31m expiry (and the +6m period from end of 31m R51(2)) apply still for renewal fees in case of early entry.

In case the former is true, the question also arises of the aggregate TL; probably it is not available when the renewal fee is due on early entry.

I checked Visser, it says that the EPC has no legal provision for early entry, and that the EPO will start processing after all the requirements of R159(1)(g) have been met. It does not say when periods will expire, however.

See my answer below - I would be interested to hear from anyone who already experienced this.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No more "prior claims" approach in Europe / updated answer to Exam-Related Question

One of the things that has changed in the new National Law table is in table VII with respect to conversion.
A couple of the exceptions (always nice for EQE questions) are now gone.

Prior to July 2008, there was an exception in Switzerland and Liechtenstein where a withdrawal or rejection on the basis of earlier EP right [Art.54(3) EPC] opened the possibility of a conversion to a national application in those states [see National Law EPC, Table VII, column 1]. Reason for this was the “prior claim approach” in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. However, with the amendment to their national law in July 2008, Switzerland & Lichtenstein now apply the “whole contents” approach for prior rights.

The other one is for Italy - they used to allow a fairly broad conversion to an Italian utility model. This is no longer possible. 

For those using our Exam-Related Questions, click below to see the new answer for one of the questions.

Friday, September 25, 2009

R.40(3) - deemed withdrawn or refused ?

I recently received the following question:

I just answered question G3-10(d) [Basic Questions book] relating to failure to file a translation under R 40(3).

According to Visser, a missing translation under Art 90(3), R 57 (a), R 40(3) and failure to provide this within the two month time limit under R.58 will lead to the refusal of the application Art 90(5). He has also stated that the statement in A-III, 14 is probably incorrect.

In the DeltaPatents answer you refer to the translation under Art 14(2), R 6(1), which will lead to the application being deemed withdrawn.

Which is the correct answer?

Think about it, then click on Read more to see my answer

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bookmark this great reference version of the EPC

It has been a while since I looked at the EPO's html version of the EPC.
Today I noticed a couple of features which are useful for daily practice:
  1. A hyperlinked EPC2000 => EPC1973 cross-reference table. For example, for the Rules
  2. For each article and rule, an overview of recent changes to that provision, and hyperlinks to the apropriate decision of the Administrative Council. For example, R.71
Unfortunately, you cannot use this on the EQE, but it may help when studying.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Errors in Question Books 8th Edition June 2009

28 April 2010: Sorry, these documents are no longer available on our website. E-mail us if you need them.
Being human, we sometimes miss updating answers based upon changes in the law.

If we detect any errors, we put them on our website, here

If anybody finds any other errors, let us know,and we will inform others about it

I have included the latest update list below. If you wait a couple of days, we will have the pdf version on the website.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Do national judges ever proceed on the basis of provisional protection ?

In principle, upon publication - Art.67 EPC and Art.69(2) - of a European application (assuming you comply with the national requirements - National Law Table III), you are granted provisional rights.

Theoretically, you can then go to a judge and invoke the right against an infringer.
However, the scope of your provisional protection can change retroactively, so you are potentially liable for damages if on grant, there is no infringement.
I see that Hungary has quite a long section in the National Law Table III.A, column 2. For most other states, it creates a liability for damages.

My question is - does anyone ever try to sue an infringer based solely on provisional protection?

Address for service - what happens if you don't do it ?

After grant under the EPC, some states require translations - Art.65. However, National Law Table V, column 6 sometimes requires a national patent attorney to be appointed or an address for service to be provided (See for example, Ireland - "must be provided"). There is no basis in the EPC for this.

Is there a deadline and sanction for the address for service ?
Presumably it is found in national law, but is it possible to give a general rule ?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

For the successful candidates who complain about the EQE ...

If you think that the EQE is unfair, too hard or even too easy, you have the chance to influence it.

The EPO is looking for new members of the Examination Committees - see here

There are currently three ECs, each comprising epi and EPO members. EC I is responsible
for papers A and B, EC II for paper C and EC III for paper D. The duties of the ECs are set
out in Article 8 REE. Initially, the duties of new EC members will mainly concern the marking
of candidates' answer papers, which will require a minimum commitment of 120 hours per
year, including a minimum of three days of meetings in Munich. EC members may also be
involved in other duties that would require further time commitments.

Sorry, but you must have already passed the EQE

The closing date for applications is 9 October 2009

Digital exchange of PCT priority documents

The much anticipated digital exchange of priority documents seems to be moving ahead.

The status can be found here

Unfortunately, it not yet possible to use it for filers at the EPO, or for regional entry in Europe.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

JP to amend Examination Guidelines for medical inventions

Handy for those in this field:

JP is to review its examination guidelines in respect of "medicinal inventions with new dosage/administration" and "methods for gathering data from human body for assisting with diagnosis"
See here

There is a possibility to postpone examination for affected applications until the new guidelines are published - see here

Friday, September 11, 2009

New edition of National Law

As yet only available electronically.

The new version is updated with details of the London Agreement
- expect a question on EQE 2010 on this.

Find it here

15/09/09: Paper version can now be ordered here

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Changing attitudes towards divisionals & amendments

I am currently preparing materials for our yearly patent law update, aimed at qualified patent attorneys who want to keep up with the latest EPC and PCT legal developments.
From 1 April 2010, some major changes will be introduced into the EPC. Thanks to the European Patent Organisation for keeping us all busy with their "Raising the bar" program ;-)
We will all have to change our attitude to filing amendments and divisionals in the next few years.

The PATENT LAW UPDATE 2009 will be held on Wed 11 November 2009 in Utrecht.

For more details, click on the link to the left for "Ongoing Training for Patent Attorneys"

If preferred, we can also provide an in-house version, tailored to your requirements. Please contact us for more details

EQE Appeals

The deadline for filing an appeal against your EQE 2009 decision is approaching
(decision date + 10days + 1 month)

If you are thinking about it, consider the following:
  • All grounds have to be filed within the same period (REE Art.24)
  • It may take 1.5 years before you get a decision (so you will have to do the exam next year anyway)
  • The chances of winning are tiny
There are two reasons to file an appeal:
  • The exam committee clearly made a mistake
    E.g., they didn't mark a page of your answer, you got 0 points even though you have the same answer as the compendium
  • You are very angry, and want to tell the examination board what you think
    This may help you to get past your disappointment
For most people, I recommend putting all that energy into analysing the differences between the compendium and your answer, and practicing past papers.

If you want to see how we can help, click on the link "Training for EQE" on the left.

EQE 2010

From next year, the new EQE regulations apply. It is quite complex, so if you are unsure about something, ask the EQE Secretariaat.

There are some improvements:
  • No modular system anymore
    Sit them in any order and any combination.
    Note that if you did A&B in 2009, and C&D in 2010 (all for first time), you can either use the old system or the new system
  • Compensation applied at every sitting
    Although you cannot compensate a failed paper from the past, it does mean that if you resit, it is no longer necessary to get 50 points or more
    Exception: if you did A&B in 2009, and C&D in 2010 (all for first time), you can use the old system and compensate a compensable fail for A and/or B with good scores in C & D.
  • No translation required for the C-paper
    The whole paper, including all documents will be provided in all 3 languages

EQE 2009

A belated congratulations to all who passed at least something. None of the exams are easy, and it is easy to miss something crucial when you are under stress.