Friday, 6 October 2017

Cut-off date legal status / EQE syllabus changed from 31 December to 31 October

By Decision of the Supervisory Board amending Rules 2, 22 and 27 of the Implementing Provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives, the cut-off date for the legal status / EQE syllabus changed from 31 December to 31 October, for the pre-exam and for the main exam papers.

The Decision changed the Rules relating to the syllabus to read:

Rule 2 - Examination syllabus
The examination syllabus referred to in Article 13 REE shall cover only those legal texts referred to in Article 13(1)(a) to (c) REE which are in force on 31 October of the year prior to the examination. The EPO case law referred to in Article 13(1)(d) REE shall be that covered in the latest edition of "Case Law of the Boards of Appeal of the European Patent Office" (hereinafter "the Case Law Book"), the case law referred to in any case law special edition of the Official Journal published after the latest edition of the Case Law Book, and any case law published in the Official Journal on or before 31 October of the year prior to the examination.

Note that the first part of the first sentence means that amended Rule 27 and 28 EPC as currently in force are the relevant versions of these rules - the Guidelines of November 2016 are not up-to-date in respect to these Rules. Also, these Guidelines still refer to old RFees 11.

Note that the last part of the last sentence means that G 1/15, partial priority (pdf), is part of the exam syllabus for the coming exam (although it is unlikely that Exam Committees designed questions to test it, as they could not know when it would be published), as it was published in OJ Sep 2017 on 29 Sep 2017.

Rule 22(1) - General instructions for answering the papers 
"(1) Candidates are expected to be familiar with at least the following documents in the versions valid as at 31 October of the year prior to the preexamination or the examination:
(a) the EPC
(b) the Implementing Regulations to the EPC
(c) the Protocol on the Centralisation of the European Patent System and on its Introduction (Protocol on Centralisation)
(d) the Protocol on Jurisdiction and the Recognition of Decisions in respect of the Right to the Grant of a European Patent (Protocol on Recognition)
(e) the Rules relating to Fees
(f) the notice of the President of the EPO concerning the arrangements for deposit accounts [ADA & AAD]
(g) the PCT
(h) the Regulations under the PCT [latest change: July 2017]
(i) the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property
(j) the list of contracting states to the EPC and of contracting states to the PCT
(k) the Ancillary Regulations to the EPC  [partially overruled by later OJ EPOs]
(l) the brochure entitled "National law relating to the EPC" [partially overruled by later OJ EPOs]
(m) the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO [partially overruled by Rule changes per July 2016 and later]
(n) the content of the Official Journal of the EPO [until and including the Oct edition 2017],
(o) the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority."

Our comments are given in between square brackets.
Note that the last item is new: the GL PCT/EPO were introduced in 2015, but did not make it to the EQE Syllabus earlier than with this decision.
Note that any parts of the documents (esp. Ancillary Regulations, GL EPO, GL PCT/EPO) may have been superseded by documents of higher ranka and which define the relevant legal situation at 31 October, e.g., Rule changes, G-decisions, Decisions of the President, Notices in the OJ EPO.

The Decision also introduced, in new Rule 27(3) IPREE a new "Examination Committee V [shall be] entrusted with the quality management of the papers. It shall advise the other Examination Committees in this respect. "


  1. Broken toothbrush6 October 2017 at 18:48

    (OK, trying again, now with an alias, since my previous anonymous posts didn't seem to get through. Again sorry for any duplicates.)

    Which version of the Guidelines would you recommend to bring to the exam: the 2016 edition, which doesn't reflect the rule changes etc, or the 2017 edition, which formally won't be in force on 31 October?

    1. Dishwashing product11 October 2017 at 17:14

      If the exam papers will be based on GL/EPO 2016, it seems risky to use GL/EPO Nov 2017 at the exam. I am aiming to take GL/EPO 2016 supplemented with OJ articles and whatever else may be useful

    2. The problem is the expression "in the versions valid as at 31 October of the year prior to the preexamination or the examination".

      The version of the GL in html is always updated and is not the same as the one in pdf/paper, then, which version? html or paper/pdf? Depending the answer is the GL2017 or GL2016.

  2. I'd like to know also what the previous colleague mentions about Guidelines. Thanks in advance.

  3. Dishwashing product11 October 2017 at 17:18

    Additionally, there is something to be said about the use of the same GL/EPO edition two years in a row. Idependently of the conflicts, it can be an advantage nonetheless.

  4. Imo, the "bad" news for candidates of paper D is the introduction in the syllabus of the 246-pages book "Guidelines for Search and Examination at the EPO as PCT Authority".

    I think candidates should expect questions more related to pratical aspects of the international phase (amendments of application, clarity, unsearched subject-matter) and will be off course required to reference PCT-EPO-GUI in their answers paing attention not to mess up things citing the EPO-GUI.

  5. It seems that it will be important to have some clarification on the Guidelines for Examination issue. In particular, the relevant Guidelines for citing in the exam will apparently be the 2016 version. However, any case law and law changes that the new 2017 Guidelines are based on were published before 31 October 2017 and are relevant for the exam.

    It seems to leave us in a ridiculous situation where the correct Guidelines to cite in the exam are potentially incorrect in respect of some of the law that we need to apply in the exam.