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).

96 comments:

  1. I don't think there should be any new enrolment for sitting EQEs 2021 until 2020 candidates are sorted.

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  2. They need to cancel enrolment for EQEs 2021 rather than postpone. Sorting out 2020 candidates is the top priority.

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    1. Why are 2021 candidates less important than you? Come on, be fair to them! They did not send COVID-19 into you!

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    2. The point is to stop new enrolment until we get this year sorted out first. If exams are postponed until 2021 for EQE 2020 candidates, then there are questions of whether there will be sufficient venues, enough examiners etc so until they tell us how to manage all of this, I don't see how they could take on more candidates. It will create more mess for everyone.

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    3. Hi Anonymous 30 March 2020 at 16:54
      I am glad that you do not need to organize the exams. Why do you think the EQE organization cannot organize all of that, they have enough time for EQE 2021 still to find more supervisors and larger or additional venus, so they will without any doubt manage! Please do not overdo the pessimism and do not be unreasonable to the EQE organization. Have trust in the people concerned.

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    4. I used to be involved in EQEs and I can tell you there is no way they can find double the amount of spaces, examiners etc... in 8-10 months. Unless they pay everyone to go to large centres like Munich.

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    5. They already need to have double the space available between desks in case of virus precautions being imposed due to an outbreak.

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    6. That is not true. If true, why didn't the exams go ahead. Stop making these facts up.

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  3. Confined candidate31 March 2020 at 09:07

    Should the 2020 candidates be considering enrolling for the 2021 exam? We currently do not know the status of our enrollment! It's bad enough for us to be missing one year due to cancellation of the test at the last minute - but now we risk missing two years because we do not know if we should enroll or not!

    Additionally, assuming that enrollment for the 2020 test is simply applied to serve as enrollment to the 2021 test, will the candidates from the 2020 cohort be sitting a different subject from the 2021 cohort? It would not be fair to the candidates of the 2020 cohort to have to either buy new test resources or sit the paper using outdated resources, and it would not be fair to the training companies to allow the candidates of the 2021 cohort to avoid buying resources updated for the 2021 papers.

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    Replies
    1. Who is being unfair? No one is, please stop suggesting that someone is.

      Without any doubt, all people involved are now working very hard to reduce the damage as much as possible. Please give them the credits for doing that rather than blaming them for things far beyond their control!!

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    2. Additionally, do not forget that preparing for and passing the EQE is only the start of your legal career. You need to keep up with changes throughout your entire career as EPA, so you will need to by up-to-date resources for the next 30-50 years.

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    3. What does EQE have to do with "legal career"? For example, in the US a patent agent masquerading as a lawyer would be disbarred.

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    4. You answered your own question. Masquerading yourself as an EPA that passed the EQE years ago but never kept up-to-date would get you a disciplinary measure if you do not serve your clients well because of the latter.

      Or don't you consider an EPA career to be a legal career?... The term "patent law firm" is widespread...

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    5. Indeed, I don't consider the EPA career to be a legal career. Was it so hard to guess? Legal practitioners are mentioned in A 134(8) as an alternative form of life.

      I actually wonder if it could be ethical or legal for an EPA to write a "legal opinion", as required by R 26 IREE. In my opinion, if it concerns infringement, then it should be completely unallowable, as in the USA. But who would care in the EQE circuit about such complex questions...

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    6. Also, the Boards of Appeal according to Arts 21(3) and 21(4) must include at least one leqally qualified member, and (surprise, surprise!) EQE is not considered as sufficient. So, even the most legal paper of the EQE, i.e. Paper D, is defective by its legal design: R 26 IREE instructs legally unqualified persons write a Legal Opinion, i.e. basically commit malpractice. But this is apparently ok, since EQE and quality are not related concepts.

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    7. It sounds like one of those bitter lawyers who cannot believe that Europeans can become a patent attorney without formerly getting a law degree. The feeling is mutual - we cannot believe that national lawyers are allowed to represent clients before the EPO without any formal patent training. It is also hard to read claims without a technical training. I guess life is not fair :-)

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    8. No, not at all (and I have a technical degree besides a legal degree). That is, please do not misrepresent my position. I am not bitter that some people get some representation rights by passing some exams.

      Rather, I am bitter that EQE contains questions, which are based on false understanding of the representative's rights and responsibilities.

      Just imagine a Driver License Test in which your task would be essentially to violate the Driving Laws, e.g. the speed limit and road signs (or the expected solution would be based on such a violation). This is nonsense!

      And hence, the EQE should not include such a task in Paper D as drafting a legal opinion. Drafting legal opinions is completely beyond the EPO representative's responsibilities!


      Also, I am bitter that papers are formulated and/or marked by people apparently not really qualified for the task.

      For example, how can a person without a legal qualification mark a legal opinion?

      Unfortunately, this seems to be how a marking policy, in which there are no marks available for citing the legal basis in Part II of Paper D, was developed. Think again: no marks for citing legal basis in the legal opinion! (Luckily, I do not have to deal with this madness anymore)

      For another example, how can EPO examiners, having absolutely no clients, create non-existing rules on what clients' interests are? But they do, in the EQE... And they developed a policy that making claim 1 broad in Paper A is good, but in Paper B is bad :) And at the same time adding dependencies in Paper B is required, even in the absence of any instruction from the client :)

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    9. That is not completely true - there were a lot of discussions in the past about attorney-client privilege, which led to Rule 153 being introduced into the EPC. Legally, a European Patent Attorney can give a legal opinion on validity, patentability and legal status of a European patent. But, there is a grey area regarding infringement - because that is currently decided nationally (until the UPC), only national patent attorneys can give an opinion on infringement in their own countries. But as far as the exam is concerned, DII is a good representation of the kind of advice that EPA's are required to provide.

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    10. It is not an EPO exam - the papers are made jointly by epi members and EPO employees who have all passed the EQE. They are usually desperate for volunteers (particularly from the epi), so your assistance would be welcomed.
      And you are not penalised for including citations on DII - you can include them if you have time (you are penalised on the DI part). In any case, it still makes sense to include some citations to explain your answer (eg case law). The DII part is testing different skills as part of the D paper.

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    11. The exam is not real-life. I think the DII approaches what you would do in real life.
      But you would not answer an office action in the same way as for B (you should not just be doing what the client wants - you are the expert), and you would certainly not write an opposition like the C paper (no client would pay for it).
      A seems to be somewhere in the middle between exam and real-life.

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    12. R 153 relates to advices, and not legal opinions. In contrast, Paper D, Part II requires a candidate to write a Legal Opinion. How does the task of writing specifically a Legal Opinion relate to representative's responsibilities?

      (Actually, the first phrase in a good representative's Advice should include a statement "this is NOT a legal opinion").

      Also, Paper D, part II always requires discussing infringement. So, it basically requires committing malpractice.

      Then, Paper D, part II may require discussing validity of a patent after the expiration of opposition period. But this is also an issue for national courts.

      Importantly, Legal Opinions normally include legal basis; i.e. not including it would typically be a mistake. However, in Paper D courses they explain the mad marking policy: there are no marks available for citing the legal basis in the legal opinion!

      So, DII is not at all "a good representation of the kind of advice that EPA's are required to provide", but an artificial and unethical way to obstruct those candidates, who know what a legal opinion must include and what the advice per Rule 153 cannot include.

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    13. I know a lot of Germans are frustrated that they don't get points for making a list of abbreviations on the first page and no points for legal basis. But that is tested in their national exam.
      A lot of EPA's are doing this all over Europe for their clients. Clients don't use lawyers, because most lawyers do not have the knowledge or experience. If it comes to actually suing for infringement, then that is done in a national court, and typically the lawyers take over, depending on the knowledge.
      And calling it an advice, not an opinion, is not really going to help if you actually give an opinion.
      It is an imperfect system, but as someone suggested, they are always looking for more volunteers.

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    14. "A lot of EPA's are doing this all over Europe for their clients" - probably, yes. But this should not be a requirement for qualification!

      "I know a lot of Germans are frustrated that ... no points for legal basis" - and they are completely correct!

      "And calling it an advice, not an opinion, is not really going to help if you actually give an opinion." - yes, and I did not want to write a legal opinion to pass the EQE. But I had to, and what I wrote once, included a lot of legal basis to make it closer to a legal opinion, which slowed me down. So, I did not pass at that time. In the same year, some of those who did not even know about the issue, passed (they just assumed that smth can be done). So, in the end I lost time and also had to pay for courses where the mad EQE marking policies are explained, not because I lacked legal knowledge, but because I had it.

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    15. "The exam is not real-life. ... you would not answer an office action in the same way as for B (you should not just be doing what the client wants - you are the expert)" - exactly!

      Also, what you would do can greatly depend on the client, and how your supervisor deals with client instructions. Often, there are a lot of differences between supervisors even within the same firm.

      Imho, Paper B is completely artificial by design and is artificially marked (in part because there is no any source like EPC explaining how to deal with client's instructions and unexpressed interests; and also because patent examiners some in-house attorneys have no experience in dealing with clients).

      The EQE should be significantly changed.

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    16. ... but will you be volunteering for one of the Exam committees?

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    17. @Anonymous 1 April 2020 at 14:41

      I do not agree. Every client would be very happy if you can draft a notice of opposition for him in only 5,5 hours!

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    18. @ Anonymous 1 April 2020 at 15:07

      I know it is April 1.

      And you must be joking when you say "Paper D, part II always requires discussing infringement. So, it basically requires committing malpracing"

      If you (after you qualified as an EPA) do not tell you client that he is infringing while he is, you are not doing your job well. It is your task to tell him that. And you have the privilege in the EPC to do so (within limits).

      If you do not want to do the task that an EPA must do, why do you want to become one?

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    19. In this hypo that "I do not tell your client that he is infringing" there is premise "while he is". But why do you think that it is my client who is infringing? And why do you think that there is infringement? It is an issue for a lawyer in a particular jurisdiction...

      Also, where does the conclusion "you are not doing your job well" come from? As merely a EPA, I would not have the right to give legal opinions at all. And even more so on infringement.

      Also, where does the nonsensical ad hominem attack "If you do not want to do the task that an EPA MUST do, why do you want to become one?" come from? Please refer to a specific rule which makes you believe that a EPA MUST give legal opinions on infringement issues.

      You cannot justify everything by April 1.

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    20. Whatever you call it, EPA's have to give opinions on validity and infringement to either their bosses or their clients. You are helping the business balance the risks. That is real-life for most EPA's - if you cannot be concrete and specific, then they will go to someone else. Not in an email, but by telephone = infringe / not infringe / borderline. And if you need to consult another specialist to get a higher degree of certainty, then you mention that as well.
      If you work for a multinational with plenty to spend, you can collect all the opinions you need - for your insurance or to avoid being blamed within the company if it goes wrong (cover your ass) or to avoid triple damages in the US, then you need an official document from someone who is legally entitled to make this (national lawyer or national attorney). It is a game that is played at different levels by different businesses.

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    21. "Whatever you call it, EPA's have to give opinions on validity and infringement to either their bosses or their clients." - however, it is not my choice to call it this way or that way. Instructions in the IREE for Paper D, Part II require giving specifically the Legal Opinion!

      And if you open any book on how to write a legal opinion, you will normally very quickly see an instruction to cite legal basis. However, the markers do not give a damn about this, to a great disadvantage of candidates who actually studied law or at least opened IREE and then a book on Legal Opinions.


      "EPA's have to give opinions on validity and infringement to either their bosses or their clients" - sorry, but only some EPAs do this. And, in contrast, some EPAs avoid giving any opinions concerning national jurisdictions.



      "That is real-life for most EPA's - if you cannot be concrete and specific, then they will go to someone else" - speeding is also real-life for many drivers. But this cannot be a qualification exam task, don't you understand???

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    22. You have to base your preparation on what the exam is, and not what you think it is (or what it should be). You only have to do 5 old papers and read the examiners reports and look at the candidates solution, to see what they expect. If you generate what they want you will pass.
      If you generate what you think they should want, you have a good chance of failing - that is a terrible strategy for any exam. And terrible advice for any candidate.
      You also vastly underestimate how difficult it is to make an exam for 1000 people who work in different languages in different countries. Talk with someone who is involved to see the compromises involved.
      Or volunteer yourself - that is the only way to change or improve anything.

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    23. "You only have to do 5 old papers and read the examiners reports and look at the candidates solution, to see what they expect." - I do not remember any report with a statement "we did not give any marks for the legal basis in the legal opinion". The markers hide pretty well this abuse of candidates from public review. So, I learned about this "unofficial rule" from some epi materials, bought for some money, and was completely shocked. And then I still tried to give legal basis in a later paper D because I thought that maybe competent people would mark it and would require the legal basis...

      "You also vastly underestimate how difficult it is to make an exam for 1000 people who work in different languages in different countries" - there is absolutely nothing difficult in giving marks for legal basis in a Legal Opinion. But the efforts are instead made to omit from each Report the fact that such marks are not given.

      "You have to base your preparation on what the exam is, and not what you think it is (or what it should be)." - yeah, this is like what people in power who do not follow rules and abuse other people usually say...

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    24. Dear Anonymous-es of several dates,

      Please stop quarreling about the setup etc of the exam here. The setup is defined by the REE (a decision from the Administrative Council) and IPREE (decision by Supervisory Board). In both deciding bodies, national authorities and/or epi are present, to represent, together with the EPO delegations, all stakeholders. So, of you have complaints on fundamental choices made for the EQE, this blog is not really the right forum. Note that the title of the blog is "Enrolment to the main examination 2021 postponed".

      Further, Art. 134a EPC and Rule 153 EPC, in particular Rule 153(2)(c) "Such privilege ... any opinion relating to the validity, scope of protection or infringement of a European patent or a European patent application" clearly specifies that it is within the competence of a European patent attorney to give opinions on validity, scope of protection and infringement.
      In some countries, a European patent attorney can only act in court proceedings as an expert, on other countries they cannot go alone but need to go with a lawyer (e.g., for the procedural matters before the courts) while they do have an independent right to speak (i.e., not under the responsibility of the lawyer), in other countries a European patent attorney can do validity and/or infringement proceedings before the national authorities without a layer (See e.g., https://www.epo.org/learning-events/materials/litigation.html)

      @Anonymous 1 April 2020 at 22:40: Please check the IPREE:

      Rule 26
      Content of the examination – Legal paper (Paper D)

      (1) The purpose of this paper shall be to assess candidates' ability to answer legal questions and to draft legal assessments as defined in Article 1(4) REE. The duration of this paper shall be five hours.

      (2) It shall comprise questions relating to different areas of the candidates' legal knowledge. Answers should be brief and to the point. Candidates shall always cite any article, rule or other legal basis relevant to their answer.

      (3) It shall also include an enquiry from a client requiring an answer in the form of a legal opinion. Candidates shall use the opinion they draft to explain the legal consequences of the situation as described. They shall be expected to demonstrate their ability to deal with a complex industrial-property law case involving fundamental issues of patentability, rights of inventors, inventions as property and third-party rights, as defined in particular, but not solely, in Articles 52 to 89 EPC, the corresponding articles of the PCT, any legislation relating to Community patents, the Paris Convention, and the relevant laws of the contracting states.

      (2) = DI
      (3) = DII

      So in contrast to what you pose, it is not an "unofficial rule" that no legal citations are needed in DII. On the contrary, it is unambiguous from the IPREE that legal basis needs to be cited for DI, but as it is not listed as required for DII, it is not required for DII.
      By the way, if you want to cite legal basis in DII, it is allowed! There are however no marks for it (expect maybe for a few bonus marks to recognize the effort taken by you), as marks are only given for aspects defined in the REE/IPREE.

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    25. Dear Roel,

      Of course, you would defend the system.

      However, the argument that "as it is not listed as required for DII, it is not required for DII" (or in the alternative formulation "marks are only given for aspects defined in the REE/IPREE") is flawed.

      Indeed, for Paper B it is not listed in IREE that adding dependencies is required. And the client's instructions do not always include a request for adding dependencies. However, adding dependencies is required: see Paper B-2018.

      Then, you wrote that marks are only given for aspects defined in the REE/IPREE. However, DII demands writing the Legal opinion. Don't you agree that a legal opinion as a rule includes legal basis? (this is how they teach in law schools and what is written in any book on legal opinions). So, the marking policy, which you mentioned, is fundamentally flawed: it is misleading to the people who actually would try to write the legal opinion.

      As for https://www.epo.org/learning-events/materials/litigation.html ,it states that parties must be represented either by lawyers (attorneys-at-law) or by European Patent Attorneys entitled to act as professional representatives before the EPO, with appropriate qualifications in patent litigation, but for UPC! (It also states that Representatives may be assisted by patent attorneys who may address the UPC). R 153 does not relate to Legal Opinions and to national jurisdictions.

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    26. It is common practice in laws to only regulate what you need to regulate - otherwise, you have to keep updating it. That is why you have hierarchy of laws and regulations in any system. If you base your preparation solely on the REE, you are unlikely to pass.
      You seem to have a lot of time to consider these things - volunteer here to join a committee: http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/7E0A00EBD4A3CD59C12583F500526B23/$File/Notice_EB_Recruitment%20new%20ECS_EN_as_of_2019.pdf

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    27. "If you base your preparation solely on the REE, you are unlikely to pass." - I am not sure what this relates to. Did you mean that the Examination Board marking Paper B-2018 correctly went beyond what was listed in "un-updated" IPREE? If you compare the Delta solution with Examiners' Report, you will see that Delta did not add dependencies, but examiners did.

      Or did you mean that the Boards and Committees marking Paper DII correctly ignore in the "un-updated" R. 26 IPREE the word "legal" in the expression "legal opinion" (of which legal basis is a necessary component)?

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    28. @ Anonymous 2 April 2020 at 14:23

      It would be appreciated if you use your name and do not hide behind anonymous posts. Makes it much easier to communicate.

      I do not want to continue the discussion as you do not seem willing to change your opinion when others try ti argue with you in a reasonable way.

      One point I want to draw your attention to. You wrote "R 153 does not relate to Legal Opinions and to national jurisdictions."
      I do not agree that those are not covered. On the contrary, they are at least some a large extent: Rule 153 also refers to validity of European PATENTS (and the Rule is not limited to opposition) and to infringement (which is purely national law). So it DOES relate to national jurisdictions.

      And as another point: the IPREE clearly defines what a legal opinion is in the context of the EQE which, in my view, resembles a real-life legal opinion but within the constraints of an exam situation. That a legal opinion may have a few less, or some additional, or even somewhat different requirements in some jurisdictions or in some educational system may be true, but is not relevant in my view in this context. (And, as said before, no one forbids you to give legal basis in DII.)

      I agree that the exam is artificial. Any exam is. Also every university exam, also every national patent attorney qualification exam. An exam has some boundary conditions that are different from what the real-life thing it tries to emulate (e.g., the exam's time constraints could be considered kind of simulations of real-life budget constraint) and some aspects that make it unambiguous and "certain" contrary to real-life ( you "know" that all claims can be attacked in C; you "know" that both client and the competitor will have a valid right and there will be mutual infringement in DII). Also, the Examiner's reports give guidance (see also the introductory paragraph in every recent Examiner's Report) and courses may help you to gather all that information and to practice - as for university exams and law school and related institutions for our technical degree and you national patent attorney qualification. Part of studying law is also to understand the meaning of provisions, which goes beyond the literal meaning - the latter is sometimes clear from case law, sometimes just from the context; herein, practice helps as understanding the exam context makes it easier to pass than just going in there and trusting on your knowledge. In my opinion, the exam papers usually find a quite good balance between all boundary conditions - if I would not have that opinion, I would not be able to tutor. And where I/we do not agree, we post our answers on our blogs, we discuss with candidates on the blogs, and we participate very actively in the Tutor meeting every year (where exam committee members and tutors meet) about which we also report in epi Information together with other tutors from all across Europe to share all information.

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    29. If something is forbidden, then they cannot do it. If it is not forbidden, then they can do it. Just like changing the DI:DII point split from 40:60 to 50:50 - they are free to change it in the exam. So the REE is a good starting point, but it does not determine everything. They can theoretically ask you about the community patent regulations, but they don't do it in practice.
      If you want to split hairs - it also says "an answer in the form of a legal opinion". It does not say that the answer should be a legal opinion.

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    30. There is also a practical reason not to require legal basis in DII - you would have to bring references for all European countries. Also from US/JP (which are mentioned officially), as well as countries that have appeared in DII before, like China. They are actually being very nice to candidates.

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    31. Dear Roel,

      Still, Rule 153(2)(c) does not authorize specifically Legal opinions (in particular, on issues going beyond the scope of the EQE, such as the national law not mentioned in the list of literature for the EQE).

      Also, your interpretation of Rule 153 (in the formulation accepted by the Administrative Council) likely would not be accepted by a court in a random country, since Rule 153 has nothing to do with their legal regime and procedures for changing it.

      Recently, Germany has showed us all very well how much has to be done to change the legal regime.

      Also, please do not present me as "all in denial". For example, I am in agreement with the point made above by another Anonymous on 1 April 2020 at 14:20 "only national patent attorneys can give an opinion on infringement in their own countries".

      I could value your argument very high in relation to some country. So I briefly checked your reference https://www.epo.org/learning-events/materials/litigation.html . However, it states that parties must be represented either by lawyers (attorneys-at-law) or by European Patent Attorneys entitled to act as professional representatives before the EPO, with appropriate qualifications in patent litigation, for UPC! Does not this hint to you who is qualified to provide opinion on national law and who is not?


      As for your point that "the IPREE clearly defines what a legal opinion", I do not see any clear statement there that "legal opinion does not have to include legal basis" or that "we define legal opinion in a very special way...". You wrote "that a legal opinion may have a few less, or some additional, or even somewhat different requirements in some jurisdictions or in some educational system may be true". In my opinion, it is rather universally accepted that legal basis is a component of the legal opinion (cf. Art. 125 EPC); and so a candidate should expect marks for the legal basis.

      If the Examination Board ever wanted to be clear about the rules of the exam, they could write clearly in the Reports that "we interpret the Rule 26(3) as not extending to legal basis". But they do not write this (at least I have never seen). That is, they knowingly prevent people from appealing (and the EQE courses can flourish in part thanks to such unclarities). And they knowingly harm those, who actually have knowledge of legal basis.

      Regards,

      N-A

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    32. "If you want to split hairs - it also says "an answer in the form of a legal opinion". It does not say that the answer should be a legal opinion" - sorry, I do not want to split hairs. I want the exam to be adequately marked and candidates to be on equal footing. I do not want to participate in games like having an exam for "maths" and then be marked as if it was an exam for quickly writing letters M, a, t, h and s.

      N-A

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    33. Dear Roel,

      Regarding missing reasonable arguments, please note this one above:

      The argument that "as it is not listed as required for DII, it is not required for DII" (or in the alternative formulation "marks are only given for aspects defined in the REE/IPREE") is flawed.
      Indeed, for Paper B it is not listed in IREE that adding dependencies is required. And the client's instructions do not always include a request for adding dependencies. However, adding dependencies is required: see Paper B-2018.


      I see that you are consistent: the Delta solution for Paper B-2018 did not include the additional dependencies. But the Examiner's Report did! Maybe, you should change your training programs... (?)

      Regards,

      N-A

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    34. Dear N-A,
      if you join one of the committees, you will see that there is no great conspiracy to mislead candidates so that courses can flourish and candidates fail. They are all trying to pass candidates.
      You can also volunteer to write a comment in the Examiners Report if you are in a committee.
      Anyway, I am pretty sure such a comment has been made in one of the Tutors' Reports on the exams that appear each year in the epi Information.
      G.T.

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    35. Dear G. T,

      I heard from three people (of completely different ages, from different firms and different countries) how some members invent artificial reasons to penalize candidates.

      As for the EPI information, this is treated as hearsay and cannot be used in appeal.

      The markers for years continued the practice of double penalization. Then some EPA from Germany appealed for his candidates, in 2018 I think. Guess what? The Board increased penalties for single mistakes in Paper B-2019 so much that the all earned marks would be just nullified (cf. with previous Papers B, where the penalty would be e.g. "-5" or "-10").

      Also, it seems that there are already people winning appeals repeatedly...

      N-A

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    36. N-A: there are plenty of imperfections in the exam, and they have to find marking schemes that filter out people who do not appear to be fit to practice. So some people are failed who deserve to pass. But they do let a lot of people through with the benefit of the doubt. Some people who should have failed actually pass - that is less visible.
      There is an appeal procedure for individuals who fail, and some successes. That can force a change in the marking or the exam, but then a different group of people are disadvantaged.
      Good luck pursuing an appeal based on "legal opinion" being so misleading that is was the direct cause of you failing. Let us know when you have a decision.

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    37. G-T: Please be assured that I personally cannot take D. As for appeals, they help sometimes, and I participated in two appeals for Paper D for two different candidates in different years, won on interlocutory revision. But the appeal review is very limited for EQE (at least at the Disc. BoA), so the chances are very small. This hurts the fairness of the EQE very much. The current state of affairs with the EQE is such that in my opinion the appeal review powers of the DBA should be greatly expanded.

      N-A

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    38. N-A: we can agree on that - the appeal system is horrific for Main Exam:
      - in most countries, if you fail an exam, you can look at your own marking sheet to see where you lost points. As far as I know, that is impossible with EQE, even if you win the appeal. If they had a system for that (even if you had to pay), there would be fewer appeals.
      - it takes months to get a decision
      - to win, you have to show that a committee or board did not follow all their procedures and regulations, but not all the procedures are made public
      - if you win, it is only the right to have your paper remarked. Although the DBoA has awarded at least one person enough points to let them pass.
      For Pre-Exam, it works quite well.

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    39. G-T, yes, I completely agree regarding the above flaws.

      However, I doubt that it works quite well even for the pre-EQE. I saw some terrible case where the candidate knew that there could be a different closest prior art for a dependent claim, but the Examination Board basically said that pre-EQE candidates are not supposed to know this! And the candidate lost because DBA did not have powers to decide if the closest prior art changes and what would be the consequences. So, again, candidate suffered at least in part due to actually having some knowledge.

      Also, appeals do not work well due to human factor at the remarking. As far as I know, the committee for paper C decided that decisions of the DBA for several similar cases in 2017 or 2018 were wrong. I doubt that they fairly implemented these "wrong" decisions then.

      N-A

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    40. N-A: it is true that you can know too much, and that can trip you up.
      But a lot of candidates saying that are more interested in exceptional cases, and consider those just as valuable as the simpler case at the exam.
      But you should not just be looking for the highly exceptional circumstances - do the basic part first (the Guidelines + G-decisions/standard answer), and if you have time, do the more complicated stuff. They want to be sure that you know the basics.
      A skill you need to develop is to distinguish between them and be able to present them to clients - the Guidelines answer is less interesting, but has a higher chance of working. The exceptional one is legally more interesting, but has less chance of success (and will cost the client more money).
      You should not be trying to impress the marker with your knowledge.

      Delete
    41. Dear J.T.

      All right.

      Just a short comment on your phrase that "there is no great conspiracy to mislead candidates so that courses can flourish": no-one said that there is. I personally did not even think of this, and I appreciated various EQE courses. However, as I understand, such a job basically requires agreeing with the system and liking its secrets and peculiarities, even if they are so incomprehensible or at least exceptional as the interpretation that the "legal opinion" does not include the legal basis. In difference, I think that rules of any exam should be simply clear. And I do not think that it would be difficult to formulate the EQE in such a way: all my other exams did not require studying exam rules, question formulations and marking schemes in any similar detail. My preparation was always 99% on the substance.

      N-A

      Delete
    42. Strange discussion above, in particular the view points from N-A. My son was (until COVID-19 struck) preparing for his final high school exam. The teacher told him what the syllabus was, how the syllabus is to be understood, and how to understand the exam design. My son and his whole school practiced old exams. He bought several "exam bibles" containing old exams and answers, and each explaining what the written and unwritten rules of the exam paper and of doing the exam are. My son told me that it is the same with his team mates from his football team (maybe you say soccer?) who go to other schools. Your "all my other exams did not require studying exam rules, question formulations and marking schemes in any similar detail" must sound really alien to him. My son would think you live in an anarchy, or at least that you are an anarchist who is not willing to accept any codified rules nor generally accepted unwritten rules. That is a difficult attitude in our profession N-A!

      Delete
    43. An anarchist with a legal and technical degrees from different countries, and a national qualification, lol (but of course, this was just another petty ad hominem).

      Practicing old exams is fine. I wrote nothing against it.

      Hey ML, anything on the interpretation of "legal opinion" from your enlightened son? :))

      N-A

      Delete
    44. I am afraid not. He is 100% beta, 100% technical. No chance he will even move even a bit to the legal side (or, the patent law side - just in case you do not consider that legal :))

      Delete
    45. "My son told me that it is the same with his team mates from his football team (maybe you say soccer?) who go to other schools" - if he and the team once go to a football tournament, but will be judged according to rugby football rules because judges and local fans think that these are "generally accepted unwritten rules", they will understand what I meant.

      N-A

      Delete
    46. But he will not go to a tournament of which he is not willing to accept the rules... written and unwritten... and he will study them in advance!

      Delete
    47. No, they will not check anything because they will think that it is a football tournament, as written in the invitation and rules. And only when the results that they lost are announced (without details on the score) they maybe will understand that there was some problem.

      N-A

      Delete
    48. N-A: "all my other exams did not require studying exam rules, question formulations and marking schemes in any similar detail. My preparation was always 99% on the substance".
      Then you were very lucky to pass, or they were exams for which you were prepared on a course by the professors/specialists who wrote the questions.
      As ML pointed out, doing past exams is the best use of your preparation time if you want to pass any exam. That is not just the EQE, that is any exam.
      It may seem a strange discussion to some, but you are not the only candidate who prepares like this - they think that it is only a test of knowledge and that the exam should bend to them. But the knowledge has to be applied to each case, and you have to show that you have applied it correctly, and included the most likely options. I have seen people who get everything correct still fail because they did not explain how they got to their answer. If you want to pass, you have to swallow your pride and just give them what they want. After that, you are free to be creative as possible (within your clients budget).
      The only way to change the exam is to join the committees, but don't expect miracles.

      Delete
    49. G-T: professors/specialists "who wrote the questions" for contests and graduation, admission, prelim, and qualification exams were not among my teachers, while more than 80% of those questions were about applying the knowledge.

      For EQE, I looked into the past exams and reports before going.

      Still, it turned out that these reports are insufficient for preparing. For example, I do not remember any report stating that the "legal opinion" in DII does not extend to legal basis. Even if there was such a statement in some report, it does not mean that next year the situation would be the same, because this is not a rule, but a very exceptional interpretation. For example, Germans who "are frustrated that ... no points for legal basis", and equally frustrated non-Germans, if joined EQE committees, could use the opposite interpretation in another year.

      Re "I have seen people who get everything correct still fail because they did not explain how they got to their answer" - writing legal basis in Dii is aimed exactly at showing how you get to the answer, and still there are no marks for it!

      So, concerning "If you want to pass, you have to swallow your pride and just give them what they want", my conclusion is that they do not even try to show clearly what they want. Why would not they clearly write in Rule 26(3) "an advice" instead of "legal opinion", and "the client cannot appreciate the legal basis" if they so want?

      Of course, the same logic applies to other "unwritten rules" of the EQE. If you do not want to discriminate some people (e.g. the Germans) from the very diverse pool of candidates, then these rules should be added into the EQE Rules (REE, IPREE) and published. Otherwise it seems like some cult or sect, if not anarchy :))

      Delete
  4. No response from March 5 until today, and the Board thinks about postponing the new registrations (1 month).. It's something unbealivable.
    The only new serious information to be given on 2021 exam should have been to suspend all enrollment; at least until the situation of 2020 exam is resolved.

    ReplyDelete
  5. In reply to Anonymous31 March 2020 at 09:46

    Nobody is accusing the EPO of wrongdoing. However, it is important to remind the EPO of the far-reaching consequences of their decisions.

    It is unfair to make 2020 candidates take the EQE based on October 31, 2019, since they have already spent so much money, time, and energy preparing for the EQE based on October 31, 2018, but have not been able to take such a test.

    Likewise, it is unfair to their employers, who have already allowed so much time out of the office to attend preparation courses, etc., for the 2020 candidates to have to take additional time and energy to prepare for the EQE based on October 31, 2019.

    It is unfair to the test prep services if the 2021 candidates are able to take the test based on October 31, 2018, since they would not be able to offer updated prep materials based on October 31, 2019.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Even before considering opening enrollment to new candidates for the 2021 exam, the Supervisory Board should provide the 2020 candidates with more clarity. As for now, there hasn not even been a mention of reimbursing the 2020 registration fees. Does the Board just assume that the candidates who enrolled for 2020 will automatically sit a postponed session, if any ?

    ReplyDelete
  7. April 1: no annoucement to be expected today.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Provisionally, it looks like September is being considered - https://www.linkedin.com/posts/salted-patent_eqe2020-in-september-if-possible-activity-6651207871558234112-MThH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whether it is considered or not, I hope we will soon know.

      It seems like the only possible moment, if at all, to hold a rescheduled EQE 2020 (see the discussions to our earlier blog post of March 5, "BREAKING NEWS - Cancellation of EQE planned 16-19 March 2020 (possibly postponed)" at http://eqe-deltapatents.blogspot.com/2020/03/breaking-news-cancellation-of-eqe.html). But maybe there are other alternatives?

      Certainly the epi would prefer to see that happen, as you can conclude from the Update to the earlier news message that epi posted on or shortly before March 30, wherein the epi calls for the results to be available by Oct 31:
      https://patentepi.org/en/epi/news/a4e7106e-0f2c-4d35-af84-6b00f6f89f5c. I cite from that new message:

      "The epi President sent a letter to the EPO President, requesting his support to make every possible resource at the EPO available for enabling the organisation of a postponed EQE 2020. Ideally the results of the postponed EQE 2020 should be available by the end of October 2020. Despite all the difficulties connected with additional workload and other necessary resources, the epi hopes that the EPO together with the epi will strive towards making a postponed EQE possible."

      You may what to read the letter referred to: there is a clickable link in the epi news message (leading you to https://patentepi.org/assets/uploads/documents/news/200324_epi-letter-to-EPO-President_2020-EQE.pdf)

      Let's hope we will know soon!

      Delete
  9. Is this communication appealable? Just asking for a friend.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The EPO should cancel new enrolments. Its the most obvious decision.

    Why are we letting more candidates enrolling when 2020 candidates haven't been sorted. Its creating more havoc to the system.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "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."

    Does this imply that the decision to postpone or cancel will not be after 4 May 2020?

    Does this imply that we need to actively enrol for EQE 2021 (main exam) if EQE 2020 is definitely cancelled?

    "Applications must be submitted no later than 17 August 2020 via myEQE."

    If EQE 2020 is postponed and the results are only known by 31 October as the epi news message suggests, we would be too late to enrol to EQE 2021 to resit the papers from rescheduled EQE 2020 that we failed?

    ReplyDelete
  12. The EPO really needs to clarify whether:
    1) the 2020 session is canceled or merely postponed
    2) how candidates for 2020 should go about enroling for 2021

    The EPI letter does not contain the word "September", but the EPI indicates on their website "You are no doubt aware that the March EQE session was cancelled, and that it is planned to organise a postponed session in September, if possible." Where would we have learned that it was planned to do it in September? Did I miss an EPO announcement?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was no official announcement. It looks they have discussed a latest workable date for the results and that is the "end of October". Half of the EQE boards are made up of epi members, so some members will have been involved in the discussions with the EPO of possible dates, and the consequences.
      Reading between the lines, this means that September is the preferred option at the moment.

      Delete
    2. Examiner's report: "Candidates were consistently aware that the March EQE session was canceled. Surprisingly, however, many candidates were unaware that 'canceled' means 'rescheduled to September' - such candidates cannot be judged fit to practice."

      Delete
    3. To Anonymous6 April 2020 at 08:08:

      Feel the infinite power of reading to the end:

      In response to the latest developments regarding the spread of the COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus) and in line with the precautionary measures taken by the EPO, the Supervisory Board of the European qualifying examination has decided to cancel the EQE (pre-examination and main examination papers).

      !!!!!The Supervisory Board is currently assessing whether the examination can be rescheduled to a later date in 2020. This may however take some time due to the complexity of the logistics.!!!!!

      Delete
  13. To Anonymous6 April 2020 at 14:15
    "T*he* S*up*e*rvisory B*oard is curr*e*ntly assessing whether the exam*ination can be rescheduled to a later date in 2020. This may however take some time due to the complexity of the logistics."

    T e S p e B r e m

    S e p T e m B e r

    In view of the foregoing, the letters of the month are fully contained in the original announcement, and the skilled person is able to clearly and unambiguously derive the particular arrangement of these letters from the content of the original announcement. The rumor thus satisfies A. 123(2) EPC

    ReplyDelete
  14. To Anonymous7 April 2020 at 13:45

    The letters of the months "May", "August", "October" and "December" are all also present. As this candidate selected "September" without due explanation as to why this was chosen, no marks can be awarded.

    ReplyDelete
  15. No news? September or March? Compensation? Pre-Exam 2020 people moving on to main 2021 or year delay (unfair: 90% pass rate!)?

    ReplyDelete
  16. New enrolment should be cancelled for 2021 until 2020 candidates are sorted out. It is slightly unfair on 2021 but 2020 candidates have been hardest hit. I think its the most logical step.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Should EQE 2020 candidates enrol for 2021 at the start of May?

    ReplyDelete
  18. They need to STOP new candidates enrolling onto pre-EQE 2021. Its ridiculous that they are taking on more candidates when the candidates stuck in the system now have no idea what's going on with their exams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are going to have far too many candidates doing pre-EQE in one given year. Stop new enrolment on pre EQE until we decide how to tackle the current situation first.

      Delete
    2. Why are they letting new candidates enrolling on pre-EQE 2021. More will now be disappointed. Pause everything until we can work things out!

      Delete
    3. Why do you not let new candidates decide themselves? You are not their mom or dad!!

      New candidates will be aware that anything is uncertain for the next 1-2 years or longer. They can take that into account when they decide on enrolling for the first possible occasion, even if uncertain, or refrain from doing so and moving it on another year.

      There is no justification for purposely prohibiting them to proceed with their professional development and qualification process.

      I strongly oppose against your strange proposal to harm future candidates by forbidding them to do what they are entitled to (Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives and Implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination are unambiguously clear).

      Delete
    4. rather than holding up also pre-EQE 2021 enrollment, they should release the possibility for 2020 candidates to enroll to main EQE 2021! It's ridiculous that COVID-19 is used as excuse to justify post-poning enrollment opening, while enrollment is open for pre-EQE 2021! This way of holding up people "hostages" is ridiculous and makes you realize that having an online-only procedure of enrollment is an easy way to take away people's rights.

      Delete
  19. It is bizarre why the EPO is admitting new candidates enrolling for pre-EQE 2021. I think this should be on hold for now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can not be serious! There is not a single reason to be so unfair. Not a single one. Also, it does not at all adversely affect you in any way, so why behave so unkind and unfair?! They should not allow you to (re)sit as you are not supportive to your future colleagues, which is a violation of the epi rules.

      I agree with Anonymous 16 April 2020 at 14:38 above.

      Delete
    2. What about candidates this year. They currently don't know if they can enrol 2021 as their accounts have frozen.

      Delete
  20. In Bavaria, the German state where Munich is, no major events are allowed until end of August.

    The EQE in is current form with a couple of hundred participants in Munich is a major event without any question.

    I assume that we will learn only at a very late date how things will be going on afterwards. Therefore I think that the supervisory board will not schedule the EQE in its current form to september any time soon.

    -D.S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I hope they will tel us soon. I will prepare for EQE 2021. Will enroll for all (enrolled for A, B and D this year, planned C for 2021). Will be hard to prepare for and sit all four, but the preparation that I did for 2020 is not fully lost as it has put my base level up a lot. Will DeltaPatents provide any refresher courses? If I pass all 4 in 2021, there is no overall delay, so I will go for that!
      My Pre-Exam colleague will be worse off if 2020 is not rescheduled: it will be a full year delay, fully due to circumstances beyond her control. I saw that a few people suggested to let all 2020 pre-exam candidates move on to main exam 2021: that would be a very fair measure for her! It would also help the system, as it keep the normal inflow of new EQE candidates at the same level and the move-on rate almost (90% pass rate in 2019, 100% move-on rate now, sounds fair too). Also for the main exam there will not be double number of people in 2022 (it has 2021 pre-exam candidates and something like 30-60% resitters depending on the paper), nor in 2021 (if you think there is double candidates for the main 2021 because main 2020 is cancelled, you overlook the resitters which is 30%-60%, so it is far less than double).

      Will we get the decision in the week before May 4? That is what the shift of the enrollment seems to suggest?

      K.

      Delete
    2. Your logic does not add up. There will be much more main EQE candidates if pre-EQE candidates are allowed a free pass.

      There is also a question of fairness for the main EQE candidates. You cannot let pre-EQE candidates pass and give nothing for main EQE candidates. Doing so would mean that only pre-EQE candidates have been affected and main EQE candidates are not - there will be grievances.

      If they do let pre-EQE candidates pass, what is the point in this exam. Why not let new enrolled candidates for pre-EQE 2021 go straight to do the main EQEs papers. Its unfair on them doing pre-EQE 2021.

      Not a good idea to allow free passes. Compensatory marks would be much better to account for the difficult circumstances this year for all candidates of 2020.

      Delete
    3. 2018 pre-EQE exam had a pass rate of around 70% so do not assume pre-EQE candidates pass rate will be 90-95%

      Delete
    4. No major events in Munich until the end of August, but what about September, October? I doubt Munich wants to cancel Oktoberfest (a major even for the city). Also, the EQE can change the location of the test or divide people into smaller rooms with at least 6 feet (or 2 m) between people. If schools are open, why would test taking not be open? I see your concern, but I don't think it is that clear cut. The EPO can set the test date and then cancel (again) if the virus resurges.

      Delete
    5. Munich will most likely cancel the Oktoberfest. The prime Minister Adresse stated publicly that he cannot image the Oktoberfest hapening this year.

      -D.S.

      Delete
    6. Bild:

      SÖDER UND MÜNCHENS OB REITER VERKÜNDEN ES AM DIENSTAG
      Endgültiges Aus für die Wiesn 2020

      20.04.2020 - 17:44 Uhr
      München – Sie stand aufgrund der Corona-Pandemie schon lange auf der Kippe. Doch nach BILD-Informationen ist es jetzt beschlossen: Die Wiesn 2020 wird nicht stattfinden.

      „Ministerpräsident Dr. Markus Söder und Münchens Oberbürgermeister Dieter Reiter informieren zum aktuellen Sachstand des diesjährigen Oktoberfestes.“ Mit diesem lapidaren Hinweis lädt die Staatskanzlei zu einer Pressekonferenz ein, die am Dienstag um 9 Uhr stattfinden soll.

      Doch BILD erfuhr aus internen Kreisen, dass Söder (53, CSU) und Reiter (61, SPD) bei diesem Termin das endgültige Aus des Oktoberfestes in diesem Herbst verkünden werden.

      Söder hatte es bereits vergangene Woche in einem Interview angedeutet, als er sagte: „Für mich steht das Oktoberfest auf der Kippe.“ Eine derartige Großveranstaltung mit Millionen Besuchern könne er sich derzeit aufgrund der Pandemie nicht vorstellen.


      Die Wiesn sollte dieses Jahr vom 19. September bis zum 4. Oktober stattfinden. Zuletzt hatten mehrere Wirte eine „Wiesn light“ angeregt – ein Oktoberfest nur für Einheimische. Jedoch hatte die Stadt der Idee bereits eine Absage erteilt.

      https://www.bild.de/regional/muenchen/muenchen-regional-politik-und-wirtschaft/morgen-verkuenden-es-soeder-und-reiter-endgueltiges-aus-fuer-die-wiesn-2020-70161006.bild.html

      O.F.

      Delete
    7. https://www.oktoberfest.de/magazin/oktoberfest-news/2020/absage-corona-oktoberfest-2020-muss-ausfallen

      https://www.oktoberfest.de/en/magazine/oktoberfest-news/2020/cancelled-corona-oktoberfest-2020-cannot-take-place

      Das Oktoberfest 2020 fällt aus
      Wegen des Coronavirus kann die Wiesn 2020 nicht stattfinden

      Di, 21.04.2020 • 08:46 Uhr

      Das größte Volksfest der Welt kann im Jahr 2020 wegen der Ausbreitung von Covid-19 leider nicht stattfinden. Bayerns Ministerpräsident Markus Söder und Münchens Oberbürgermeister Dieter Reiter verkündeten das am 21. April 2020 in einer gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz.

      „Das Risiko ist zu hoch“: Ministerpräsident Markus Söder
      Gemeinsam haben Bayerns Ministerpräsident Markus Söder und der Müncher Oberbürgermeister Dieter Reiter beschlossen: Das Risiko für die Menschen ist zu hoch, um die Wiesn 2020 stattfinden zu lassen. „Es geht um das größte und schönste Fest der Welt“, so Söder bei der gemeinsamen Pressekonferenz in der Bayerischen Staatskanzlei, aber: „Wir leben in anderen Zeiten. Und mit Corona zu leben heißt, vorsichtig zu leben. Bei Festen gilt größte Sensibilität.“

      Das Oktoberfest lebe von der Stimmung in den vollen Zelten, von vielen Menschen, die zusammen feiern – aber man müsse auf die bayerische Bevölkerung und natürlich auf die Besucher aus der ganzen Welt aufpassen. 2021 würde man dann aller Voraussicht nach wieder besonders schön und intensiv zusammen feiern: Auf der Wiesn ab 18. September 2021.

      Oberbürgermeister Reiter: „Ein etwas trauriger Tag“
      „Es ist ein etwas trauriger Tag für mich heute“, sagte Oberbürgermeister Dieter Reiter, „mehrere Herzen schlagen in meiner Brust.“. Dass die Wiesn 2020 nicht stattfinden könne, das sei schon „eine bittere Pille“, nicht nur wegen der vielen Münchner und Bayern, die ihr Oktoberfest so lieben, sondern natürlich auch wegen der wirtschaftlichen Bedeutung für die Stadt München. Man habe sich die Entscheidung nicht leicht gemacht, der Bevölkerung aber nicht länger Hoffnung machen wollen. „Wir hoffen, dass wir es nächstes Jahr zusammen nachholen können!"

      Delete
  21. It looks like countries around Europe will have social distancing measures and stop gatherings of more than 25-50 people until a vaccine is found (likely to be end of next year at earliest)

    ReplyDelete
  22. The biggest problem for the EQE is the lack of consistency between European countries - at the moment everybody is deciding themselves. So it is a moving target, making it impossible to plan.
    Once there is some agreement, it may be possible to organise events, taking into account the chance that restrictions may be tightened. There is already a distinction between open public events, public events with controlled access, private events with controlled access & registration (like at work or in a school for contact tracing) etc.
    Entertainment (like Oktoberfest) would have the lowest priority, but it if they limited access numbers, registered ID's, spread out the tents and seats, measuring temperatures going in, better hygiene, removing anyone who seems sick for non-alcohol reasons, ensuring protection (masks) for the servers and workers, etc then the risks may be reduced enough.
    EQE 2021 will also have to be similarly organised to increase the chance it goes ahead. Maybe also masks for candidates, and possibly moving it to May.
    Non-asian governments and organisations all complained that they were unaware and unprepared. That may be true for this year, but it cannot be an excuse again. Look at Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea for examples.
    But it also a wake-up call to seriously modernise the EQE. It would be crazy to just wait and hope everything will work out at some point and go back to before. Like the video conferencing for examination at the EPO - it is crazy that everyone resists. I know there are technical challenges, but almost every applicant and patent attorney has a device in their pocket the whole day that can be used from anywhere in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just received an email from the Examination Secretariat which ended with "we look forward to seeing you at the next EQE in 2021".

    ReplyDelete
  24. See http://eqe-deltapatents.blogspot.com/2020/04/the-decision-is-out-no-eqe-in-2020.html

    ReplyDelete