Thursday, February 28, 2019

EQE 2019 - Paper A

I sat the paper under exam conditions in Munich as a bench marker to give the examination committees some materials for their marking discussion. If you want to try the paper yourself, here are the compendium copies in English, French & German.

The invention, a cell culture container (such as a multi-well plate) is something you could get in real-life to protect: the mechanical aspects need to be claimed, taking into account the chemical and biological aspects. This is a positive aspect of the current combined technologies format (this is the third year) - they prepares candidates who are specialised but have a broad understanding of the main issues when patenting other technical areas.
This is a nice mechanical paper for chemists to practice. The independent device claim emerges very quickly, but there are a lot of refinements for each feature to consider claiming. The mechanical paper issue of getting more than one embodiment under a single claim is included, but the flow of the information is steady and manageable. Very consistent wording used. The mechanical terminology (and understanding) is not difficult. There is a lot of work to do, but the paper does a good job of guiding you to your answer. Other people I talked to had similar comments, and the feeling was generally good.

See below for more details and possibly some spoilers.

I finished 10 minutes short of the 4 hours available
- I got 2 independent claims and a number of the dependent claims.
I did not have time to claim every refinement for each feature, so I concentrated on the main ones with an additional effect. I had 12 claims in total.


  1. Hi Pete,
    thank you very much for providing us with your feelings with regard to the exams. I sat the paper in The Hague and was very confident with the conditions (temperature, atmosphere, tec.) there in comparison to Munich MOC it is much better.
    I sat the A paper and I went for four idepedent claims:
    1. Cell culturing device,
    2. Rack for holding the cell culturing device in incubator,
    3. Usage claim for using the cell culturing device according to claims x to y for cultruing cells (with the described method steps)
    4. Method for manufacturing cell culturing device according to claims x to y with the mentioned heat sealing or gluing

    I found also the rack and the method for manufacturing claims as a little bit "weak", but the client for me clearly stated that he wanted to have such topics.

    So now we have to wait for the examiner's report what they wanted to see.

  2. Thanks for commenting. I had the same claims 1, 2, 3, although for 3 I phrased it as a "method of culturing cells". I did not think about you claim 4. I will have another look.

  3. Dear Pete,
    as mentioned I also found the independent manufacturing claim to be very weak, but the client stated in para [015]:
    "... We think that these methods of manufacturing the cell culture device could be commercially interesting."

    With redard to claim 3 from material point of view is there any difference between the above outlined usage claim and your described "method of culturing cells" ?

    With kind regards

  4. I missed that in para [015] - it looks like a big hint to claim them both.

    A method claim is theoretically considered to be broader, but I don't think there is an actual difference in scope. I seem to remember past papers where use of a device and a method using a device were both accepted.

  5. Hi Pete,
    You may see the discussion in the blog of Deltapatent. In your independent product claim, did you define and/or combination?

  6. I have not read that discussion - I will take a look. But the only "and/or" i included was "allows substances to be introduced into and/or withdrawn" for the resealable opening.

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