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
 

Please consider the environment before printing this email.


------------
Update 5 March 2020, 15:50:


The EQE website now also indicates the cancellation as well as that an assessment is ongoing as to a possible rescheduling. The EQE website provides:


----------------- Update 6 March 2020, 8:50:
A new version of the "Update on Coronavirus" news message in the EPO website now also mentions the cancellation (or possible rescheduling), see here:

720 comments:

  1. Hopefully the EQE candidates quickly get a formal communication on this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I called the examination secretariat 10 minutes ago, they orally confirmed and indicated that this mail will be sent to all participants in the next few minutes / hours.

    I have not yet received a mail.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If this is really true, this is an enormous disapointment!

    The participants are all adult people. They can each independently decide whether or not to participate to the EQE in the existing situation. And if decided not to participate, then the Examination Board would only reimburse the examination fees.

    This my opinion.

    Beth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Candidates cannot decide independently, if public health authorities advise not to gather for reasons of public safety. There is more than your fees and your examination.

      Delete
    2. "Anonymous 5 March 2020 at 10:07

      Candidates cannot decide independently, if public health authorities advise not to gather for reasons of public safety. There is more than your fees and your examination."

      According to this principle, for example, breakfasts in hotels should be forbidden immediately.

      Delete
    3. Candidates who have a pre-condition or of older age would have to assume a higher risk for something they have no control over, as well as taking into consideration the possibility of infecting elder/higher risk loved ones back home. In my opinion EPO's decision was certainly a tough one but it was the right thing to do. Maybe they could have done 2 separate exams, but if that were the case I suppose people would still be whining about having to take the "harder" 2020 EQE as well.

      Delete
    4. Are you aware that in some countries, it is not possible to have meeting involving several people, in view of the CoVid19? Are you suggesting candidates and EPO should act in breach of law?

      Delete
  4. I think the Update on Corona means EQE has to be postponed or cancelled.

    Postponing Pre-Exam to end June looks like an option to me: can be marked quicly, so preparation for main exam 2021 does not need tobe adversely affected.

    Postponing main exam to end June or later causes results to be available no earlier than October/November due to summer holidays: maybe too late to prepare well for resitting?

    If Pre-Exam cannot be postponed and has to be cancelled, that would give a long delay. Maybe the Supervisory Board or Examination Board can in that case decide to grant anyone that enrolled to the Pre-Exam 2020 exemption and allow to sit main exam 2021?

    G

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'll believe this when I receive the e-mail.

    Roel, have you been able to verify the e-mail independently in any way?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen the email another different candidate has got. 99% sure it's true.

      Delete
    2. I have been informed on cancellation independently on delta patent blog, so it is probably true.

      Delete
    3. I would not have posted the blog with the email if the source was not reliable. Nothing to make any jokes about.

      I hope they will succeed to find a new date in June, and that the virus is not stopping that too!

      Fingers crossed. To be continued.

      Delete
    4. Dear Roel,

      Where does come this "June"? From some official source, I can't quickly find?

      In addition, I think that it would be reasonable from EPO to immediately inform that how many months before they are going to inform the new date of the EQE.

      Delete
    5. June would not be a good time for most. I've lost so many holidays and time taken to prepare for these exams.

      Delete
    6. On June 24 there is also the Italian Examination for Patent Attorneys. Hope the dates will not overlap!

      Delete
    7. Regulation on European qualifying examination
      Art. 1
      (1.)......
      (2) The examination shall normally be held once a year. The period between two examinations shall not exceed twenty-five months.

      Sadly we may have no exam for this year

      Delete
  6. EPO should provide some kind of balance of probabilities (2020 cancelled / transferred to the later of 2020). I think so.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I understand and support their decision; all things considered I believe it is the prudent course of action. I'm not even particularly surprised, considering the text of the update that was posted yesterday.

    Nonetheless, after all this preparation it's a real kick in the balls to have to wait potentially another year to sit the exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope EPO are thinking about a sort of 'grandfather situation' for all papers of all candidates. A pass with minimum points awarded.
      I have a job and also a family, I can't going on working by day and studying by night.

      Delete
    2. I'm in the same place (family, 1 kid) but I don't think this will happen, and to be honest, I don't think it would be even fair

      Delete
    3. My wife is having a baby in June. I don't want to miss our first born because of EQEs. I have a family too and can't go on ignoring the world for months.

      Delete
  8. I've spent the last 8 months preparing for Papers A, B, C and D. Moving this later during the year will be hugely disastrous as I got other things already planned. I fear I will now lose all the knowledge (especially for D) due to this. I'm losing momentum.

    Breaking down

    ReplyDelete
  9. Is there not a way for us to sit the exams remotely? Could possibly arrange small local exam centres with volunteer invigilators from our firms? Waiting another year is such an awful option. So much preparation wasted.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have spent the last two years preparing for these tests. Will they reimburse us for our hotels and travel reservations too? What about the raise we're supposed to get after we pass?

    Meanwhile, they say they want to reschedule the tests for later in the year, but every country's national exams have been planned to not overlap with the EQE. How will they find a new date that works for every country?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. its more than that - apparently, the peak of coronavirus according to government predictions will be between May-July and then you have summer holidays running to October. Let say its planned for October

      Candidates who would take in October will have zero time to prepare for the exams following on to Feb 2021.

      Delete
    2. I think that this is an advantage. Couple of extra months to the continuous preparing process. Not a big deal but an advantage! Everything in the fresh memory.

      Delete
    3. I very much hope it isn't October - that it when the UK exams are.

      Delete
    4. French exams are in June and October, which means that rescheduling the EQE for May-October will penalize French candidates.

      Delete
    5. German exams are in Feburary / March every year, nobody cares with respect to EQE.

      Delete
    6. So then it sounds like German candidates will be unfairly advantaged with respect to their colleagues, and French and UK candidates will be unfarirly disadvantaged with respect to their colleagues.

      Delete
    7. German exams are way easier than the UK PEB exams. Not even a close comparison.

      Delete
  11. NOOO
    I understand but so much work has been put into preparing. This is going to be a nightmare.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The desks are far apart in the exam venue to be sufficient. If they provide hand santizer and do temperature checks before students enter then this would at least ensure the candidates who choose to take it still have the option. Those who choose not to take it have the option to take it the year after at no added costs to them.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Waiting for one more year is bad, but to extent the current preparation until June is a nightmare. At least for me and probably for those having also a family which was happy until yesterday to have their mom/dad back for upcoming spring and summer. Hence I would prefer to write next year if not possible in two weeks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have also received the email from the Examination Secretariat

    ReplyDelete
  15. The Examination Committees have just received a similar email to state that the EQEs (and the planned marking meetings) have been cancelled.

    With regards to re-arranging the exams, it just said:

    "We are 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."

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well that sucks big time. Just got the e-mail too. Only one exam left to pass and used all my personal holidays, weekends and spare time for preparing for the last 8 months. How do you reimburse that time away from family and friends? Ofc studying is never a waste of time, but still, you need to be sharpest when sitting the exams and that means that the same time for preparing needs to be found somewhere, again!

    ReplyDelete
  17. When the new date is set, does DeltaPatents plan on offering new opportunities for candidates who have not used the "correction papers" program to buy and submit papers for correction?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's first wait until the decision to postpone or not, and if so, to when.

      We will offer support/courses if needed and where possible. But to early to decide which, when, and where.

      Delete
    2. Would Deltapatents update the law book?

      What is going to be the cut of date for law now for Paper D. Learning law that is almost 2 years old is going to be a real battle.

      Delete
  18. This is an absolute horror of a decision.

    Frankly it should not have been made unless they knew for sure they were able to re-arrange another for the same year.

    The devastating effect of this on every single one of the candidates and each of their family and colleagues around them is unimaginable. Surely a temperature check before entering the exam venue would have sufficed? After all it is just a hyped-up flu..

    ReplyDelete
  19. Would the EPO consider giving some discretionary points or allow passes for EQE candidates in 2020. This is going to hugely impact them for the years ahead and also on jobs progression and wages not to mention the amount of preparation that has already gone into this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they should or at least the EPO should consider some sort of compensatory points for candidates this year. Extraordinary but understandable from EPO.

      Delete
  20. Its really unfair to move it to June time for main EQEs. So many individual lives are going to be affected. This is also according to WHO where the peak of coronavirus is going to happen.

    ReplyDelete
  21. So gutted. I only had paper B to retake after a bad paper last year for E/M candidates (all of the engineers I know failed). My colleagues taking all four are also understandably devastated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm taking all four and I am absolutely gutted about this. Ruined my entire day/month.

      Delete
    2. I'm in the same boat, also only B left to retake, also not a chemist. I was really looking forward to having it over with.

      Delete
  22. i believe that the passing rate for all 4 eqe exams is roughly 50%, meaning that, grosso modo, 15 from the 30 commentees above would sit some of the exams next year. The cancellation this year sucks, but the reality is that a large majority would have to study/prepare again, above comments about the time invested seem to suggest that everybody will get the exam and dont have to do anything further. It is what it is, we are prepared, we can take a delay, if we confident. If sacrifices made, in view of the rather low passing rate, people are aware that sacrifices need being done again. it is enough hysteria due to the virus, maybe not amplify it by these news.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People have made a lot of sacrifices already to prepare the exams so please do not downplay the situation. Yes it is serious about the virus but many have also prepared extensively. This has a knock on effect for later.

      A bit of discretion from EPO would not hurt and would also be fair. Maybe some have alot of time later during the year to cope with the delay but others don't. I'm not saying I have a solution but just saying that these things need to be taken into account.

      Delete
  23. This is especially a kick in the teeth since they set the exams arbitrarily late this year.. any other year we would have sat it by now..

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is horrible! Forcing candidates to wait is tantamount to failing us all!
    Candidates to the pre-exam should be given passes!
    Candidates to the main exam should be given 50 on all tests for which they are enroled this year!
    After all of the time, energy, and for that matter money that has gone into preparing for these tests, we must not be penalised by having to wait to take our tests.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree and think its right that the EPO should apply some discretion to this. Its not the candidates fault although it is also not the EPO's fault.

      Delete
    2. If you are well prepared you have less work to do for EQE 2021 - this is not a one time test - you should be fit to practice for the rest of your life, not just on the exam day.

      Delete
    3. to wait for another year is extremely unfair. How on earth are they going to fit double the number of candidates not to mention the impact and sacrificed many individuals already made in their preparations.

      This issue is not about fitness to practice but about fairness to all candidates.

      I understand the EPO did what they had to do but lets also apply some discretion to candidates (who are also not at fault).

      Delete
    4. Fairness for all5 March 2020 at 12:47

      This is the true - its about applying fairness and considering the impact it has on candidates.

      Yes, the EPO needed to do what they had to do. Please also consider being fair to candidates this year. Its not their fault also.

      Delete
    5. Canceling or postponing this late in the game puts this year's candidates at an enormous disadvantage.

      Resistters have lower pass rates than first-timers not only because they are exhausted, but also because practicing using tests that you have already taken does not provide the same benefit as taking them the first time.

      By now, dilligent candidates have used nearly all of their practice materials and are concentrating on being rested for the exams. Canceling/postponing will force them to wait, and cause them to forget because they no longer have proper study materials to use.

      Delete
    6. In reply to 5 March 2020 at 11:41

      We aren't going to forget that A54(3) art is not used in inventive step, we're going to forget our PCT legal bases, our RFees, and our guidelines subsection numbers.

      Waiting will not expose us to mistakes characteristic of a person who is unfit to practice, rather it will erode those little things that made us sharp for March 17-19.

      Since we have exhausted our training materials, we have no further opportunities to improve.

      Additionally, I spent hundreds of euros on my books. If they cancel the tests instead of rescheduling them, I will be at a disadvantage unless I buy the latest versions! Where is the justice in that?

      Delete
  25. Is there some sort of "grandfather clause" that can be looked at here for these type of situations. Not saying they should give everyone a pass but there must be some fairness to the candidates who have to now wait...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, negative. There are no any grandfather clauses for this kind of situation. And I am very confident of that since I have prepared carefully to the EQE and due to that very familiar with EPC. :>

      Delete
    2. So you mean, no Legal Basis?

      Delete
    3. maybe they can spend the time this month making up one.

      Delete
  26. I do sympathise with the EPO's decision.
    But one has to go out to the EQE candidates this year. The worse time this can happen.

    Its fair that EPO should apply some discretion to these candidates this year once everything settles abit.

    Its not the same taking it at a different time/place compared to what is the norm.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I sympathise with you all as this is a terrible situation to be in. Hopefully, more information is provided soon and the EPO will have a contingency plan in place.

    To those saying everyone should be given a pass/grandfathered, that would be impossible with exams which are designed to test your fitness-to-practice. For instance, I could see firms being wary of employing anyone who was given such a pass in 2020 because they haven't been tested. It should be borne in mind that the pass rates for the EQEs are not great, and that there are candidates who get very low marks across all of the four papers. This stigma could have severe ramifications for the careers of those who would pass with high marks in normal years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. But the EPO needs to be discrete, since many of the re-sitters for example who have prepared well and were to pass this year get huge set back in their career. Maybe the EPO could compensate x amount of points to be given to all this year's canditates to be used in one exam the canditate has enrolled to.

      Delete
    2. With heavy heart, I don't think the Secretariat will have any discretion for us.
      As Anonymous above said, EQE has the purpose to test our fitness to practice. Any kind of help for 2020 resitters is not consistent with the purpose of EQE. The fact that some of our careers, lives, etc. got screwed for causes of force majeure does not evidence that we were fit for practice in March 2020.

      -CovidCandidate

      Delete
    3. Didn't they give compensation marks because some of the exam halls were too cold in previous years? This is at least on that level of inconvenience to candidates.

      Delete
  28. I fail understand how this is commensurate with any (EP) state’s cautionary/preventive actions. Is anyone prevented from going to work? Are any business whatsoever closed? I think special measure could have been envisioned for those countries requiring them only.

    I qualify this decision as shameful, as it will have a major negative impact on candidates’ personal life and professional career.

    Big thumbs down EQE Supervisory board

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Italy has closed all public educational services. All exams have been canceled. All conferences have been canceled. All public and private (sic) gatherings that do not satisfy minimum distance requirements have been canceled.

      Do you really expect the EQE secretariat to assume responsibility for forcing candidates to sit together in a hall for 4 hours or more? Or to discriminate candidates based on the sanitary measures of their country?

      I understand the disappointment, but I wouldn't go too far.

      Delete
    2. There was always the option of holding it outside Italy and just postponing the exam for Italian candidates. I understand why they didn't want to go that route though - it should be the same exam for all sitters.

      Delete
    3. First of all, the issue is not limited to Italians, countries from all over the world begin to suffer from the effects of covid. Also EPO wouldn't be able to perform all the checks necessary to ensure the health of hundreds of candidates in Munich either, infected person might as well be a German national who has traveled to Italy recently and choose not to disclose it.

      Delete
  29. I understand that precautionary measures need to be taken but this takes it too far.

    None of the European government has prevented gatherings of about 200 people at most in a single closed area. If EPO sought to be coherent with the cancelling of the EQE, then the Munich and The Hague offices would also be already closed since thousands of people are gathered there every day.

    Passing the EQE later means postponing a wage increase and there's no way the EPO may realistically compensate the candidates for that missed chance.

    Also, many candidates likely already have other plans, incompatible with sitting an exam later this year so scheduling a new session on short notice would be unfair.

    Also, it's not like the compendium is infinite so once you've prepared once, there's simply no more recent material to retrain with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "None of the European government has prevented gatherings of about 200 people at most in a single closed area."

      Italy, "only" the third country in Europe as per number of people.

      Delete
    2. the issue is that the situation is changing so fast. In France, they start banning large gatherings and there are now a big rise in UK over the past day alone.

      Delete
    3. As a matter of fact, EPO has cancelled events involving more than 50 participants.

      https://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2020/20200304_fr.html

      Delete
    4. You or one of your loved ones might as well get sick and not be able to receive any wages anymore, let alone a "wage increase". Some people just don't consider this possibility at all I guess.

      Delete
  30. Can we take the test at home?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Regulation on EQE- Art. 1.2 says

    (2) The examination shall normally be held once a year. The period between two examinations shall not exceed twenty-five months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 25 months = 2 year + 1 month....

      Delete
    2. wow - waiting another year is going to make me cry.

      Delete
  32. Think the EPO has overall made the right decision, given the circumstances. With due regards to the long hours gone into the preparation for many candidates, the frustration is definitely understandable. But thats what a patent attorney career brings. expect the unexpected!!
    Hope they manage to find substitute dates soon enough and reorganize, which is not a small task in itself....

    ReplyDelete
  33. That's right. For 2020 we may have no exam.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Whilst clearly this news is rubbish for us who have been preparing hard for these exams and wish to progress our careers, please remember that the Examination Secretariat is not a faceless organisation: there are hard working people behind the scenes.

    No doubt this is a very stressful situation for them to deal with, so lets all be kind to each other shall we?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. We are in an emergency situation, whether we admit it or not. All of us (including Secretariat) are faced with a situation without precedence, an event of "force majeure" for which no one is ever prepared. The Secretariat had to take a decision, and they did. Whether they made the right or wrong call, we cannot say it without hindsight.

      Delete
    2. It is not the Secretariat but the Supervisory Board that decided.

      They Supervisory Board is the only body competent to decide on the dates - Art. 3(1) REE

      Delete
    3. We are not blaming the EPO at all. This is not their fault but also not the fault of candidates. There needs to be some considerations and balance.

      I think some gesture for candidates this year affected would be fair.

      Delete
  35. THIS IS FROM CIPA (Charter Institute of Patent Attorneys)
    The news of the cancellation of this year's European Qualifying Exams by the Supervisory Board of the EQE has come as a tremendous shock to candidates, their employers and to CIPA. Our student members invest a large part of their professional and personal lives in preparing to qualify as European Patent Attorneys and we share the sense of uncertainty, frustration and disappointment that they must be feeling this morning.

    At this stage, CIPA has not received official confirmation of the cancellation and our plans to host the EQE in Walsall remain in place. We will be communicating our concerns about the impact this decision will have on the UK profession to the Supervisory Board of the EQE. We will be asking that this decision be reversed and that all other options are considered. We will update members as soon as we know more

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Out of EU, but not out of EPC, so sorry CIPA you will continue to accept decisions taken on mainland Europe and accept that the power for these decisions is with the Supervisory Board

      Delete
    2. No one doubts that the power for these decisions is with the Supervisory Board. The point is that it is odd to cancel an event without mentioning it to the national authorities who have organised the event... The national authorities have to indicate that their plans remain in place because they can't exactly cancel the venue and all arrangements based on what they overheard the EPO tell candidates...

      Delete
    3. POOR COMMUNICATION FROM EPO5 March 2020 at 14:36

      Why did the EPO not communicate this or talk about it with the national authorities. its not like coronavirus happened overnight. They should all be talking about this months ago. The decision today took all national authorities by surprised.

      POOR COMMUNICATION FROM EPO

      Delete
    4. The national authority in the UK is the UK IPO, not CIPA.

      Delete
  36. Statement on EQE cancellation (to CIPA members)
    ________________________________________


    The news of the cancellation of this year's European Qualifying Exams by the Supervisory Board of the EQE has come as a tremendous shock to candidates, their employers and to CIPA. Our student members invest a large part of their professional and personal lives in preparing to qualify as European Patent Attorneys and we share the sense of uncertainty, frustration and disappointment that they must be feeling this morning.

    At this stage, CIPA has not received official confirmation of the cancellation and our plans to host the EQE in Walsall remain in place. We will be communicating our concerns about the impact this decision will have on the UK profession to the Supervisory Board of the EQE. We will be asking that this decision be reversed and that all other options are considered. We will update members as soon as we know more.




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are entering to a period of extreme uncertainty. How can anyone has the mind to prepare now

      Delete
    2. CIPA gives the impression, they would be in charge. They are not. It is the UK-IPO. CIPA is only the sub-contractor.

      Delete
  37. I know the EPO is trying their best but this is going to have huge knock on effects for candidates. Candidates will be unfairly penalised in months and possible years to come but the EPO is right to cancel.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I completely understand the EPO decision but with the coronavirus showing no sign of slowing down. Rearranging another date when virus is spreading would not be a good idea. Its frustrating for candidates but I think it won't happen at all this year. THey can't guarantee the virus will stop spreading in June and need to give candidates an appropriate amount of time to prepare again.

    The uncertainty is truly awful. Sorry 2020 candidates. I do hope the EPO will look kindly on you all.

    None of the other years had to endure such difficult and uncertain times than the current crop.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives

    11(7) If a pre-examination, as referred to in Article 1 of this Regulation and defined in the IPREE, is to be held, candidates who apply for enrolment for this pre-examination must be able to satisfy the Secretariat that at the date of the said pre-examination they have completed the periods mentioned in paragraph 2(a) and (b) above, such periods being reduced by one year. All other conditions applicable to the examination shall apply equally to the pre-examination unless the contrary is specifically stated. Moreover, if such a pre-examination is held, candidates who apply to be enrolled for the examination must have obtained a pass grade in the pre-examination.

    If the pre-exam is not held is it no longer a requirement to apply for the main exam?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks likes this leaves room for an exception for the pre-exam

      Delete
  40. From a logistical perspective, the EPO needs to consider whether the postponed test will keep "today" as "17.03.2020" or move it to a later date when the test is given. That alone creates an issue (e.g., re-printing or not, confusion for candidate, Paper D having a meeting with a client in 2-3 weeks, etc.).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what about the law cut off date also. Which month/year are we talking now. Our books will probably be out of the date.

      Delete
    2. I think that is easy to keep the same cut-off date. EPO should not move the cut-off and then all relevant law stays the same. Also, it seems unfair to add on new law for this test and not other tests. But Coronavirus and life are not fair either.....we will see.

      Delete
    3. I think the "today" problem should be solvable - I do not think that they throw away an exam just because of such a minor detail.

      However, I totally agree about the cut-off date. I do not want to buy and mark my third Visser and print thousands of pages WIPO applicants guide.

      Delete
  41. I suggest everyone to cancel their hotels, travels and flights etc... Get as much money back as you can. I had to pay myself this year so do it asap before hotels etc... stops refunding you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. good point - I'm calling mine now

      Delete
    2. Some hotels are clocking on that there is mass cancellations. They may not refund so just check yours now.

      Delete
    3. already cancelling my plans, travels and hotel in March. what a waste of my time.

      Delete
  42. CIPA is now asking EPO to reverse its decision and have issued a statement on the same. Candidates in the UK are now confused as to whether the EQE is still on: according to EQE examination Secreatriat it is cancelled (we got the email). But according to CIPA: the booking at Walsall (examination centre) is still as is and they are requesting a reversal of the decision...
    It's unfair to candidates to be honest - all this confusion is causing more stress...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with CIPA - Reverse the decision

      Delete
    2. In two minds about this. Unless the decision is reversed literally in the next few hours everyone will have already cancelled their bookings. How can the exams still go ahead then?

      Delete
    3. At this point it would cause another disaster, a lot of people I know already cancelled their bookings as Gilman mentioned.

      Delete
    4. The EPO can re-reimburse those fees as stated in their email.

      Delete
    5. CIPA has no say in this. So do not get confused by CIPA's statement. The Supervisory Board has decided.

      Delete
  43. CIPA is now asking EPO to reverse its decision and have issued a statement on the same. Candidates in the UK are now confused as to whether the EQE is still on: according to EQE examination Secreatriat it is cancelled (we got the email). But according to CIPA: the booking at Walsall (examination centre) is still as is and they are requesting a reversal of the decision...
    It's unfair to candidates to be honest - all this confusion is causing more stress...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please, who cares of CIPA.
      All candidates are informed.

      Delete
    2. Exams should take place where it has not been affected yet, A blanket ban is too severe and has a tremendous impact on candidates lives, wages, job progression.

      Having said that - why is CIPA always late and slow at reacting to things. They seem to be the last to know every time.

      Delete
    3. If the EPO didn't tell CIPA that isn't CIPA's fault. I suspect the other national organisers also may not have been told.

      CIPA is responsible, however, for their poorly-considered communications. Telling UK candidates that they might still have to sit the exam leaves everyone in limbo.

      Delete
    4. CIPA should fight for this to be reversed. They are doing the right thing for once.

      Delete
    5. A blanket ban? Please enlighten everyone where that not affected safe place is at, as far as we are aware almost every European country has a case at this point. Also, it's not just an issue with present cases at the location, it's the risk of spreading cases to that location with a huge organization like the EQE.

      Delete
  44. WE SHOULD APPEAL THE DECISION5 March 2020 at 13:13

    "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. "

    We as candidates are adversely affected by this decision. We should appeal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should get an automatic pass based on this comment alone.

      Delete
    2. I quote you...:-))
      But seriously:
      In general, automatic pass is the only way out.

      Delete
    3. I agree with "WE SHOULD APPEAL THE DECISION" in spirit. However, the argument does not work. Art. 107 clearly requires a "party" in a "proceeding" to be adversely affected. EQE candidates are not a party and the EQE is not a proceeding before the EPO. Furthermore, this "decision" does not end anything, EPO can reschedule the exam or provide another option. It would be premature for them to make this decision final and there are no reasons for appeal (we need to wait for a final result). The Regulation on the EQE for professional reps (OJ 2019 Suppl. 2) gives the EPO a lot of leeway to do things to the exams and candidates. EPO has not broke those rules yet. But I understand you were mostly teasing about the "decision"--it is not a popular decision, but neither is Coronavirus.

      Delete
    4. Candidates successfully appeal decisions in respect of the EQE all of the time. They are not excluded by A107.

      The decision to fail a candidate "does not end anything" either, since candidates can opt to resit.

      The "decision becomes final" when no appeal is filed within the appeal period, or when the appeal is not successful (appeal rejected as inadmissible or decision maintained in appeal).

      The mail says that cancellation of the March 16-19 tests was a decision (past tense), and that setting new dates will be the subject of a decision (future tense).

      There are thus two decisions described in the email, of which one - the cancellation decision - has an appeal period ending 2m from notification of said decision.

      When the decision on setting new dates arrives, it would also be open to appeal. Considering how much of an inconvenience the new dates might be, I recommend appealing this one too.

      Delete
    5. Hi Anonymous (5 March 2020 at 14:41). I disagree. If you look at OJ 2019 Suppl 2, it specifically discusses appeals in Art. 24 of the Regulation of the EQE (there is not mention of Art. 107 from the EPC). All appeals by candidates are under this regulation. If you read through Art. 24, the EPO has not infringed anything yet. Specifically, I don't see where the EPO violated "only on the grounds that this Regulation or any provision relating to its application has been infringed." What has been infringed with this decision from EPO? Also the period for appeals in the EQE reg. is 1 month (not 2 months like Art. 108 EPC).

      Delete
    6. The regulation states that the exams will "normally" be held every year. The explicit time limit is that successive exams "shall" be held at least every 25 months. The EPO are within their rights to postpone, and no rules have been broken here.

      Delete
    7. Besides, is EPO prepared for at least a thousand appeals at the same time?

      Delete
    8. Yeah, right, let's appeal on the very argument that we want to get covid and (maybe) die instead of taking EQE at a later date.

      Delete
  45. I see more problems for Pre-EQE guys if exams are delayed, specifically for registration/preparation for main exams. If they plan it after summer, for sure, Pre-EQE guys cannot take the main exam in 2021 even though they pass the Pre-EQE.
    Can EPO naturalize the pre-EQE in this situation? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is why exams should now be moving more towards computer-based exams. pre-EQEs could be done on a computer if things have been in place.

      Delete
    2. Some neutralisation probably needs to be applied to main-EQEs as well. Its too unfair and hard on the candidates taking all main exams this year.

      Delete
  46. Preparing for the main EQEs is no small task. I have a family and have been locking myself away from family and friends for weeks preparing for these important exams.

    I do understand the EPO's decision but its extremely upsetting to put in all this hard work and made so many tough decisions on my personal life to take these exams only for it to be taken away.

    ReplyDelete
  47. "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."

    How about candidates can choose between having a refund and getting a pass (or at least a compensable fail) for all exams they were scheduled to sit this year?

    ReplyDelete
  48. I have enough point to accept 45 points in paper D, the last one I have to pass.
    Thus, keep my money too...:-)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Kind of regret that I didn't try to appeal the marking of the previous exam - I scored 45 on C, but fell 1 point short on the total (199). I also wish that I had studied to A and B when I took them.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Even though I understand that all of you have been working hard for this exam, and that you are very disappointed, this is unbelievable to read some comments asking if "passes" could be given to all candidates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no one wants a pass but some factors should be considered/taken into account and hence, and some discretion may be applied. I think this is the fairest way.

      This decision is going to have a massive impact on individuals.

      Delete
    2. I believe some discretion should be considered for candidates this year.

      Most candidates work hard and no one is asking for a straight pass. Lets not attack candidates after all the issues they have to deal with today. It reasonable for the EPO to consider the impact this has on candidates - I think that is completely justified.

      Delete
    3. There is a life out of EQE.
      For sure I prefer to pass than other solutions.
      If you prefer studying one or more other years for EQE no one will stop you.

      Delete
    4. Giving passes to all candidates does not guarantee that all candidates pass. There is still the 200 point criterion that has to be satisfied, which cannot be done if a candidate has compensable fails on the books.

      Additionally, it wouldn't be just if everyone just received compensable fails, since that would unfairly punish candidates who take all four exams.

      Giving passes to all 2020 papers is the only way to avoid injustice.

      Delete
    5. Sad but true (cit. Metallica)

      Delete
    6. I do not think that any of you would be satisfied to get a kind of half eqe.

      Moreover, that would be totally unfair for other EPA's.

      Delete
    7. Grandfather clause is also totally unfair, so what?
      None of us would be satisfied, but I think it is better moving on,
      enter the list of professional representatives and work hard
      out of the books in the real life, with our clients.

      Delete
    8. At the beginning things had to start... Grandfather clause was not unfair at the beginning. Of course, if you consider new countries entrance, then it is unfair for other EPA's. But this is a choice regarding all benefits to have a new country part of the EPC.

      Grandfather clause was the solution, otherwise local attorneys would refuse to comply.

      However, today EPA's will refuse such advantage because of a timetable issue (including me first !)

      Delete
    9. Being honest, most of grandfathers don't know nothing of EPC, grandfather clause was completely unfair and today there is a situation that claim a 'new beginning'.
      A new 'grandfather clause' would be equally unfair, but necessary.

      Delete
    10. I agree : "unfair"

      I disagree : "but necessary"

      Delete
  51. Though I doubt it will happen, how about something like if people have one more paper to sit and got over 200 points total across the 4 papers last year/previously, they are given a comp fail for the last exam?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what about people who need to sit all 4. They too need to be provided with something otherwise it is not equally applied to them as they are probably immpacted the most from this decision

      Delete
  52. I've done a lot of practice papers. I cannot un-see past papers and my preparation is going to be affected if they re-arrange to a later date this year.

    Its hard to keep up with this intensity revision - most people don't appreciate this.

    All the preparation are geared up to March exams. Very upsetting

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, particularly if you are re-sitting you'll have already exhausted the compendium, working towards an exam this month.

      Delete
    2. I started my preparation by practicing on old papers so that I would be practicing on the most recent papers closest to exam time. Now I have nothing left to study. Redoing the oldest papers is counter-productive since the law has changed. Redoing the more recent papers is not helpful since they are still fresh in my mind.

      They cannot do this to us!

      Delete
    3. All my preparations are pretty much complete. I've done past papers and read the guidelines etc... I can't do the same thing twice.

      Delete
  53. YESS!!
    Finally a good news on such a rainy day.

    Well, talking for me at least. There was so much pressure at work lately. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have to be honest and say my initial reaction was also "Great! More revision time!"

      But then I thought that the exams are more likely to simply be cancelled outright this year, which is somewhat non-great.

      Delete
    2. and also to no pay rise for another year. Don't think that's great either

      Delete
  54. EQE will not gonna happened this year.
    Will EPO publish the 2020 papers anyway?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a good question. I am particularly curious to know how the new DI/DII balance looks...

      Delete
  55. Totally heart broken. The EPO must do something for candidates this year. Its too much cancelling or postponing the exams.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Every candidate should receive the notation 45 for each paper enrolled, with grade compensable fail. This way, if the exam is "just" postponed, the candidate have the choice to sit or to keep the notation 45.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that's quite a good idea.

      Delete
    2. Not a bad idea!

      Delete
    3. How is it a good idea? Give 45 marks to candidates who have done absolutely nothing to demonstrate that they would have got 45 marks?

      Look, I understand the frustration. Really. But the EPO is not going to do something like this. How could they?

      Delete
    4. This would mean people re-sitting an exam, but who would otherwise have the full 200 marks and two passes + a compensible fail, wouldn't need to re-sit.

      However, someone sitting all the exams this year for the first time would still have to take all of them so this wouldn't help them much.

      Delete
    5. "the EPO is not going to do something like this. How could they?"

      The EPO has given compensatory marks for things like the exam centre being too cold, so it's not unknown.

      Delete
    6. Yeah, but not 45 compensatory marks! At least in that situation there were exam scripts with existing marks that could be added to. They didn't just pass everyone.

      Delete
    7. The best for all.
      Who doesn't like 45 is free to re-sit one or all papers.

      Delete
    8. 45 marks for each papers don't means to give the EQE freely. To pass the EQE, candidates have to up to 50 at 2 papers and more than 200 marks. So we can't tell that the candidate have done absolutely nothing to demonstrate the fitness-to-practice.

      Delete
    9. Haha, that would be hilarious...I got 45 on C last year, but came 1 point short on the 200.

      Delete
  57. Whilst I am gutted that I have to wait longer to sit the EQE, the people asking for an automatic pass are delusional. The EPO would never stand for it. Half the candidates sitting all 4 EQEs fail, so awarding an auto-pass would cheapen the qualification.

    Frankly, if I'm honest with myself, I wouldn't want to be grandfathered in like that - you'd always have people wonder if you were "really" qualified.

    I can't realistically see the Secretariat awarding more than a few compensatory marks (probably no more than 5) to the affected candidates for their troubles, and even that feels like a stretch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No automatic passes. Completely agree and I think some are just over-reacting.

      However, the EPO must apply or consider some discretion this year. Its would be extremely unfair and unsatisfactory for candidates this year if they do not.

      Delete
    2. Some discretion, like what? Flowers on the table and a sandwich with a coke?
      They messed up, they will fix.

      Delete
  58. Never ever EPO will grandfather anybody or give additional marks, never ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The EPO has grandfathered in the past and has also awarded compensatory marks.

      Delete
  59. Fact: in several EPO contracting countries, meeting/ gathering is not allowed in view of Covid, and this can be also considered a criminal offence.

    Had the EPO not cancelled the exams, some candidates would have swung between the Kafkian absurdity of not being allowed to attend the exam because of national authority and to be considered a "no shown sitter" from the EPO.

    Just think about it before blaming EPO.

    Giovanni.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's be clear that we're talking primarily about Italy and the question is why the exams didn't simply go ahead outside Italy.

      I get that the exams really should be the same for everyone, but this is the kind of situation which the EPO should already be prepared for. It is standard practise, for example, to have a back-up paper prepared in case the exam has to be cancelled at the last minute for some reason.

      Delete
    2. Infections grow day by day. Most likely, in two weeks (i.e. exam week) other countries besides Italy will be severely affected by Covid. Put this way, the decision to cancel it everywhere, not just in Italy, is understandable

      Delete
  60. We've seen that several professional associations are reacting to the news.

    What about training organisations? Does DeltaPatents plan on weighing in on the situation with the EPO/EPI?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who else has reacted aside from CIPA?

      Delete
  61. Italy for now, you will see in a few weeks in the rest of Europe.
    There is no vaccine, every one of us has to take the virus sooner or later.

    ReplyDelete
  62. More evidence as to why having an approach of coursework/exam mixture is good. Relying entirely on exams as we see in this situation has too much of a large impact on everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree with your point...a combination of courses and exams would make the process much more fair and less prone to disruptions...maybe a good chance for the EPO to re-think the qualification system.

      Delete
  63. If they just cancel, it will make things complicated logistically for 2021 and 2022 because in 2021 there will be a double cohort for the pre-exam, compared to a single cohort for the main exam (so probably two different test centers will be needed), and in 2022 there will be a single cohort for the pre-exam and a double cohort for the main exam (same problem).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great, if there are two exam centres next year in the UK, can at least one of them be somewhere sensible?

      Delete
  64. Is there anymore from EPO. Literally nothing now for the past few hours. Can they provide more information on why the decision is taken, what processes they went through to come up with this.

    People's lives are being affected and hold with this decision and they must explain in detail the processes that took place.

    How will they consider the impact on candidates.

    Candidates have the right to know. At least some indication as to when the next update is likely to be will be beneficial.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.epo.org/news-issues/news/2020/20200304.html
      First bullet point

      Delete
    2. Response to: 5 March 2020 at 15:54

      This means that they should have contracted with the test centres to provide invigilation via webcam - think remote presence robots or test centre employees with skype.

      This also means that they should have more test centres to keep below 50 participants...

      Delete
  65. I'm giving up on revision until I hear more.

    No point putting myself through hardcore revision and it has been so intense for the past few months unless more is out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just stop all revision. No point going through all the stresses now until situation is clearer.

      Delete
  66. It was not just an EPO decision - the Boards are comprised equally of EPO and epi members. They fully realise the impact. They have been busy working behind the scenes to find some way, but they ended up in a dead-end street.
    They rely heavily on the EQE secretariat for the organisation and EPO premises for some exams, so if the EPO President cancels all travel and all events, there is not much to be done.
    They also only have one exam available for each paper - if it went ahead in one place, they could not hold it anywhere else afterwards.
    It is a horrible situation, and devastating for those who are ready, but given the current unpredictability about where and when there will be an outbreak, and the standard response of governments shutting everything down, how were they supposed to do it differently?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EPO is not to blame. The situation is desperately horrible. The least they can do is consider all candidates affected this year and somehow take that into account.

      Delete
    2. Candidates are the only ones that really suffer this situation.
      EPO is not to blame, but EPO is the only one that has the power of
      ending the suffering of the candidates, in a way that who prefers to keep suffering it is free to suffer another year or more.

      Delete
  67. We understand this may cause some business disruption and apologise for any inconvenience caused. We are continuously monitoring the situation and will provide updates as necessary.

    Although I understand why the EPO did what they had to do, they could provide alot more consideration to their message. The EPO has also missed the following from its apology,

    candidates personal lives, exam preparation time, career progression, wages, and the stress they all now face.

    ReplyDelete
  68. EPO should have a computer-based EQE that can be taken a few times per year. Most countries with developed patent systems (e.g., US) offer this. Accordingly, this problem can be avoided.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Most countries with developed patent systems (e.g., US) offer this."

      Evidence please.

      Clearly none of the European countries do this.

      The US has a (frankly) rubbish exam system which is entirely multi-choice questions on MPEP. You have to attend an exam centre to sit the exam event though it is administered by computer. The general consensus amongst US attorneys I have spoken to about this is that it does not even test basic competence.

      As far as I am aware Japan does not have computer exam, neither does South Korea or Taiwan.

      So what countries are you talking about?

      Delete
  69. Has an EQE session been cancelled in the past? I don’t think so. It is an exceptional and unexpected situation that is problematic for candidates and for EPO. Hope EPO will quickly provide a balanced solution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As far as I know, this is the first time since the sad day EQE was born.

      Delete
  70. Paper D is supposed to have a change in distribution of points this year. I recommend a 60/40 split. For D-I, you get 60 points for writing "Coronavirus", and D-II can be a normal D-II.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Since it is unlikely to be postponed, a fair (?) solution would be to reschedule the 2020 papers to 2021 and likewise for the subsequent years (2021 > 2022, ...) by freezing new enrolments for 2021. This would avoid double cohorts, assuming no “covid-20” next year.

    ReplyDelete
  72. One thing that leaves me unsettled is not knowing when (and if) they will reschedule EQE. We're left in this limbo of not knowing if we should drop the revisions, or holding on and keep studying for just few months.
    The e-mail sent to us should've been clearer on when to expect a final decision of rescheduling vs. cancelling EQE 2020.

    ReplyDelete