Saturday, January 30, 2021

Updated requirements for Mock2 & e-EQE

Update 10 Feb 21: Ignacio Lobato Holtmann has created a Telegram group for fast exchange of eEQE questions, tips and info. He also proposes forming study groups for the next EQEs.
Mock2 was intended to test everything with a big load, so the flows will NOT be available later. 4 Feb & 5 Feb are the last chances to test YOUR system before the exam, so login as much as possible. If logging in late, use invigilator password is: xyz 

Updated 2 Feb 21 with comments on D (see end of post)
Update 1 Feb 21 after starting Mock2 PE Part 1( in red).
Thu 28 Jan 21, updated docs on official EPO e-EQE page website in preparation for Mock2 and exam. Read in detail before testing and again before the exam (updated regularly)

    I have updated my earlier posts as much as possible. I have not linked to official docs as they are updated regularly - print them out and have them at the exam. A selection from the updates:

    1. Location for exam
    • cover any see-through wall or door in room through which another might be able to see your screen
    • cover any window, mirror or other shiny or glossy surface behind you
    • no other electronic devices permitted unless explicitly allowed by Examination Secretariat in advance
    • food, drink and medicines allowed
    • eyewear allowed but only for correcting or aiding vision
    • cannot leave room or move out of camera view within first 30 mins of exam
      • Mock2 PE: I also handed in and left within 25 mins without problem. 
    2. Hardware
    • camera centred above or below frame of the active screen, but not more than 5 cm away from it
    • audio verification required before you can access the flow
    • test audio and video before launching Lockdown browser (in operating system)
      • Mock2 PE: needed to have camera & microphone working before starting browser. After that they stayed on, but no invigilation and no warnings if you get up etc. 
    3. Software
    • Zendesk info added to communicate with invigilators. Must login for exam. Login available in Lockdown browser under External Resources. Login possible from normal browser if problems. New address given: support@epo.zendesk.com. Set up Zendesk account in online environment (another username and password)
      • Mock2 PE: I could not log on to Zendesk (I have not received a password, and no account exists yet for me). But I could still do Mock2 PE part 1 without it.
      • Mock2: although you can log-in, they were not responsive. So if you get kicked out, or are late, you cannot do Mock2
    • turn off screensavers and power saving
    • accept all cookies at WISEflow login
      • Mock2: if you have a touchpad, turn off 3 & 4 finger gestures in windows settings
    4. Invigilation
    • Before Mock2, use "Reference photo with ID/passport " flow to record your e-EQE reference photo (available from 29-01-21 14:00). Only takes few minutes, and will save you time during the EQE and Mock 2. Once completed, when accessing any subsequent flow, you will simply have to take an entry photo without the ID card/passport.
      • Apparently, if not happy, can exit flow without finishing and tick box to say you want to retake. That allows picture to be taken again.
      • If not successful (eg ran out of time), when you start Mock2, you will be prompted to do it again, so have ID ready.
    • take entry image when prompted starting exam flow, ensuring entire face is visible, and approve it. 
      • Mock2 PE: I had completed ID flow correctly 1 day before. On starting browser, just had to take picture of face. Also had to check microphone working and speak my name into it.
    • if late due to exceptional circumstances, may still take exam, but need to supply evidence afterwards. You could still be disqualified afterwards.
      • Mock2: invigilators will not respond, so if you are late, you cannot start exam
    • unscheduled breaks (A,B,C,D2) only possible after 30 mins passed from official exam start time
    • inform invigilator via chat function:  “I take an unscheduled break” and “I’m back from the unscheduled break”
      • Mock2 PE and D: no active invigilation
    • may not take any material or docs from desk during unscheduled break. Cannot leave room or move out of camera view within first 30 mins of exam
      • Mock2 PE and D: no active invigilation
    CLICK FOR MORE

    Wednesday, January 27, 2021

    Converting a "paper" methodology to e-EQE digital

    Update 10 Feb 21: Ignacio Lobato Holtmann has created a Telegram group for fast exchange of eEQE questions, tips and info. He also proposes forming study groups for the next EQEs.
    Updated 30 Jan21 in purple.
    Thanks to Thomas Kimpfbeck - he held his "How to cope with the new online EQE" webinar on 21 Jan 20. He was one of the early testers of the WISEflow system, and he makes interesting points. But he did work with an earlier version, so I think one or two technical details have changed. The recording is available here.

    • Updated 4 Feb: read the official docs here: eEQE page and FAQ's page before testing and again before the exam. Many issues are already covered and they are updated regularly.

    Below, the things I found interesting in Thomas' webinar and my comments in blue:

    1. General

    • Use Wordpad in windows as a simple editor to practice exams digitally.
    • Learn to touch-type - quicker, less switching of attention, reduced neck strain
    • Focus on content
      • Agree. Marks are mostly given for answering the questions, coming to conclusions and showing how you applied the appropriate law to the correctly identified facts given in the exam.

    2. Hardware:

    • Notebook or laptop built-in screen is too small. Use an external monitor screen instead.
    • No other computers (or monitor screens) on the desk. 
      • no other electronic devices permitted unless explicitly allowed by Examination Secretariat in advance
    • Use a scroll mouse as you will need to scroll through your answer
    3. Software:
    • After browser starts, cannot access or view windows task bar
      • test audio and video before launching Lockdown browser (in operating system)
    4. Invigilation:
    • There will be an invigilator chat window
      • Zendesk - separate username and password. Login in Lockdown Browser under External Resources
    5. Lockdown Browser:
    • Avoid browser bugs:
      • don't select wrong language as you may have to start exam again!
      • max. 10 tabs to avoid crashing browser
    • Use scroll wheel on mouse instead of clicking on scroll bars
    • Use keyboard shortcuts instead of menus
      • No shortcut for jumping between tabs
    • Available CTRL-A, B, C, F, I, U, V, X, Y, Z 
      • CTRL-SHIFT-V pastes without formatting is also available
    • Use smaller fonts e.g. 8 pt and Headings 3, 4 in your answer to reduce scrolling
    • Use CTRL ↑ and ↓ to jump between paragraphs. CTRL ← and → to jump between words.
    • HOME and END keys jump to top or bottom of answer
    • It is possible to go back to an old version in Revisions tab
      • Try CTRL-Z first. This should only be for disasters, like realising that you deleted half your answer 5 minutes ago.
    • CTRL-F does not work in exam tabs
      • From Mock1, it looks like this does work, but not so well for all exams. Wait for Mock2 to see if anything is improved.
    • Use Table of Contents generated with headers to navigate through your long answer
      • I mentioned in the chat that my entries could not be clicked. Thomas did not have that problem - it worked on his computer.
    • Can use table function to compare text side by side
      • I would not use this. You will waste a lot of time working on this.
      • Also, they do not want to see tables as part of your answer as it is not always clear to the marker what you are trying to show. Better to write short arguments and conclusions.
    • EPO website accessible via external resources
      • EPO Legal Texts be available under external resources. 
      • Note: Pdf versions could not be opened in Mock1. There is an Advanced Search for html versions, but unclear if this will be available. Test it during Mock2.
    6. Converting a methodology on paper to e-EQE
    • You can highlight and format in your answer to help you navigate in your own answer
      • Don't waste time just formatting your answer to make it look good. It is the content that gets marks, and the marker understanding the context  of each statement correctly.
    CLICK BELOW FOR MORE

    Monday, January 25, 2021

    Don't forget to test e-EQE system (epi update)

    • Update 10 Feb 21: Ignacio Lobato Holtmann has created a Telegram group for fast exchange of eEQE questions, tips and info. He also proposes forming study groups for the next EQEs.
    • Mock2 was intended to test everything with a big load, so the flows will NOT be available later. 4 Feb & 5 Feb are the last chances to test YOUR system before the exam, so login as much as possible. If logging in late, use invigilator password is: xyz 
    • Updated 3 Feb 21: I have collected crash & restart issues here in a separate post
    Updated 30 Jan 21 in purple.
    Just received this urgent e-mail from the epi:

    • The EQE will take place from 1 to 5 March 2021.
    • As you know, the EQE will be held virtually this year. You must already connect to the e-EQE platform called Wiseflow, in order to anticipate and solve possible technical difficulties. For example, it will not be possible to use more than one computer screen during the EQE:
    • Please note that if candidates are not able to log on to the system correctly on the day of the exam, all the time and effort spent preparing for the exam may have been wasted!
    • Candidates can access and test the system as often as they want. The system is permanently available.
    • To give you the best possible chance of passing this exam, EQE secretariat together with epi offers to accompany you:
      • Mock 1: is intended for candidates to test their equipment and get acquainted with the examination environment. Candidates can access and test the system as often as they want. The system is permanently available only until February 28, 2021: to train on the e-EQE 'Wiseflow' exam access platform
      • Mock 2: is only accessible in the “Wiseflow” system from 2 to 5 February 2021, under simulated examination conditions (days and times). The papers and model solutions will be available for free on the epi-learning platform (epi-learning.org) for all EQE candidates in the three official languages of the EPO after each Mock 2 examination paper.
      • Note: Mock 2 Pre-Exam available on 1 Feb 21 (not made by epi)
      • No registration needed! More information around the eEQE preparation is available here.
      • Note: You will need to record your e-EQE reference photo first in WISEflow, (from 29-01-21 14:00). Max. 1 hr after starting, so make sure camera etc. is all working first.
    • Candidates who wish to have more insights can register and book with epi a package (costs 60 EUR per paper for epi students, 80 EUR per paper for non epi students,).
    • The package includes:
      1. videos wherein epi tutors explain the model solution; the videos will be available on epi-learning.org after each Mock 2 paper
      2. access to a forum at epi learning platform for questions around the Mock 2; available from 2 to 26 February 2021
      3. the possibility to attend live Q&A sessions with epi tutors (English only); from 8 to 18 February 2021
    • Registration for the epi package is available here.
    • Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the epi Education Team.

    Best regards / Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincères salutations

    Education Team, epi - European Patent Institute, education@patentepi.org | www.patentepi.org

    Tel: +49 89 242052-250 | Fax: +49 89 242052-220

    Russell IP EQE Webinars 2021 now available

    This was a great initiative - Russell IP hosted almost 10 hours of free tutoring last week, primarily for candidates affected by the cancellation of  EQE 2020. From across Europe and further afield, almost 400 candidates attended the five webinars.

    Recordings of the webinars, copies of the presentations, and several templates are now available on the Russell IP website (with kind permission from the tutors).

    I add my thanks to everyone involved - it is not easy to find time to do this. But a little support makes a big difference to candidates in this challenging year!

    Jointly initiated and coordinated by Iain Russell (Russell IP) & Guy Warner (Unilever). Tutors: Pre-Exam – Jonathan Hewett & Kathryn Rose (Venner Shipley LLP); A & B - Guy Warner (Unilever) & Iain Russell (Russell IP); C – Paul Beynon (Appleyard Lees IP LLP); D – Kirsty Simpson (Venner Shipley LLP) & Gemma Wooden (EIP).

    Friday, January 15, 2021

    e-EQE update - 14 Jan 21 - still some rough edges

    Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona
    Update 10 Feb 21: Ignacio Lobato Holtmann has created a Telegram group for fast exchange of eEQE questions, tips and info. He also proposes forming study groups for the next EQEs.
    Mock2 was intended to test everything with a big load, so the flows will NOT be available later. 4 Feb & 5 Feb are the last chances to test YOUR system before the exam, so login as much as possible. If logging in late, use invigilator password is: xyz 
    Updated 3 Feb 21: I have collected crash & restart issues here in a separate post
    Updated 30 Jan 21 in purple. Updated 27 Jan in red. Updated: 19 Jan 21 in blue. 
    On 14 Jan 21, 820 people followed an EPO/epi public webinar updating us on e-EQE. 75 tutors then followed a smaller session. Panelists answered questions supplied in advance, and also those submitted in the chat, including a lot of mine (thanks for that :-). 
    Panelists: Xavier Seuba (EPO: Director Patent Academy and EQE),  Christoph Machwirth (EPO Head of EQE Secretariat), Simone Fausti (EPO Project Manager e-EQE), Tiem Reijns (epi Project Team e-EQE), Julia Gwilt (epi Chair of Professional Education Committee), Jens Horstmannshoff (EPO Project Team e-EQE). 

    Thanks to the panelists for taking the time to do this. A good opportunity to discuss where we are, to find out what will remain as-is and what could be changed or improved. Most important - don't expect big changes in the interface, try the system out extensively, find a way to deal with features that you miss, and get your room & computer ready.

    General points

    • Official EQE docs with official requirements are available here. Also check FAQs. Read them in detail before testing and again before the exam.
    • Surprising: only 30% of candidates have tried Mock1.  Not only to test the exam system, but also your own IT setup. All candidates have received mail from helpdesk@eqe.org about participating (check spam filters)
      • Use this opportunity to try it. Do it this weekend. You don't need to complete all the exams, but you need to enroll in WISEflow, look at the interface and start the different flows (exams). You have never worked in this system before. Everything about it is different. Starting the LockDown browser will also check your hardware/software compatibility (all except camera). 
      • Second email with participation passwords is from noreply@wiseflow.net. I did not get it for some reason, but I got from a candidate. They are the same for everybody. Send me an email or message if you want to know it.
    • Passwords: one for WISEflow itself, a participation one for each flow and one for Zendesk. Invigilator password for each flow only provided if you start late, and only in very limited situations.
      • I raised this as you lose access to emails when you are trying to start browser, and you have no phone. No guarantee of anything changing at this stage, but they agreed to look whether each candidate could use same password for the flows. Print them out and stick it to your monitor.
    • Recording of public part of 1st webinar now available on EPO website
    • There was a 2nd one on 28 Jan 21, and one more planned for 11 Feb 21. Submit questions to helpdesk@epo.org. If you sign up for new webinars, also submit questions during sign-up.
    • epi has been heavily involved behind the scenes, including epi tutors making Mock2 exams. Specifically mentioned were efforts by Tiem Reijns & Katerina Hartvichova.
    • Reference photo with ID must be registered before the exam using the dedicated flow in WISEflow. Max. 1 hr, so check that camera is working before starting
    1. Location for exam

    • No restriction on location. Not necessary to inform EPO of where you take it, or if you change location. With WISEflow, everything is stored online, so you can even change to a different computer. Flexibility built-in as impossible to tell what COVID restrictions will be in March.
      • Flexibility in location seems to have dictated a lot of the other requirements, such as splitting the exam and no unscheduled breaks in PE and D1.
      • Looking at the current lockdowns, this was a very wise idea
    • Must be closed room. Must be alone and no-one can enter during exam. No-one can look in and see your screen (glass walls, panels or windows must be covered). Camera will monitor during exam, so area behind candidate should be neutral in color with no bright light sources such as windows. Also no pictures on wall behind you with faces
    • My note: your face needs to be well lit, particularly if you have darker skin. 
    • Only allowed electronic equipment in room specified in exam requirements - computer, monitor, camera, speaker, microphone. Either internal or external (wired) allowed. Printer & router also allowed in room. No other electronic devices permitted unless explicitly allowed by Examination Secretariat in advance. Food, drink and medicines allowed.
    • Put a Quiet / Do Not Disturb sign on your door. You don't want calling you, knocking or trying to come in. Preferably lock the door from the inside.
    • If relevant, reserve time before each exam to print. If relevant, reserve toilet.
    • Ensure no noise in background, like music or TV, or smart speakers
    • My note: a video scan of room can be required before each exam. Not mentioned (yet) in official EQE docs
      • Advice from a lawyer was to perform your own scan just before you put your phone away before the exam starts. Preferably time stamped videos and/or pictures.
    CLICK BELOW FOR MORE

    Friday, January 8, 2021

    eEQE Mock1 - Experience & Tips - A, B & C

    Updated 28 Jan 21 with comments from eEQE FAQs
    Updated 27 Jan 21: see post on using digital functionality more during exam.
    Based on Mock1, C seems doable with 2 papers practice - it is a struggle to deal with such a long answer in a single view, so you really need to be organised. The claims are short, so I just copied the features onto paper.
    I could do this paper A within the 4 hours, but I know this paper quite well and it is relatively straightforward.  Not having the letter slows you down - in paper A, you cannot just make one pass and use everything, you have to keep going back to the letter, and there is no way to mark what I have used or not used. Each paper is very different (like a real client's letter), so you cannot prepare any detailed templates beforehand to help organise. Luckily, you can copy claim language into your answer when you see it - fortunately, with A, the claims are most of the marks and with the combined technology papers, you get a lot of claim language in the current papers. 
    B took me an extra 30 minutes. Very hard to do online - there are a lot of  pages you dont have. You need to compare a lot, so it is easy to miss something when clicking on the different tabs. It took me a long time as I had to double check a lot of things. More time would help, but I would prefer to be able to print everything. Or have everything except the claims as filed and the clients claims (consistent with C). Also, a simple way should be provided for including an amended set of claims - in real life, the EPO will only accept very minor amendments without such a claim set (GL H-III, 2.2). The main thing to remember in Paper B is that the clients letter and claims are telling you the direction to go in - if you follow that, but not blindly, you may not need to read everything in detail 

    Important is to find the way that is most efficient for you that results in the fewest mistakes. Concentrate on the content (as before) and dont be distracted by additional possibilities to make your answers look nice. Feel free to distribute any materials as long as you indicate the source. There is a separate post for PE and D with many general comments which still hold. I have only repeated the most relevant here.

    Hardware - see PE & D post. 27inch external monitor 1280x1080

    Software - see PE & D post

    General plus points:

    • See PE & D post.  
    • When starting Lockdown Browser, it detected that Windows Update was active, giving the chance to stop and turn it off :-)
    • Can open many tabs of assignments, zoom and search in them, allowing separate views of pages or parts of pages. But max. 10 tabs in total visible for 27 inch screen.
    General minus points:
    • See PE & D post
    • If something goes wrong (interface freezes) you may have to reset your whole computer. There are some invigilator options in the main tab for saving and printing that can be activated with the Invigilator Password. If you are viewing a different tab, click (i) in browser, select "Proctor Exit", and then enter Invigilator Password to exit.
    • For A, B, C no highlighting. For pages only available on-screen, impossible to keep track of what you used or noticed. For B, it is a lot to have visible in the tabs.
    • Multiple tabs cannot be named or viewed side-by-side
    • Bug 1: max of 9 additional tabs (in addition to main tab). If you open 11th tab (10th additional tab), browser freezes and PC must be rebooted. It is also possible to click (i) in browser, select "Proctor Exit", and then enter Invigilator Password to exit.
    • Bug 2: with smaller screens (14 inch), tabs can be opened but not accessed as they are off screen. Max. 6 tabs visible on 14 inch screen. 
    • Only one view of your answer available, so for long answers (A, B, C) you may need to scroll around.

    Tips - ME A, B, C

      • See PE & D post
      • Use separate online tabs for at least the non-printable pages. For A and C, can use 1 tab for each non-printable page. For B, too many pages, so can group into 1-2 tabs per document. With a 27-inch screen, full page view is easily readable. But max. 10 tabs allowed.
      • For copy/paste in tabs, try selecting bottom up instead of top down before copying
      • CTRL keys work in answer - A, C, X, V, B, U, I etc. "Shift+arrow" works for selection
      • CTRL A, C work in assignment tab
      • CTRL F works for find in assignment tab, or find/replace in answer
      • CTRL Z, Y work for undo, redo
      • CTRL-SHIFT V also works to paste in answer without formatting
      • Use one or two heading types in answer (Heading3 or Heading4) - this allows you to click on headings in Table of Contents to quickly jump (this worked the first time I used it, but when I went back the clicking did not work anymore).
      • To reduce risk of copying wrong details to paper overviews, read assignment in tabs and select dates or facts (as if you were going to copy) before you not them so that you do not lose your place, making it easier to double check.
      • You don't need complete sentences - answers can be given bullet-style to reduce scrolling.
      Suggested improvements:
      • See PE & D post
      • ME: fix the bug that more than 10 tabs requires a reboot.
      • ME: as a general rule, a maximum of 4 pages should be available only on the screen. Any more is to difficult to read when they are in separate tabs.
      • ME: allow 2-4 assignment tabs (which allowing selection & copying) to be displayed side-by-side in a single view.
      • A: Provide all exam to print or give extra time
      • B: Provide all exam to print or give extra time. Possibly compromise: only claims as filed and client claims are unprintable.
      • B: Provide format to include claim set showing amendments
      • ME: allow text-only appendices to be defined and inserted into answer. These would allow different sections of answer to be visible in different tabs. This would help the most in C as the answer is very long. But max. nr of allowed tabs needs to be increased.
      • ME: make sure hyperlinks in Table of Contents work reliably
      CLICK BELOW FOR MORE ABOUT A, B, & C