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
2. Hardware

  • Recommend: use wired connections for peripherals and network (no wifi or Blutooth)
  • Phone may be used as backup network hotspot, but it must be preconfigured, registered on your computer, and outside the room during the exam. 
    • Test this as well. Someone commented that it might not work automatically.
  • Short internet interruptions in internet are handled by the system. If internet is down for a long time, it will be flagged in the system. You cannot leave the room to reset your router, for example. Router is allowed on your desk.
  • Recommend: if possible only connect what you need - one camera, one speaker, one microphone. This avoids confusion about what is being used.
  • No headphones or earphones or earplugs
  • Printer: allowed in room or on desk. But cannot print after LockDown browser has started.
  • Screen: can be any size, but only one. Recommend: plug in before starting LockDown browser as the resolution etc. is used to set up the browser views.
    • I tried - if you change screens during exam, the scaling is completely off and you need to restart the browser.
    • Use 27-inch or larger. A laptop/tablet screen is usually too small. Most modern TV's can also be used as a screen with a HDMI cable and you will have speakers. You just need to be able to place the webcam on top or underneath. But if you use external screen, you also need an external webcam.
  • Doc holder can reduce tiredness due to looking up and down. Some are like a small sloped table, some are more vertical on the desk and some clip to the side of your monitor. You may have to move it if you have to scan your desk before the exam.
  • Camera: no particular requirements - any webcam will work. But it must be in front of you whole exam, either above or below your screen and capture your whole face. Cannot use your phone. No more than 5cm away from screen.
    • If you need to buy one, choose one suitable for EPO video conferencing (HD 720p or above). Some have a camera mount, so you can mount them anywhere. 
    • Available with integrated microphone.
    • My suggestion: have a long enough camera cable to look 360 degrees around room, desk area, monitor and under desk (no info yet if scan required during EQE)

3. Software

  • Recommend: reboot computer before exam. Close all other windows and applications before starting.
    • If doing it on an existing PC, I recommend making a new user account just for this exam. This separates it from your other programs, and the setup you do now will not be affected by installations by other users. 
  • Recommend: have administrator whitelist LockDown browser, so that it can run with administrator privileges. This is solution used at EPO.
    • I could not find a simple way to do this on Win10. But if you have the administrator password, you can enter it when the browser starts.
  • Some technical support may be available during exam, but you avoid using it by testing as much as possible yourself. Contacting support will also waste exam time.
  • Test audio and video before starting LockDown Browser (use options provided in operating system)
  • turn off screensavers and power saving
  • accept all cookies at WISEflow login
  • Answers to some technical issues: Respondus Technical Support

4. Timing

  • Recommend: log in to WISEFlow at least 1 hr before exam starts. This gives you time to sort things out if something is not working.
    • In old days, a lot of people were present 1 hr before the exam. 
    • You can theoretically use any computer to log-in, but you do not want to waste time setting everything up again and connecting it.
  • Print everything before starting flows - no printing during exam
  • Use the toilet.
  • When flow is available, enter immediately
  • Theoretically possible to start late due to exceptional circumstances, may still take exam, but need to supply evidence afterwards. You could still be disqualified afterwards.
  • Even if allowed, you will be wasting time requesting invigilator password.
  • At end of exam, you can download a copy of your answer.
  • Splitting exams into parts done for security reasons, and to allow breaks. Splitting of A and B considered, but not feasible for these exams. Extra time given to compensate for not being able to freely divide exam time.
  • No additional time given for A and B. Exam committees are aware of limitations, and are taking it into account. They are convinced that the digital advantages (typing/searching/copying etc) outweigh any disadvantages. This applies to the group of candidates as a whole, and not to each individuals - if you are a slow typist, you can improve with a few days with daily exercises. 
  • No unscheduled breaks to leave the room during PE parts (4x 70 mins) and D1 parts (2x 90 mins). This to be sure that you have no contact with others to discuss the exam. If you leave room, you must first hand in your exam.
    • I think most people can deal with this. You can choose the location so that you can go to the toilet just before the exam.
    • cannot leave room or move out of camera view within first 30 mins of exam, even if you hand-in paper early
  • During D2, A, B and C parts, you may leave the room to take short unscheduled breaks. 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”
  • 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, even if you hand-in paper early

5. Invigilation

  • Updated 3 Feb 21: I have collected crash & restart issues here in a separate post
  • Test audio and video before starting LockDown Browser (use options provided in operating system). Audio verification required before you can access the flow.
  • Entry picture (Reference) made of your face and ID - this must be in front of a neutral background. Recommended is to use exam setup with same camera perspective and background.
  • 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
  • Face, including ears, must be visible to camera during exam. Don’t wear baseball caps or hats with brims, or hoodies that cover your ears.
  • Images, sound will be processed by AI, and flagged to human invigilator. AI does not take decisions.
  • Cannot leave room or move out of camera view within first 30 mins of exam
  • From Reddit: not a problem if you move out of range briefly, or turn your head briefly. The system will warn you that it can no longer detect you properly. If you then return, you can just carry on. All the "incidents" are stored and may be reviewed later by a real person to see if something strange was happening. If it takes too long, or strange sounds are detected (the system is supposed to cope with external background noises like cars honking, dogs barking etc), a real person will speak with you to see what is going on (that is why you need speakers)
  • Likely: no standing up, wandering around, or speaking out loud
  • Gaze is tracked, so AI system may also generate an event if you are not looking at the screen or you desk repeatedly or for a long time. Don’t wear sunglasses.
    • eyewear allowed but only for correcting or aiding vision
  • A video scan of room can be required before each exam - no info (yet) if EQE will require
    • I have asked helpdesk to clarify. But suggest you have a long enough camera cable to look 360 degrees around room, desk area, monitor and under desk.
  • Likely but not yet confirmed: no bags or backpacks under desks, no bags or pencil cases on desk
  • If something strange happens that is likely detected, type a note in the invigilator chat window explaining (or speak to the camera so that it is recorded. 
    • one site also recommended sending a report after the exam with more explanation

6. Paper C

  • Part 1 will comprise the application and (most or all) the prior art, and some claims. So the first part should be spent reading the claims, application, prior art and attacking the claims. 
  • Part 2 will be a different invention from same application, possibly with 1 extra prior art.
  • Exam committee will decide how marks are awarded per part
    • This is actually an advantage to candidates - they have the flexibility to reduce the weighting for parts done badly or not at all by most candidates. But you have to try and finish each part - don't get stuck one one attack. So in Part 1, attack all the claims at least once and do all novelty attacks. Don't run out of time doing a 3rd inventive step attack on claim 1.
  • In the break, you will need to print again for Part 2. All printable docs will be available (including those from part 1). Cannot go back to Part 1 during Part 2.

7. LockDown Browser

  • Highlighting of assignment not available (except in D1). It cannot be implemented before exam. They mentioned that committees have taken the limitations into account, but would not give any details as it concerns the contents of the exams. 
  • I know most of the panelists - based on changes made before considered "impossible" (True/False for Pre-Exam, combining AB technologies, etc), you can trust that they have seriously adapted the exams to take into account. 
    • Speculating, they could reduce the non-printable pages. Paper A & B often have sections where the client/application explains prior art, background, basic principles, terminology - this could be moved to prior art pages. For the Mock 1 papers that would reduce the non-printable parts by about 2 pages in each. Mock2 will be closer to the expected exam format, so we should be able to see a difference with Mock1.
    • Speculating, they could also sort the information better, so that you dont have to jump around in the story (A, DII). They could annotate the drawings, or include a reference number list with the drawings. They could similarly improve presentation of the information in B. They could shorten the paragraphs, use more bullet styles, to make it easier to read on the screen. 
    • I hope the changes are visible in Mock2, but they will be mostly modified older papers. 
    • But it makes it hard to practice as you have no idea what to expect. I can only suggest looking at the things you will definitely have (making notes on paper, copying into your answer) and reduce your reliance on highlighting. 
    • If you are using a lot of highlighting on paper, think about whether it really helps you. It is sometimes just a habit. If you are using multiple colors, you are probably wasting time deciding which color to use. When reading an exam, you do not always know what is important to highlight and what not. Is there an alternative way to briefly note things on paper?
  • One option available is to copy parts into your answer and apply formatting there
    • Use CTRL-SHIFT-V to paste without html formatting
    • I would try to avoid this - you think you are growing your answer, but there are no marks for just including exam pieces - the marks are for the context given to the pieces. 
    • You can still refer to paragraphs of the exam: for example, <include [0020] here unamended> to keep your answer short. 
    • Think critically about why you are doing it. Be aware of how much time this costs, and the difficulty you will have with an extra long answer. Do it mainly for parts you will need in your answer. 
    • I would also avoid too much formatting, like italics, colors, automatically numbered lists, different indents. Keep it simple - the statements must be clear, and the context clear, so headings can be useful and save time as everything underneath it is related to that heading.
  • Bugs that cannot be fixed before the exam:
    • Opening more than 10 tabs will crash the browser and require exam restart - don't do it.
    • If you select wrong language (EN/FR/DE) when opening preview or separate tab, you cannot change it. It is possible to refresh browser, but you will have to start exam again!
  • They are aware of the copy/paste problems when copying parts of the exam into the answer. They are trying to improve, but there is no guarantees that this can be fixed before the exam.

8. Other points

  • Test your system with Mock1 as soon as possible. Preferably, you want to have a fixed setup that you can also use for Mock2 and in the days before the exam.
    • Most people will not have a separate computer for the exam, but reserve time at least a week before the exam to set everything up and make sure it all works. You need to be self-reliant in preparing the necessary hardware and software.
  • Mock2: will use new exams or adapted old one (prepared by epi)
  • Candidates will get invitation for Mock2. Tutors can still get access to Mock1.
    • From epi.org: "Tutors who want access to Mock 2 have to register before next Wednesday, 20 Jan 21. All tutors who already have access to Mock 1, will automatically get access to Mock 2. They do not need to apply again. Send your first name, family name, email address to sadia.liebig@patentepi.org
  • Calendars for PE and D will be made available, possibly before the exam.
  • "External resources" button within browser currently only links to the EPO eEQE FAQ. This is only for mocks. They are looking at providing some legal references, but this cannot be guaranteed. And if they are provided, they will not be searchable. They will announce in advance if any documents will be available, and which ones..
    • They are looking at the legal documents specified in REE, like Guidelines, EPC, National Law etc. I requested that they also include the WIPO official printable Applicants Guide.

9. Medical exemption

  • This was not discussed, but in general for the EQE, if you have a medical condition that may conflict with any of the requirements, you should let the EQE secretariat know with a doctors letter. 
    • They are pretty strict about what they will accept, but there may be new issues that you hadn't thought of. For example, if you need to have a medical device on your desk, if you will not be able to remain seated in front of the camera, if you cannot remain in the room for 90 minutes, if you have to wear something on your face, if you use hearing aids etc.  Have the doctors letter with you during the exam.
10. Future plans
  • I asked them about how this will develop in the future. The only comment was that they plan to stay digital - they do not see us going back to paper. COVID only accelerated the change that was being planned. 
    • I think on balance the change will be positive. It is a huge challenge this year, but eEQE will open up opportunities for new, flexible, testing regimes in the future.

78 comments:

  1. Hi Pete, thanks for your post, much appreciated. I note your comment about medical conditions and curious about this seeing as I am a person who is hard of hearing and therefore wear a hearing aid. I had put a question to the panel if the AI system would pick up a hearing aid in an image and mistake this for an earphone/earplug etc. which the panel says folks are not allowed to wear - I didn't get an answer during the webinar and based on the above it looks like I should definitely get a letter from my doctor to inform them that I am an hearing aid wearer - madness really but better safe than sorry I suppose.

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    1. I added that because a lot of things that could be checked and demonstrated in person before are now checked by AI. It is better to let them know now, than either be excluded on the day of the exam or be accused of cheating.
      They compare behaviour with a majority of candidates, so if you are in a "minority" in any way (visual, tactile or audible) that might be picked up.
      And more things can be considered as "suspicious". I have seen reports of people being flagged in different systems by looking around, move around, stand up, move their lips when reading, etc.
      Or having a pet come into the room.
      And I don't know how they will deal with religious head coverings.
      I assume the Mock2 will include the proctoring, so that can also be tested.

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    2. I wrote a mail to the EQE helpdesk to ask about hearing aids. Apparently the AI can deal with it, but you are advised to send in information about the hearing aids you are wearing (e.g. model, link to page of the manufacturer, etc.).

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  2. I just saw this on LinkedIN: e-EQE - How to cope with the new online European Qualification Exam on 21 Jan 1730-1800. I don't know Thomas, but he will specifically talk about the WISEFlow system. I will try to join as well.

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    1. Thomas was one of the early testers of the WISEflow system, and he make some interesting points. He worked with an earlier version, so I think some of the technical details may have changed.
      The recording is available here.

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  3. A possible reason for only 30% from Radovan Cechvala on LI: "Well I am not quite sure the purpose of Mock 1 was properly explained by EPO. I have so far not attended Mock 1 so not to "spoil" the paper and to leave it very late before the exam. I am quite surprised it is rather intended to be a "test" for the setup. Perhaps they should have name it a "Mock" but "Test Exam" in order not to confuse attendees."

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    1. I know why it is only 30%. I fought with IT for 2 weeks to get someone to help me. THEN, I have to have a bloody IT password just to launch the browser. I can't do this, and I am desparate and stressed out - it isn't working. I spoke to friends at lawfirms with the same issue, but they have small firms and got IT passwords. I work at a 50k person company. I DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO.

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    2. Hi Leigh, the solution they used at the EPO (which has very high security) was to whitelist the browser. You could ask helpdeask@epo.org to put you in contact with an IT expert, either at WISEflow or at the EPO.
      If you are using a work computer at work on the normal network, it might be difficult to get an exception arranged. Is there any way to:
      - use a personal laptop at work?
      - connect to internet at work via the guest network?
      - take the exam at home?

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    3. Thanks, Pete, this is obviously very stressful. At home, I have one room that has a white wall with no desk and out of reach of wifi. All other rooms are way too busy. Plus, I have no printer. So, either I have to go out, buy myself a new PC and a new printer, I guess try to make a white wall? All of this is just causing delays when I'd like to practice on the software. I've spent the weekend studying, and I have a full time job, too, and I have to deal with IT. I am sure others have the same stress.

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    4. ... and by setting up at home you may encounter other problems. I will post if I find something relevant.
      The solution used at the EPO itself should be acceptable to most IT departments. They have hundreds of examiners doing the EQE - I assume many will do it in their offices at the different sites.

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  4. Did anybody mentioned about the time required for the exams. It was oversubscribed so I couldn't log in to the EPO webinar the other day.

    For Mock 1 - I find that the time given was NOT sufficient to complete any of the papers, especially for DII, Paper C and Paper B.

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    1. Two aspects came up - digital offers advantages to those who type faster than write, and you can copy/paste parts of the exam (which they are trying to improve). So, for A and B, they considered the time sufficient.
      Lack of highlighting was also discussed. They said that the papers have been adapted to take into account the limitations. When I asked what they had done, they would not go into detail. From my experience with changes in the exam before, when they respond like this, you can believe that they have changed things and have taken this seriously. I also know most of the panelists, so I have been through this before.
      As I mentioned, they could reduce the length of the unprintable parts. They can also sort the information better, so that you dont have to jump around in the story (A, DII). They could annotate the drawings, or include a reference number list with the drawings. They could similarly improve presentation of the information in B. They could also shorten the paragraphs, use more bullet styles, to make it easier to read on the screen. I hope the changes are visible in Mock2, but they will be mostly modified older papers.
      But it makes it hard to practice as you have no idea what to expect. I can only suggest looking at the things you will definitely have (making notes on paper, copying into your answer) and reduce your reliance on highlighting.
      C is really hard because of the way they split it - normally, it is better to read prior art after reading the claims, so you know what you need - for Part 2 , you cannot do it. Again, for example, they could do a lot to sort the info so that it is in more logical places.
      I don't know why they will not say what they have changed - probably, the changes are not completely finalised yet and they are trying different things. One advantage of an e-EQE is that the papers don't need to be printed in December, so they can still change things like formatting.

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    2. Whilst I am in general agreement to move the EQE online, i am (and I believe alot of candidates too) are not happy with this format. The admin burden on candidates is enormous. This should not be the job of candidates. You have mentioned advantages of an online system which I do agree. However, there are limitations such as longer hours staring at a screen and it has been proven that concentrations is significantly affected when looking at the screen for long periods. Obviously, it is also unhealthy to keep staring at the screen.

      I don't see why the EPO can't just give 10-20 minutes break for A and B. Surely the health and safety of candidates should be considered better. I don't believe it is good enough to say that there is nothing they can do for A and B.

      L

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    3. I should clarify to say that I agree to move EQEs online but not using this wiseflow software. They need to come up with something simpler and more flexible with better functionality for candidates.

      L

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    4. Unfortunately for existing candidates, this has created new criteria for passing the EQE - comfortable working completely digitally and enough IT knowledge to setup your system, and fix any problems.
      You will need these skills as the world has also changed (EPO with only video conf for oral proceedings, remote working, remote learning, remote exams etc). But to change in a few weeks is a lot to ask.
      So there will be a large group who do better, and some who do worse. The best solution would be local test centers who have everything set up, but if they had implemented that, the EQE would likely be cancelled again.

      I was hoping that they would improve the system before the exam, but any changes are likely to be minor. Likely that the copy/paste and searching will be improved as that is related to the generation of the pdf's. You will just have to make the best of it.

      Do as much testing as possible with Mock1 and Mock2. Be on time at the exam. Whenever the exam changes, they normally reduce the complexity, and are more flexible in what gets marks. So read the instructions given (they may be different to previous years) and type as much as answer as you can so they have enough to mark and they understand your answer - dont spend a lot of time thinking about what the desired solution is - pick a direction, and finish it off. That gives you the best chance of passing.

      For the screen breaks, you will have to arrange that yourself. For the paper that is printed, read on paper.

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  5. Hi Pete

    thanks for the blog. I've tried mock1 and opened the assignment but it was upside down with English over German text. opening on a separate page helped, but then there is one page with the assignment and one page for the anwser: how can I have both next to eachother?
    this was really annoying.
    Also, I've tried 3 computers and 3 different browsers to download the Lockdown software, also quite stressful - happy to have done it now ..
    ellen

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    1. Hi Ellen, the only side-by-side possibility is with the preview window you opened.
      You have to select the correct language under "Select Assignment" before opening. You can also navigate to a page here as well using the left/right buttons before opening the preview.
      Once opened, if the text looks strange, scroll down to the bottom of the preview window, and click on the left/right buttons. If you go to a different page and then go back, the text should look better. This is a known bug.
      Unfortunately, you cannot search or copy form the preview widow - for that, you must open the assignment in a tab. Also a known problem.

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    2. Hi Pete, the same thing happened to me and no matter how many times I clicked the left/right arrows, an upside down German version of a paper that should have been English kept popping up. Interestingly, the French and German versions popped out into a separate window just fine but unfortunately I can’t read those languages very well. I just hope this doesn’t happen on the day.

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  6. Another thing is: when opening the FLowlock my browser instructed me to close other applications,including the browser itself!
    So Icouldprepare my anwser and hand it in,but could no longer make a cover pagesince the browser was closed.
    upon re-entry into Wiseflow,my handed in anwser was indeed there .But how will the EPOknowit is mine?

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    1. You don't need a cover page - the system knows you from the WISEflow log-in, and it knows which exams you are allowed to be making.
      You should not fill in your name in the answer, as it must be anonymous.

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  7. This whole "neutral background" requirement is a) vague and b) not realistic. No windows can be understood, but how are people supposed to change the background of their workplace at home to a "neutral background"? There is furniture and other stuff in people's homes - it is not like many people will have suddenly an extra room designed specifically for the EQE at hand. Of course one can try to have as little stuff there as possible, but people cannot be expected to remove their couch, or bed, or whatever else is there.

    However, I also do not think that this can have any effect on admissibility of ones exam submission. After all, there is human invigilation and the situation can be judged on a case by case basis. I suppose the EPO would just generally like to have their system run more easily. If an exam were considered failed due to a "non-neutral background", no way this would stand in an appeal.

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    1. They are a little late with some of these things. Preferably you should have a wall behind you - I presume it will be tested during Mock2. I dont know what will happen if there is a room behind you.

      You cannot say what will happen in an appeal. It takes a long time, and most people lose.

      I saw a tip online to document (time stamped videos / photos) your workspace before the exam (before you put away your phone) in case there is some conflict or discussion later on.

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    2. I am hanging a big blanket over the furniture behind me, since it has glassed doors. Altogether is just stressing, honestly. The non printing of claims in B or the applications still makes me sick. How crazy is it? I also got fired out of mock I due to "repeated pressing of four keys on mouse or mousepad". I still don't get what happened , but the fact is that i could not log off, or restart, or write an answer or anything. During that time, i had been just reading and writing on paper sheets! I felt sort of depressed. What if that happens on the real examination? My pc and its mouspad are now under the table. By the way, it is our dinner table. My appartment is small. It's not a fair system, our conditions are so far from ideal. Good luck everyone!

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  9. From epi.org: Tutors who want to have access to the Mock 2 have to register before next Wednesday, 20 January 2021.
    All tutors who already have access to Mock 1, will automatically get access to Mock 2. They do not need to apply again. Send your first name, family name, email address to sadia.liebig@patentepi.org

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  10. Dear Pete, this is all really useful, thank you. I opened the flow several times, as I tried a paper in more steps, to get used to the software etc.. I selected the paper in English the first time, but when I opened the browser again, only the German version was shown, even while choosing the English one again and again. I had to exit the flow two more times, before English was shown upon selection again. I hope this doesn't happen during the exam.

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    1. Thanks. I think I had something similar one time as well. I hope we will see some of these things improved in Mock2. Send any bugs to helpdesk@eqe.org.

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    2. The "problem" occurs if you click in the browser window on the assignment thumbnail to preview it before selecting the correct language. The default on start is German.
      So first select the correct language using the menu at the top of the thumbnail assignment window. After that, it should be correct.
      If you still have the problem, there is a refresh button in the browser - this is supposed to let you then choose the language.

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  11. Only one monitor allowed. Other monitors are electronic devices, so disallowed.

    How easy it will become to arrange a room without windows? Toilet is at least such one as well as cleaning closet. Are there any other windowless rooms?

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    1. The software only allows one monitor to be used, so if you have a second monitor on your desk which is not being used, you should remove it.
      The rules are that there should not be a window (or light source) behind you for the facial recognition.
      You can have a window if no-one can look in, so if you are not on the ground floor, it will not be a problem. Some offices have glass walls - that is not allowed.
      If you have curtains or blinds you can close within the room, and you cannot reach them without getting up from your desk, then it should also be fine.
      Don't forget - they monitor where you are looking during the exam and for sounds in the room.

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    2. So curtains covering a glass wall is ok?

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    3. I don't know - I suggest you ask helpdesk@eqe.org. It may depend on what is on the other side, as well. If it is an office with people, they may stricter.
      I have also sent them an e-mail with this and other questions.

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    4. Hi - I have just seen this thread. I am planning on taking my exam in the office in the conference room, which has a glass wall - will this not be allowed? On the other side of the glass wall is the office, which is obviously a bigger closed room. There will be no-one else in the room (or the office in general) with me, I will be the only person there - will this be allowed? Additionally, the office has "timed" lights, so will turn off after X amount of no activity, so I will need to move my arms about at somepoint to put them back on. Do you think this is not going to be allowed? Thanks for any advice you can provide.

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    5. Unfortunately, they mentioned this explicitly recently during the webinar - no glass walls. I have asked, but no response yet except that they are collecting questions and it will be dealt with later). This is a chaotic way to distribute this important information.
      As you note, a lot of conference rooms have them.

      I don't think they will accept it if there is an office on the other side. They cannot monitor that space with the microphone, and it is not allowed to be behind you in view. I think if you covered it on the inside, or put some kind of screen or curtain which is not in arms reach, it should be allowed. If you can leave the door open to the rest of the office, then they can theoretically detect someone coming in. Ask the helpdesk@eqe.org, but also ask whether some alternatives like that would be accepted.

      The other thing that is not mentioned is whether you need to record the room before the exam. This might be difficult if you are using a laptop in a dock, for example (I just sent an email to ask).

      If you can trigger the lights without getting up, it should be no problem waving your arms. From what I have found about Respondus on Reddit, if you leave the face detection area or there is an issue with detection, you get an automatic warning to go back into position.

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    6. Perhaps you can put paper over the glass wall?

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    7. Hi Leigh, I don't see why they should not accept the paper (or curtains or screen) solution if the paper is inside. Otherwise, there will be almost nowhere where you can take the exam.
      I hope they clarify this soon.

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  12. Dear Pete,
    first, thanks a lot for your informative posts!

    Regarding the requirement of a closed room. Can it be of any shape if it is an enclosed space without open doors and without people in it? I am planning to do the exam in my kitchen which is open without a door to the hallway. The hallway is technically not a room, but from the writing position it would not be possible to see if someone is hiding there when turning the camera around.

    I presume network equipment such as a router is allowed in the room. How about electronic kitchen appliances?

    Are there any restrictions on how close you must be to the camera? For instance, is it allowed to have a big desk/or two desks side by side? E.g., a first work area (desk) where you have put the print outs for analysing them and a second work area (desk) with the computer and screen for writing the response.

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    1. I hope it helps.
      Unfortunately, the online exam vendors don't publish much about what the invigilators check for or how they check. As they are allowing you to take it anywhere, I think they will be flexible in requirements about room shape.
      They will mainly check that you are not looking away a lot in strange directions or making noises.
      I think you will have problems if you are a long way from the camera - the recognition will not work. And you cannot just keep getting up and sitting in different places. If you have side tables with books etc, that should not be problem if you reach for them and read at your desk in front of the screen. You are being compared to the average movements of others.
      In such a case, it would be wise to make a video/photos yourself of the room with date stamps so that you have your own evidence.
      A router is allowed as that is part of the exam equipment for internet access.
      I would move away any counter-top appliances from behind you and reachable from your position. You are supposed to sit still, so you cannot getup and make snacks or coffee. If you have any smart appliances, that might be a problem.

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    2. About getting a personal proove.
      Is there a possibility, to record the examination situation by a personal camera. Such a Device might be considered as not allowed technical device. Even If it is far away and is not directed to read the exercised displayed on the screen?

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    3. No - you cannot record during the exam. No device like that is allowed in the room.

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  13. Dear Pete,
    thanks a lot for all your effort! Do you know if candidates are automatically "enrolled" for mock 2 or do we have to register for that?
    Thanks
    Sabrina

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    1. Thanks.
      Yes - you have been automatically enrolled. But I heard that a lot of emails ended up in the spam filters.

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    2. Have others received their Wiseflow emails on this? I got the Mock 1 enrolment email but nothing on Mock 2 and nothing in the Junk Box!

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    3. I asked the examination secretary yesterday evening, the answered today: the logins for mock 2 will be communicated 1 or 2 days in advance of mock 2.

      Sabrina

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  14. Same here, no email regarding Mock 2 yet. What happened to the plans for an additional epi Mock, or is this Mock2?

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    1. Same here and not in the spam folder.

      As I understand it, the epi Mock = Mock2.

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    2. Yes - the epi have made the papers for Mock2. There was some confusion when they stated that registration was required. That will only be requires for the tutorials.
      All those registered for Mock1 will get access to Mock2 - the emails will be sent a few days before. The epi will provide model solutions for all Mock2 exams.

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  15. Hello Pete - thanks for all these blogs.

    Can you tell me how I can strikethrough text in the text editor. I'm struggling to find a way to do this in paper B.

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    1. I hope it helps.
      Strikethrough is not yet possible. I am hoping that we something about it in the Mock2 paper. It was not mentioned at the webinar - we ran out of time.

      I suggest you use a symbol such as >>deleted text<< or [deleted text]. Combined with your explanation of the amendments, it will be clear enough.

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    2. thanks Pete - it seems strange that the EPO did not account for this when moving online since it is a major resource/critical thing to do for paper B.

      I will try your way. Do you think it is good to add a key at the start.

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    3. I think only indicate what you have done for deletions. For additions, you should use underline, which is the standard and does not need to be explained.
      You never need to define common abbreviations - you can just use them (like IPER, SR, WO etc)

      You also dont need a fancy introduction - bulleted statements are fine. Write it like an explanation to a colleague, not like a filable letter.

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    4. Technically: ̶ ̶s̶t̶r̶i̶k̶e̶t̶h̶r̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶p̶o̶s̶s̶i̶b̶l̶e̶ , even in html. Search for "strikethrough text generator"

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    5. ... but you cannot use this during the exam, of course. Unless they add it to the font properties menu in the browser.

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  16. I have arranged a second table right of my screen-work place.
    I intended to have there my text books. So during the exam, if needing a book information, I would move half a meter back from the screen and turn 90° to the right.

    After the Video, it seems that the cam need permanent eye contact. So, can I read in a book for some minutes. Or is this qualified as "having left the workplace"?

    Can I select the book, and then read it directly in front of the screen?

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    1. From what I have found about Respondus on Reddit, if you leave the face detection area or there is an issue with detection, you get an automatic warning to go back into position.
      You do not have to look into the camera for the whole exam - that is just for the entry image for the recognition software.
      Looking down at your desk and reading will be fine.

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  17. Tips and some possible room/desk requirements
    eEQE uses Respondus Monitor & Respondus Lockdown Browser. I have searched for info & tips from other institutions and tried to guess what could be required or you could reasonably anticipate. If you may have a problem with your location or set up, ask the helpdesk - helpdesq@eqe.org.

    For example:
    - 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
    - a video scan of room can be required before each exam
    --- I have not seen any info whether EQE will require this, so I have asked helpdesk to clarify. But have a long enough camera cable to look 360 degrees around room, desk area, monitor and under desk.
    - no bags or backpacks under desks
    - no bags on desk, no pencil cases
    - if something strange happens that is likely detected, type a note in the invigilator chat window explaining (or speak to the camera so that it is recorded. One site also recommended sending a report after the exam with more explanation.
    - no standing up, wandering around, or speaking out loud
    - Don’t wear sunglasses, baseball caps or hats with brims, or hoodies that cover your ears
    Answers to some technical issues:
    - Respondus Technical Support

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    1. From what I have found about Respondus on Reddit, it is not a problem if you move out of range briefly, or turn your head briefly. The system will warn you that it can no longer detect you properly. If you then return, you can just carry on. All the "incidents" are stored and may be reviewed later by a real person to see if something strange was happening.
      - If it takes too long, or strange sounds are detected (the system is supposed to cope with external background noises like cars honking, dogs barking etc), a real person will speak with you to see what is going on (that is why you need speakers)

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    2. I have tinted glasses which are subscription glasses. Basically, if there is more sunlight, my glasses are designed to be a bit tinted but not when there is no sun. I won't be able to get new glasses now - would this be ok?

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    3. I don't know - they certainly can't expect you to take them off or get new ones.
      These monitoring companies are not very open about how their systems work or any limitations.
      Ask helpdesk@eqe.org - I hope that the monitoring is being tested in Mock2, but I have not seen anything about it.

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  18. Very good summary, thank you a lot!
    I am worried that "mock 1" is only a very limited version of the real thing. There are plenty of things we will probably find out only in "mock 2" or on the go... and which could go wrong. I'm thinking for example about ID check and invigilation.
    I just tested "mock 1" and I noticed a few things:
    - no strikethrough - I hope they either make it available or they are fine with us just deleting features if need be. (I personally will mention it in the answer - the EPO would not accept such sloppily marked-up copy).
    - it is impossible to switch from a tab to the next in FlowLock via keyboard shortcut (CTRL + TAB or ALT + TAB) which is also terrible. I have to take the mouse into my hand and click on the tab I need, then move my hand back to the keyboard. This is a waste of time, keyboard shortcuts have not been invented for nothing!
    - this is a real bug (!!!): if you move your mouse to the very top of the screen, really hitting the edge and click on (or at least intend to click on) a tab to switch to it, the whole FlowLock window vanishes from the screen and there doesn't seem to be any way to recover it, except rebooting and logging in again (losing lots of valuable time).
    Fingers crossed!

    Cheers,

    A.

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  19. Hello Pete,

    Thanks a lot for all the information given in this blog that really help us.

    Just 2 questions:
    - Do you know if mock2 paper are previous papers taken from compendium or are they new ones? If it is old paper, did they told which one are concerned, in order to avoid us doing them twice?

    - do you know if desktop book stand would be allowed? This device could I think help to manage the documents and the keybord, laptop and screen (that take a lot of room)?

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    1. Thanks for the kind words.
      - they mentioned that only the D1 was new - the rest are recycled papers. For some reason, they did not want to say which ones (someone asked for the same reason). To be honest, it is better if it is a surprise (real mock) - even if you have done it before, you will not have chance to prepare it just before
      - if you can touch type, that would save you moving your head up and down. I see there are even some that clip to your monitor. That should be fine. Assuming you have to scan your desk with your webcam before starting, you may have to move it to one side or show behind it.

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  20. Hi Pete,

    Thank you a lot for the time you take to put all these materials togheter and the time you allow to answer our questions.

    One question I have and many have is that, I could only do the exam in my bed room. I am now wondering whether this could not be accepted by the e-EQE committee ?

    Kind regards,
    Sandra

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    1. Hi Sandra, thanks.
      Being a bedroom is not a problem - normal furniture can be in the room. You might need to create a neutral background by covering a wall with some paper. What aspect are you worried about?

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  21. I still haven't heard anything about mock 2. Has anyone else?

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    1. Epi just sent an email (see separate post) that Mock2 will be available during the exact exam times, different to Mock1.
      I just sent an email asking for later access as well - as yet, I have not heard from any one if it will be possible off-line.
      My advice is to at least experience the start of the exam - do the logging in, printing, etc.
      I am also not sure if they will do ID checking and remote invigilation. It would be invaluable to try this out as well.
      I will do this at least.

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    2. thanks Pete. i saw this blog - i also meant the passwords to login into wiseflow or will the password be the same as the ones in mock 1.

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    3. The wiseflow password is supposed to stay the same.

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  22. E-EQE FAQ's updated:
    Paper B:
    - indicate deletions with square brackets “[ ]”. Indicate added text with underlining.
    Paper C:
    - able to print your answer to the first part of paper C during the break. Will have to got to "information on flows" page (see point 6.5 in the user guide) and download your answer before printing it.
    - notice of opposition must comply with EPC, in particular A.99, A.100, R.76 - all relevant info, statement of extent, opposition grounds, evidence, facts and arguments

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  24. Zsofia Pintz just updated her blog with details of her IT setup using a Mac. I like the security measures taken.
    Don't install Lockdown on your work computer with access to network drives and confidential information.

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  25. I see that the user guide, tips etc have been updated as well, and they have clarified the room requirements in a new document.

    Great - another user name and password - now for zendesk!

    There is also a note in the FAQs about the legal texts. I am not sure you can open the pdf versions - it was possible in Mock1 to get to the same pages, but PDF's are blocked (no pdf viewer allowed). So you may be limited to the html versions.
    In Mock 1, you could also use the search at the top, allowing you to search through all html sources, including case law. I do not know if that will be blocked.
    There is also the advanced legal texts search (clickable in Mock 1) where you can specify exactly which documents you want to search in.
    Something to check during Mock2, but be careful of wasting a lot of time searching for something you are unsure of. You don't really have time to read.

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  26. Can the Exam papers be firstly downloaded in a USB drive to be printed out? (As the printer is not connected to the internet network). No answer was given during the Webinar.

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    1. Printing the material happens before you start the Lockdown-Brower. So you are still in your normal browser and there is an option to download the file. Since there is no lock in place at this state of the examination, you can freely copy this file to any location including an USB drive.

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    2. Thanks Jens. Yes - it downloads into the default download location that the browser used to enter WISEflow (Chrome/Edge) uses. Normally on windows, this is the user "Downloads" folder.

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  27. Make sure that you read the official docs here: eEQE page and FAQ's page. Many issues are already covered.

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