Wednesday, 22 April 2020

The Decision is out: No EQE in 2020


EQE 2020 Candidates are currently receiving emails informing then that no European qualifying examination (pre-examination or main examination consisting of papers A, B, C and D) will be held in 2020.

The email reads (emphasis added):

From: HelpDesk [mailto:helpdesk@eqe.org]
Sent: 22 April 2020 09:25
To: [..]
Subject: Cancellation EQE 2020 - Decision and communication of the Supervisory Board

Dear candidate,

Please be informed that a decision of the Supervisory Board as well as a communication announcing the definite cancellation of the EQE 2020 have been published on the EQE website.

Decision of the Supervisory Board:
http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/cda002e5755d7730c125854c00496e80/$FILE/Decision%20of%20SB_DE_20_04.pdf
http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/cda002e5755d7730c125854c00496e80/$FILE/Decision%20of%20SB_EN_20_04.pdf
http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/cda002e5755d7730c125854c00496e80/$FILE/Decision%20of%20SB_FR_20_04.pdf

Communication from the Supervisory Board:
http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/49492721c255256ec125854c00498eac/$FILE/SB_communication%2020_04%20DE.pdf
http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/49492721c255256ec125854c00498eac/$FILE/SB_communication%2020_04_EN.pdf
http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/49492721c255256ec125854c00498eac/$FILE/SB_communication%2020_04_FR.pdf

In the coming weeks, the Examination Secretariat will contact you directly by email regarding implementation of the decision. We understand that you might have many questions and concerns. However, we would kindly ask you to wait for this email before contacting the EQE helpdesk.

We know that the cancellation of the examination means an extra burden for many of you in what are already very difficult times. We would nevertheless like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best and above all good health and look forward to seeing you at the next EQE in 2021.


Best regards / Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincères salutations

Examination Secretariat
European Qualifying Examination EQE
European Patent Office
80298 Munich | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)89 2399 5155 (Mon, Wed-Fri 09.00-11.00 hrs, Tues 14.00-15.30 hrs)
Fax +49 (0)89 2399 5140
helpdesk@eqe.org
www.epo.org

[end email]
---------


See Decision of the Supervisory Board and  Communication from the Supervisory Board of the EQE of 20.04.2020

The Decision is cited here in full (emphasis added):

Decision of the Supervisory Board

The Supervisory Board,
having regard to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives (REE) which entered into force on 1 January 2009 (Supplementary publication 2, OJ EPO 2019), and in particular to Article 3(1) and (2) thereof, has decided as follows:


Article 1
No European qualifying examination (pre-examination or main examination consisting of papers A, B, C and D) will be held in 2020.

Article 2
Given the prevailing, exceptional circumstances, and pursuant to Article 3(1) REE, anyone who so wishes will be allowed to enrol for the 2021 main examination, provided that the conditions laid down in Article 11 REE are fulfilled.


Article 3
Candidates who had enrolled for 2020 main examination papers will be considered to be enrolled for those papers in 2021. The respective fees will be carried over to 2021. Candidates will be able to enrol for additional examination papers subject to the payment of the respective fees. Candidates will be given a deadline by which they can withdraw from the examination or particular papers; if they do so, the respective fees will be reimbursed.

Article 4
For the 2021 main examination only, candidates' answers will be marked either on the basis of the legal texts and document versions in force on 31 October 2019, or on the basis of those in force on 31 October 2020, depending on which of the two dates would give the candidate the higher mark.

Article 5
This decision enters into force immediately.

Done at Munich, 20 April 2020
For the Supervisory Board
The Chairman
Fritz Schweinzer


The Communication is also cited in full:

20.04.2020
Communication from the Supervisory Board of the EQE:

The Supervisory Board of the EQE – which is composed of an equal number of representatives of the EPO and the epi– met virtually in the following composition:
Fritz Schweinzer epi (Chair), Christoph Ernst EPO (Deputy Chair), Michael Liebetanz epi (member), Telmo Vilela EPO (deputy member). On the agenda were the EQE exams and pre-exams in 2020 and 2021.


On 4 March, the Board had unanimously decided to cancel the exams and pre-exams scheduled to take place in Munich and ten additional European cities from 16 to 19 March 2020. It did so after thoroughly analysing the information publicly available at the time about the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe. The main driver of such decision was the need to safeguard not only the health and safety of the nearly 3.000 people that participate and are involved in the organisation of the Exams, but also to preserve the health and safety of the public in general. At the time, the Supervisory Board also informed the interested parties that it would continue to follow-up closely the developments of the COVID-19 and that a final decision on the 2020 Exams and PreExam would be taken and communicated.

Since then, the members of the Supervisory Board, the Examination Board, the EPO and the epi have been actively discussing solutions that would strike the right balance between the legitimate expectations of candidates for the 2020 exams and the abovementioned prevailing need to protect health and safety of all candidates, organisers and the public in general.
In this context and considering that:

  • a considerable number of European countries are currently on lock-down;
  • all European countries have implemented strict measures to minimise social contact, and that it is currently impossible to predict when they will be lifted;
  • European and international health authorities cannot forecast how the pandemic will evolve in the coming months;
  • major events scheduled for 2020 have been cancelled or postponed to 2021;
  • the EPO and the epi need to ensure adequate health and safety conditions to allow the EQE exams and pre-exam to take place; and
  • the EPO and the epi need to guarantee the same basic conditions for candidates from all EPO member states, i.e. that they can all travel to one of the exam venues,
  • the EPO and the epi need to guarantee a fair examination with high quality and to avoid jeopardizing the EQE 2021.


The Supervisory Board has unanimously adopted the following decisions:

  1. No European qualifying examination (pre-examination or main examination consisting of papers A, B, C and D) will be held in 2020.
  2. Given the prevailing, exceptional circumstances, and pursuant to Article 3(1) REE, anyone who so wishes will be allowed to enrol for the 2021 main examination, provided that the conditions laid down in Article 11 REE are fulfilled.
  3. Candidates who had enrolled for 2020 main examination papers will be considered to be enrolled for those papers in 2021. The respective fees will be carried over to 2021. Candidates will be able to enrol for additional examination papers subject to the payment of the respective fees. Candidates will be given a deadline by which they can withdraw from the examination or particular papers; if they do so, the respective fees will be reimbursed.
  4. For the 2021 main examination only, candidates' answers will be marked either on the basis of the legal texts and document versions in force on 31 October 2019, or on the basis of those in force on 31 October 2020, depending on which of the two dates would give the candidate the higher mark.

It is also the intention of the Supervisory Board to give certainty to all involved persons at an early stage and allow for a proper planning of the preparation for EQE 2021.

The EQE Supervisory Board furthermore welcomed and endorsed the proposal presented by the EPO concerning the engagement by the office and epi in a project towards the development and preparation on an e-EQE envisaging the maximum possible use of new technologies applied to the EQE Exams and Pre-Exam. A working group will be set-up for that effect in order to develop proposals and define a plan identifying clear steps, milestones and deliverables towards a full digitalisation of the Exams. In 2021, the Exams will be organised according to the current format.


The Supervisory Board of the EQE

--------------------

Update 5 May 2020:

FAQ on EQE 2020/2021 has been added to the EQE webpages.

Currently the FAQ provides (status 5 May 2020; emphasis added):



EQE 2020 / 2021


I was enrolled for the pre-examination 2020 when the decision was taken to postpone the EQE 2020 (4 March 2020). What does the new decision of the Supervisory Board dated 20.04.20 mean for me?


Fees paid for the pre-examination 2020 (enrolment and examination fee) will be reimbursed to the account/credit card from which they were paid. The process for refunding candidates has started but may still require some time to complete.
Provided you continue your professional training, you do not have to sit the pre-examination 2021 and can enrol directly to the main examination 2021 via the enrolment portal myEQE.
Your right to be admitted to the main examination will only remain valid if you enrol for the EQE 2021. If you do not enrol, you will be required to sit the pre-examination at a later date. Should you enrol to the main examination and then decide to withdraw, your right to enrol to a future main examination will remain valid.
If you withdraw by the 30 September 2020, all fees apart from the enrolment fee will be reimbursed. After the 30 September it will no longer be possible to claim any refund.


I was enrolled for the pre-examination 2020 but withdrew before the decision of 4 March 2020 to postpone. Will I get full reimbursement of the fees?


Fees paid for the pre-examination 2020 will not be reimbursed. However, if you continue your professional training, you may be eligible to enrol directly to the main examination. Please contact the Examination Secretariat as soon as possible.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 and my enrolment has now been automatically transferred to the main examination 2021. Do I need to do anything?


No. You will receive confirmation of your enrolment for the main examination 2021.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 but only for 2 papers. I now wish to sit 3 or 4 papers. Can I still enrol for these papers?


Yes, but by the enrolment deadline of 17 August 2020 and upon payment of the respective fees. Please contact the Examination Secretariat as soon as possible.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 for all 4 papers but wish to withdraw from 1 or more papers. Will my fees be reimbursed?


Yes, the examination fees for each of the papers will be reimbursed if you withdraw by 30 September 2020. After this deadline, none of the fees are refundable.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 but had withdrawn before the 4 March 2020 – will my enrolment be automatically transferred to 2021?


No. You will need to enrol for the 2021 main examination and fees for 2020 will not be reimbursed.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 – will my preferred centre be automatically taken over?


Yes. The preferred centre indicated by you when enrolling for 2020 will be kept even if it could not be taken into account in the end due to lack of capacity. We are in contact with the national patent authorities who provide the premises for the local EQE examination centres to try to ensure sufficient capacity so that all candidates can sit at their preferred centres. There is however no guarantee that this will be the case.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 and my enrolment has been automatically transferred to 2021 but I do not wish to sit the examination in 2021.


You may withdraw from the examination and fees including the enrolment fee will be reimbursed completely if you withdraw by the deadline of 17.8.20. Otherwise fees for the papers only will be reimbursed if you withdraw by the deadline of 30.09.2020. If you do not withdraw by either of these deadlines, no fees will be reimbursed.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 and was part of the CB-EQE project. Will I automatically be part of the CB-EQE 2021?


EPO and epi strive for a paperless EQE. Your name will be kept and you will be informed, once a computer based EQE 2021 can be confirmed.


I was not enrolled for the Pre-examination 2020 but have enrolled for the pre-examination 2021 (or was about to enrol for pre-examination 2021). I will however have enough professional training for the main examination 2021. Can I enrol directly to the main examination?


Yes you can. Please contact the Examination Secretariat as soon as possible.
If you were already enrolled for the pre-examination 2021, fees will be reimbursed.


I have been furloughed by my employer due to the current crisis. Must I report any changes and could they affect my right to sit the EQE 2021 due to lack of training?


In this case the REE/IPREE applies. Therefore, if your training situation has changed you are required to submit a new training certificate for the said period. If as a result of the changes you are no longer able to complete a full-time training period according to Article 11(2) REE, it might affect your right to sit the EQE in 2021.



We were informed that EQE 2020 candidates also received an email from the EQE Secretariat with information similar to the information above. as far as relevant for that candidate.

For more information and possible updates/additions to the FAQ, refer to the original FAQ on the EQE website (link).






Monday, 30 March 2020

Enrolment to the main examination 2021 postponed

The EQE website provides:

Please be informed that enrolment to the main examination 2021, which was due to start on 1 April 2020, has been postponed until 4 May 2020. 

Applications must be submitted no later than 17 August 2020 via myEQE (see enrolment page).

Thursday, 5 March 2020

BREAKING NEWS - Cancellation of EQE planned 16-19 March 2020 (possibly postponed)

We have been informed by an EQE candidate that he just received the email below (emphasis added):
EQE 2020 is cancelled, or possibly postponed to later this year - to be continued.


From: HelpDesk <helpdesk@eqe.org>
Sent: donderdag 5 maart 2020 09:10
To:
Subject: cancellation of EQE planned 16-19 March 2020

Dear candidate,

In response to the latest developments about the spread of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), the Supervisory Board of the European qualifying examination has decided in line with the EPO’s precautionary measures to cancel the EQE planned to take place 16-19 March 2020.

The Supervisory Board is currently assessing the feasibility of organising the examination at a later stage during the current year. We would kindly ask for your understanding that due to the complex logistic arrangements related to the organisation of the EQE, this assessment will require some time.  The Examination Secretariat will revert back to you as soon as there is a decision taken by the Supervisory Board. Also, please understand that due to the high number of enquiries received, answering individual questions will take more time than usual.

We sincerely regret this highly unsatisfactory situation for all concerned. Further information will follow in due course, in particular related to the reimbursement of the fees.

Best regards

The Examination Secretariat

European Qualifying Examination EQE
European Patent Office
80298 Munich | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)89 2399 5155 (Mon, Wed-Fri 09.00-11.00 hrs, Tues 14.00-15.30 hrs)
Fax +49 (0)89 2399 5140
helpdesk@eqe.org
www.epo.org
 

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