Wednesday, 22 April 2020

The Decision is out: No EQE in 2020


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

The email reads (emphasis added):

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

Dear candidate,

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

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

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

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

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


Best regards / Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincères salutations

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

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


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

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

Decision of the Supervisory Board

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


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

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


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

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

Article 5
This decision enters into force immediately.

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


The Communication is also cited in full:

20.04.2020
Communication from the Supervisory Board of the EQE:

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


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

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

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


The Supervisory Board has unanimously adopted the following decisions:

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

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

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


The Supervisory Board of the EQE

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

Update 5 May 2020:

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

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



EQE 2020 / 2021


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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



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

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






360 comments:

  1. At least there is clarity now. Nevertheless, the disappointment about the lost time cannot be denied.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Article 4 of the Decision provides some relief for candidates that prepared for D 2020: they can continue to use the same legal syllabus (31 October 2019) when preparing for EQE 2021, but they can also switch to the new legal syllabus (31 October 2020). (Also new D candidates can use the old syllabus).

    Note that Article 4 only applies to Pre-Exam papers, so new Pre-Exam 2021 candidates need to use the new legal syllabus (31 October 2020) for Pre-Exam 2021.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Some things are still a bit unclear though.

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

    mean that candidates who intended to sit the pre-EQE this year will be able to sit the main exams next year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my interpretation, Art. 2 of the decision means that it candidates that enrolled for the pre-exam of 2020 can sit the main exam of 2021, provided they satisfy the conditions as to the training period (in particular, the 3 yrs full-time for patent attorney trainees - Art.11(2)(a) REE or the 4 yrs for EPO examiners).

      This may be understood from REE Art.11(7), last sentence.

      I checked this informally with the EPO, and this interpretation was confirmed.

      So, if you planned to sit pre-exam 2020 and planned to sit one or more main exam papers in 2021, and you satisfied all requirements for both, you can move on as planned.

      Delete
  4. It appears that Pre-EQE candidates get a free pass:

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

    Article 11 (7) RE: 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes it looks because Article 11 (7) has an 'IF', and if they are not held, they don't need a pass certificate.

      Delete
  5. Now that we have clarity, what services is Delta Patent going to offer in 2020/2021? I hope there will be some online options given the difficulty in traveling?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My firm can't afford/no longer would support extra training for next year. I don't want to be too cheeky but is there any possibility that delta patents can make their refreshers free or at very low prices as I will be paying this myself.

      Delete
    2. Some refresher courses are available for free
      https://lnkd.in/dxASpXQ

      Delete
  6. A lost year for many. I do think some compensatory marks (small number) for the papers next year would be a good gesture to account for the lost of earnings this year many will face.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you, 2020 EQE candidates should receive some extra marks (5 maybe?) to compensate. I have already burned all past papers, this is clearly a disadvantage for preparing 2021 EQE

      Delete
  7. In my interpretation, Art. 2 of the decision means that it candidates that enrolled for the pre-exam of 2020 can sit the main exam of 2021, provided they satisfy the conditions as to the training period (in particular, the 3 yrs full-time for patent attorney trainees - Art.11(2)(a) REE or the 4 yrs for EPO examiners).

    This may be understood from REE Art.11(7), last sentence.

    I checked this informally with the EPO, and this interpretation was confirmed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolute joke that they let pre-EQE pass but give nothing to EQE candidates suffering this year. A joke of this is the case.

      Delete
    2. Why have pre-EQEs if they are giving everyone a free pass. Its so unfair on main EQE candidates.

      Delete
    3. I understand that its a free pass.

      I think its terrible that they allow pre-EQE candidates ato pass but give nothing to main EQE candidates. It really is unjust in my view.

      Delete
    4. In other words, if you planned to sit pre-exam 2020 and planned to sit one or more main exam papers in 2021, and you satisfied all requirements for both, you can move on as planned.

      Delete
    5. Hi Anonymous 22 April 2020 at 10:44, why terrible? Why unjust? Why are you so unfair me as a pre-exam 2020 candidates, it is not my fault that i could not sit and I was well-prepared. Why are you so negative and unfair to me? Jealousy? It is absolutely fair in view of the circumstances and I am very happy that the Supervisory Board was composed of fair people and not of people like you!

      Delete
    6. Dear Roel, does that mean that people, who would have taken the pre-exam this year, should still take it next year (additional to the main exam). Such that if you fail, you can take the main exam in 2022 as well (at which point, again, a pre-exam will have been held)?

      Delete
    7. Anony @ 10.47 - You just got given a free pass. How is that not fair to you.

      What is unfair is that main EQE candidates who arguably suffered more this year than pre-EQEs (preparing for 4 main EQEs is not easy) get NO recognition or compensation for missing out a year!

      Delete
    8. This is exactly what I predicted - there is resentment in the candidates and rightly so because candidates are not treated fairly. They need to provide some compensatory marks for main EQEs candidates as well as giving a free pass to pre-EQEs.

      I qualified years ago btw so just looking at it from a different perspective.

      Delete
    9. Anony @ 10:51 - I think that you are correct, main exam candidates 2021 who have not passed the pre-exam ought to also take the pre-exam 2021.

      This would remove any doubt about the candidate's suitability to sit the main exam, and would be a safety net for possible main exam retakes in 2022.

      Delete
    10. Just because one group (pre-exam) were given some sort of compensation does not mean that another group is being treated "unfairly". I am a main EQE candidate and I think other main EQE candidates crying unfair on the pre-exam candidates need to get a grip. Holding back a whole year just for the sake of ensuring that two years suffer, and not just one year suffers, is not necessary. Don't take out our frustrations on them.

      It's a silly gate-keeping exercise that has had no effect on the pass rates of the main exam anyway.

      Some sort of compensatory considerations would be nice for main candidates though.

      Delete
    11. I think that's the point. Most main EQEs candidates would be happy to see their peers not to be delayed but it is pitiful that the supervisory board has basically ignored or not take into account the effects of main EQE candidates. Are we ask is for fair compensation FOR ALL CANDIDATES affected this year.

      Allow pre-EQE candidates to pass this year - ok.
      Please consider a small discretionary marks for main EQE candidates - this would be fair for them.

      Delete
    12. the point of the pre-exam is to filter out people who are not ready yet for the main exams so that the examiners dont have to mark so many papers of people who were not ready.

      the main exams on the other hand are the gateway to being recognised as a fully qualified attorney, therefore allowing people to pass the main exams without having been thoroughly tested, or affording people marks simply because they were inconvenienced this year would risk sub-standard candidates becoming fully qualified. Qualification is supposed to set a bar so that the public / clients can be confident that an attorney is adequately trained and equipped to represent them. If the barrier is lowered one year then this undermines the whole point of a universal test that all qualified attorneys must pass.

      Candidates given a free pass through the pre-exam still have to pass the main exams, so this free pass has no bearing on the quality of attorneys becoming qualified at the end. From the statistics most people pass the pre exam anyway, so the only advantage gained is by around 20% of candidates who may have failed the pre exam but may now sit the main exams anyway. In all likelihood, those that would have failed the pre-exam but have managed to get through this year will likely fail one or more of the main exams anyway (based on past statistics) so there is no effect on their eventual qualification date anyway.

      Delete
    13. this discussion sounds much like the discussion on cancelling the football leagues that is currently happening! Main EQE can never be passed for free, you need to show your skills if you want to be a real attorney. The prestigious title of European Patent Attorney cannot be handed out out to anyone just like that.

      Delete
  8. Certainty is more than welcome for sure and this communication is made in time!

    Should we understand that pre-exam candidates (my case) are entitled to enroll for any paper of the main exam in 2021 paying the corresponding fees (no refund of fee paid for P paper)?

    I personally was willing to go through the pre-exam - now I have to pay a lot more fees without knowing how prepared I am for the main exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Passing the Pre-EQE is not the only way of knowing how prepare you are for the main exams. Your preparation (solving past exams) already explains a lot.
      I will prefer paying fee rather than wasting a whole year.

      Delete
    2. Same applies for mainexam candidates ;) but admittedly, they lost a year...

      Delete
    3. The fees paid for the pre-exam should be refunded in my opinion since the exam was not held.

      Otherwise, we effectively paid fees merely for a free pass to the main exam.

      Delete
    4. If you think not getting a refund of your Pre-Exam fees is unfair, then sit that exam in 2020.

      Delete
    5. ..in 2021. D'oh!

      Delete
  9. Is there a way to file an Appeal of this decision.

    Its not fair that some candidates i.e. pre-EQE are treated much more favourably this year and main EQE candidates who are suffering have nothing.

    I'm not saying they shouldn't pass pre-EQE but to completely ignore the suffering of many main EQE candidates and treat them unfairly in this situation is NOT right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we can file an appeal - I would like to join. As a main EQE candidate, I feel unfairly treated compared to my pre-EQE peers. I'm not asking for a free pass but I would expect all candidates to be treated more fairly.

      Delete
    2. Passing pre-EQE doesn't give the candidate any right to practice, only to sit the main exam. Whereas passing main EQE allows a candidate to go out and act as a European Patent Agent, without any consequence if they are ill prepared.

      Think of it in terms of risk to the EPO: if an undeserving candidate gets a free pass of the pre-EQE, the only consequence is that the EPO may have to deal with that candidate failing the main EQE more times than expected, because they shouldn't be sitting it yet.

      On the contrary, if an undeserving candidate gets a pass of the main EQE, there could be countless cases of malpractice, because they shouldn't be practising anyway, but are able to do so because of the "free pass".

      Consider, in the reasoning, and in whether your appeal would be successful, the purpose of the pre-exam: to prevent unprepared candidates from sitting the main exam. The pre-exam benefits the EPO because it slightly limits the number of candidates for the main exam, filtering out those who are so obviously unprepared. If this purpose is unachievable for one year, like in this case, the only party who really suffers is the EPO, as they have more substandard main EQE papers to mark.

      Yes, it isn't particularly 'fair' on the main EQE candidates, but they just can't justify giving the main EQE candidates a pass, or any form of compensation that could let an unfit candidate achieve the right to practice. They aren't ignoring the suffering, they are merely doing the best they can in the already difficult situation.

      Delete
    3. I understand what you are saying but this does seem very unfair for main EQEs. I think up to 5 marks per paper is fair compensation. To be fit to practice - you still need to accumulate at least 40 marks per paper. Incompetent candidates would not get anywhere near that.

      Delete
    4. As a main EQE candidate you should know if you can appeal this decision. If you don't know that then you should be thankful for the additional time for preparation...

      Delete
    5. I entirely disagree, and dislike the bitterness some people here are expressing.

      There should be no compensation for the main exam. The EQE shouldn't be easier, that would result in worse candidates passing.

      The pre-exam is a joke to anyone who's well-prepared anyway, so all talk of a huge burden being lifted for those who now get to enrol directly for the main-exam is nonsense. Consider that many preparation courses have not and will not taket place, that Pre-Exam 2020 candidates have had their study and preparationg schedules for the Main Exam disrupted, and so on, and you'll see they're hardly in an enviable position. Meanwhile, the Main-Exam 2020 candidates were all hopefully very well prepared prior to the coronavirus situation unfolding, and now just need to brush up a little bit and go over their notes.

      Delete
  10. I would really love to know if they are doing anything to avoid the same situation for next year. This pandemic will not be over by next March, and nobody knows what kind of travel and contact restrictions will apply then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See the last paragraph of the Communication: In 2021, the Exams will be organised according to the current format.

      Delete
    2. We be in a situation where they will nilly willy pass pre-EQE candidates automatically but do nothing for main EQEs candidates so everybody will be stuck at EQEs for 2-3 years.

      Delete
    3. They also can't cancel the currently scheduled EQE 2021 without violating Article 1(2) REE "The period between two examinations shall not exceed twenty-five months."

      Delete
    4. What is the consequence for violating Article 1(2) REE? None? Besides all Articles can be changed.

      Delete
  11. Why have pre-EQE - what is the point if they are allowing free passes to everyone.

    Main EQE candidates have to jump through pre-EQE last year and now can't move on a bit this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you suggesting that because main candidates are hit by the Virus, pre-exam candidates should be hit equally hard?

      The solution for pre-exam 2020 candidates is undeniable fair and reduces the damage to them as much as reasonably possible.

      The main exam is not just an intermediate exam. It lets you get qualified if you pass. Not strange at all that that can not be compromised too much, or not at all. EPO and epi want well-qualified EPAs. Decision shows that they considered how to reduce the damage for main exam candidates: you can continue to use the 31.10.2019 law. It may be disappointing that that is all they come up with, but it can be understood that they could not do more in view of the purpose of the exam.

      Delete
    2. Not sufficient consideration for main EQE in my view. They are a year behind and there is hardly fair compensation for their lost year. It needs to be more substantiated then allowing them to use text books.

      Delete
  12. As a pre-EQE candidate this year., I'm happy with a pass but I really do think they should compensate main EQE candidates this year as they have also been badly affected. I think that's fair for everyone.

    ReplyDelete
  13. And who guarantees now that Covid-20 would not hit in 2021 cancelling EQE 2021? And that yet another learning year will not pass in vain again?

    The should seriously think of an electronic alternative to EQE now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And how should that electronic alternative be monitored to ensure that candidates don't receive outside help?

      As an astute future patent lawyer I'm sure you can agree that it simply isn't possible to have a remote electronic EQE, unless everyone is monitored in person, at which point the whole exercise ventures into the absurd.

      Delete
  14. According to my understanding of Art. 2. of the Descision, it is not only Pre-EQE candidates but ALL possible candidates that have three years of expertise, irrespective enrolled for Pre-Exam or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. exactly - why bother with pre-EQE.

      Main EQE candidates will be fuming. They have to jump through the (now we now pointless) pre-EQE last year and been completely ignored in relation to fair compensation for them.

      Delete
  15. No main EQE candidates as far as I know are seeking a free pass but it is really poor that they haven't taken sufficient account of main EQE candidates this year.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would like to know what is the basis of EPO for this discrimination between the pre-eqe and main eqe candidates? How is this justifiable? You cannot simply refer back to an article and think that that's it! Appeal!

    ReplyDelete
  17. If they are allowing pre-EQE exams free passes, can main EQE candidates now claim back their pre-EQE exam fees. Clearly pre-EQE no longer has purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Can the supervisory board please consider something a bit more substantial for main EQE candidates. Pre-EQE candidates now have the benefit of learning new fresh materials for 2021 BUT most things, courses main EQE candidates have learnt will be 2 years old + they've done most/all past papers. Many EQE candidates are NOW on their own and most will not be fully supported by their firms - putting them at a disadvantage.

    Pre-EQE candidates will have a massive advantage for EQE 2021 as firms will pay for books, training courses etc all fresh this year.

    ReplyDelete
  19. It seems that, and please correct me if I'm wrong, the combined effect of Art.2 & Art.4 is terribly unfair a heavily favours this years pre-exam candidates:
    i) no need to sit 2021 pre-exam, a directly free pass for 2021 main exam
    ii) no need to update legal basis, my use old ones for 2021 main exam (as the provision is not connected with only 2020 candidates)

    This is certainly not a fair and equitable approach to all the EQE candidates!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree - main EQE candidates have suffered badly but many will suffer even more going forward and it is clear that the supervisory board have not taken this into account.

      Many will be studying on their own. Most firms will only do 1 year support and that year is completely lost for main EQEs.

      Delete
    2. The decision massively favours pre-EQE candidates which would be fine if they similarly find fair compensation for main EQEs. Its soooo unfair for main EQE candidates.

      Delete
    3. A patent attorney is supposed to keep his/her legal texts updated all over his/her professional life. I do not really get the point of Article 4, stating that two cut-off dates will apply for the main exam 2021. There is still a lot of time to update material.

      Delete
    4. Totally agree with you. Pre 2020 candidates are put in the most favorable position ever! Moving from Pre to Main always implied new legal basis. Pre EQE 2020 candidates get a free pass and have no need to update their legal basis.
      Main EQE 2020 candidates should receive some compensatory marks, at least.

      Delete
    5. completely agree with you. Main EQE deserves fair compensation. Join the appeal - see further below for details.

      Delete
    6. There is a fair point here. Many EQE 2020 candidates will now have to study alone and yes they do need to keep books up to date but all of us will know that you are the most effective when things are most fresh in your heads. Courses, tutorials, books, training, doing exam papers are useful revision materials and most effective for the first time.

      The supervisory board needs to take this into account and there is no indication they thought about this for main EQEs.

      Delete
    7. I do not know in what century Anonymous 22 April 2020 at 11:34 is living in. But, there is this thing called the internet which saves you the need of manually updating a physical textbook.

      Delete
  20. pre-EQE should still do the pre-EQE exam but also be allowed to take the main EQE exams in 2021 at the same time. Otherwise, there is no real justification and an injustice to main EQE candidates.

    Anyone with 3 years experience can now take the main EQE exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To Anonymous22 April 2020 at 11:27
      What would happen if someone passed some, or all, of their chosen Main Exam papers, but failed the Pre Exam?

      It's far from inconceivable that a candidate could score 50 or thereabouts on some/all Main Papers, but less than 70 on their pre-exam

      Delete
  21. How can we compare pre-exam and main exams?

    Those who sit the main exams that haven't taken the pre-exam will obviously find the main exams more difficult. The pre-exam is still a hurdle but in the form of a lack of knowledge to be applied if that knowledge is lacking. Therefore, pre-exam 2020 candidates will be wary and will need to prepare as much, or at least they should any way.

    The issue of fairness is really sad because it's a) out of bitterness and b) a failure to appreciate the importance of the main exams.

    A pre-exam waiver doesn't cause any damage to the industry, it just adds uncertainty to those who haven't taken it with regards to their readiness for the main exams. That's why the pre-exam was an "if a pre-exam is held" in the first place.

    Also, the decision says those who satisfy Art 11 REE "may" take the main exams- they're not being forced to so those who feel they'll waste a year taking main exams because they're simply not ready can still take the pre-exam first or as well.

    Lastly those arguing for fairness for main exam candidates:

    1. How do you achieve this fairness by bringing down the pre-exam candidates? It doesn't affect you and somehow you feel satisfied if they are made to wait a year too. Somehow the delay you're experiencing is alleviated by wishing the same for others? That's like saying, I am in a category that is inconvenienced so I wish for others in other categories to be inconvenienced in the same way...yet, this ignores the differences between the pre-exam and main exams, and frankly, it doesn't help you to be harsh on others. The sayings 'treat others like you wish to be treated' or 'an eye for an eye come to mind.

    Having discussed the implications foe the pre-exam candidates, do you really think a waiver for a main exam, which would be the equivalent, be fair to the industry. It's not a matter or time rush or money - rather candidates are saying "do you know what we've been through having had to prepare for four exams". Sorry to say, but no-one told you to take all four at the same time and secondly, I'm not sure I'd want your services if the exams which include practical application such as drafting is something you've forgotten after a year.

    Let's just look at the bigger picture please - and what is best for the industry while taking care of some students at least.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one is looking down on pre-EQE candidates. In fact, the supervisory board is downplaying pre-EQE exams by allowing everyone a free pass.

      No one as I know is asking for a free pass for main EQE but fairness for both set of candidates. The supervisory board's decision effectively means that main EQE candidates were not affected this year.

      Some small compensatory marks to account for a lost year is really NOT unreasonable considering they have previously gave everybody 10 marks for a cold venue.

      Delete
    2. It's not a free pass! That's the point. The pre exam is a tutorial compared to the main exams.

      You can't trade apples for oranges. This 10 mark compensation does not equate to maintaining professional standards and services to the industry.

      The EQE is not downplaying anything, they are simply giving the option to pre exam candidates because in their view the pre-exam is not critical. As mentioned, candidates may still take the pre-exam if they wish too.

      Delete
    3. WHY HAVE A PRE-EQE exam if its not critical????

      Delete
    4. To me, they are seriously doing injustice for previous years who had to take the pre-EQE to be given the right to do the main EQE exam. Forget about main EQEs candidates for a minute (which I do believe are unfairly treated) but the principle that pre-EQE exams are not required just diminishes the pre-EQE exam.

      Delete
    5. Relatively then.

      1. To help candidates prepare for the main exams.
      2. It IS critical for 1 as if candidates are NOT prepared will not pass main exams.
      3. It does not determine whether a candidate qualifies to serve as a European patent attorney - the main exams do that.

      Thanks.

      Delete
  22. maineqe2020@gmail.com Let's do less talking and focus on appealing this unfair decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah good idea to appeal a FINAL decision.

      Delete
    2. I'm joining in the appeal. The decision is unfairly weighted in favour of pre-EQE candidates.

      It would be fair if they provide something for main EQE candidates (NOT FAIR PASSES but something more substantial) or simply say that all pre-EQE and main EQE candidates do the exam again in 2021. But to give a free pass for one set of candidates and nothing at all for another set of candidates cannot be right.

      Delete
    3. correction above - Not free passes (no one is saying this for main EQEs)

      Delete
    4. You may want to read the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives (in particular Article 24(1)) before thinking about filing an appeal (against a decision of the supervisory board).


      Article 24
      Appeals

      (1) An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Examination Board and the Secretariat which adversely affect the appellant, but only on the grounds that this Regulation or any provision relating to its application has been infringed.
      [...]

      Delete
    5. I would like to join the appeal - I think main EQE candidates are treated unfairly. What details do you need?

      Delete
    6. Unfairly treating one group of candidates is a reasonable grounds of Appeal. We need to find a way to demonstrate this.

      Delete
  23. The pre EQE has a pass rate of about 70%.To keep the main exam candidates happy the EPO should randomly select 70% of pre EQE to do the main exam and make 30% do the pre EQE next year

    ReplyDelete
  24. I agree that the possibility to use GL19 or GL20 is not an adequate compensation for mainEQE2020 candidates. There should be, in addition, at least one of:
    - full refund of the exam fee and free access to 2021 exam
    - possibility to qualify with a lower marking threshold or even skipping one or more papers to quality.

    I fully support a free pass for 2020 main EQE candidates for the papers they were enrolled to, which would be very fair and mimic the condition provided to pre-eqe candidates.

    Best regards,
    a pre-EQE2020 candidate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you - we welcome pre-EQE candidates joining us. We want you to progress but only ask that the supervisory board consider fair compensation for main EQE candidates too.

      Delete
    2. To pre-EQE candidates - Join in the appeal for fairer compensation for main EQE 2020 candidates.

      Delete
    3. People stuck so far in the pre-exam being passed rage that they can't spot the joke here.

      Delete
    4. Anyone who was enrolled for the main Examinations should be automatically appointed to the Partnership at their respective firms. It's only fair, of course...

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

    Could it still be that practical manners and maybe some compensational information could be informed in this upcoming email? Or do we just have to swallow the decision as such?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt it - they would have announced it in their decision. They really need to reconsider fair compensation for main EQE candidates.

      Delete
  26. I guess it's nice to see people with lots of free time in these quarantine times using it on something productive, like appealing a decision that helps their peers out because they consider it unfair...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sums the whole comments section up very succinctly.

      Delete
  27. pre-EQE 2020 now has a huge advantage for main EQE 2021. Firms will fully support their progression but unfortunately, many main EQE 2020 candidates will be left on their own to take the papers next year. Many will not be given training days again or simply time off to revise. They will also have to pay for new books, new courses on their own. The supervisory MUST consider reasonable compensation such as a few discretionary marks.

    It's completely unfair on main EQE candidates this year not to be given anything. it is much harder for this group now. Why does no one at EPI or EPO see this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "They will also have to pay for new books"
      No => the answers can be given according to the "old" law

      Delete
    2. yes but the main point is that many EQE 2020 candidates will have to do the whole studying on their own without the financial support from their firms.

      Delete
    3. sure => but it would have been the same with a postponed EQE later this year, or not?

      Delete
    4. I think the point is that the decision is fair to pre-EQE candidates but is completely NOT fair to main EQE candidates - nothing in their decision accounted for a lost year for the main EQE candidates.

      Delete
    5. If your firm wont pay for new books, then you need a new firm.

      Delete
    6. Many firms don't pay any preparation courses, not even a first time or once or any similar.... so, the people that got paid once need to be thankful.

      Also the free pass for pre-eqe 2020 candidates isn't related to the loss of the main eqe 2020 candidates. It is amazing how many of the candidates that were to take the eqe exam this year aren't able to see the difference.

      Delete
  28. Please award some compensatory marks (only a few) for main EQE candidates this year. I beg you EPO.

    ReplyDelete
  29. What happens if there are new waves of infection in 2021? Will they have us studying for the main exams all over just to cancel 2 weeks before again? Or is it that we have to “always” be prepared? (who really believes EQE equals real life?). Why didn’t they address this other than with some vague sentence about ”certainty”?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. new wave? => good question
      If the current situation cannot be solved by then, our society will have problems where examens may be of minor concern.

      Delete
  30. Whether this is a "free pass" for 2020 pre-eqe candidates or not, those candidates will want to sit the 2021 pre-eqe AND 2021 main exam at the same time anyway.

    Otherwise, should a candidate fail a main exam paper in 2021, they would then not be able to resit in 2022, because a pre-eqe would have been held in 2021 and they would not have passed it so as to be eligible for enrolment under Article 11(7) REE!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Has this point been confirmed? I actually have the doubt and am trying to define a plan for 2021 (as pre-exam candidate in 2020). Are we supposed to enrol for pre-exam 2021 in case things go wrong in main exams?


      Delete
  31. The decision favours pre-EQE candidates but it really is a slap in the face for main EQE candidates.

    You should appeal. Its appalling and I'm frankly surprised that they didn't consider some discretionary marks for main EQEs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How does the decision to pass pre-EQE candidates adversely affect anyone taking the main-EQE? Your logic is flawed.

      Delete
    2. Because most firms won't have the resources to give the same level of financial and practical support to twice as many candidates which means 2020 candidates likely won't get to retake preparatory courses, or have their papers marked again by supervisors etc. And that matters because passing the exams isn't simply about knowing how to do your job, it's about fine tuning the exam technique.

      And yes, you do forget that because knowing how to pick up marks on paper D has absolutely zero real world application.

      Delete
  32. The decision is extremely unsatisfactory for main EQEs candidates. Many qualified European attorneys (including myself) would understand and would like to see fair compensation for main EQE candidates this year especially given the difficult circumstances. I would like to see things as if we are in their shoes now. Some discretionary marks seems like the fairest way here.

    ReplyDelete
  33. reading the comments and request for discretionary marks

    Do I understand it correctly that the main stream here is:
    a former 2020EQE candidate writing 2021EQE would receive marks
    a fresh 2021EQE candidate `writing 2021EQE would not?

    I would foresee a flood of appeals (by fresh 2021EQE candidates just missing the cut by these marks)

    so only marks for all would solve this situation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. better option - let pre-EQE candidates 2020 sit pre-EQE 2021 and
      let main EQE candidates 2020 sit main EQE exams in 2020.

      Delete
    2. Why would pre-EQE candidates have the right to appeal. They already got given free passes as compensation for missing out a year.

      Nothing is given for main EQE candidates this year. A few discretionary marks is very reasonable for missing out a whole year.

      Delete
    3. That's exactly right - fresh main EQE sitters in 2021 will be the ones who got a waiver on the 2020 pre-EQE, and as such have already received compensation.

      Delete
    4. Dreadful logic above. Crying "unfair" and then objecting to a candidates right to an appeal. You need your head checked.

      Delete
    5. Anonymous22 April 2020 at 15:32

      I couldn't agree more!

      Delete
  34. So be it. Fresh candidates would not be adversely affected more than candidates prior to 2019. We have been already, in a big way.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I think it’s not fair that we (main EQE candidates) are deprived of one attempt at the main EQE. Wouldn’t it be possible to hold the EQE2020 exams in 2021, eg 1 week before/after the regular EQE2021? That way, we would at least have an attempt at EQE2020. Right now it’s like we failed all 4 papers...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. completely agree = the feeling is like failing all papers but its not our fault. Worse - the feeling of unfairness. pre-EQE candidates are allowed to progress but nothing is given for main EQE candidates (through no fault of their own).

      Delete
    2. I am so angry at the complete unfairness/disrespect for main EQE candidates. NOTHING for a loss year for main EQE candidates. At the same time, pre-EQE candidates are allowed free passes.

      A kick the stomach. Its hard to take in the injustice of this decision.

      Delete
    3. I totally agree with Anonymous22 April 2020 at 13:13. Main EQE2020 candidates should not be deprived of their chance to write the EQE 2020, so they should at least have the option to take each of paper A,B,C and D two times in 2021!

      Delete
    4. Anonymous22 April 2020 at 13:19

      Focusing on the pre-eqe 2020 won't give the main candidate 2020 any good. what
      Anonymous22 April 2020 at 13:13 said it may be a more reasonable option. IF people are thinking of an appeal, hopefully they will check better their options, otherwise people will just get a great EPO answer... like you haven't read before OA delivering decisions you couldn't change due to lack of the right argument.

      Delete
  36. I strongly urge the EPO/EPI, supervisory board to consider reasonable compensation for main EQE candidates immediately.

    This decision has fuelled anger among main EQE candidates and resentment that pre=EQE candidates are seemingly treated much more favourable than main EQE candidates.

    Resentment in the profession will probably linger for years and it will never truly go away unless the EPO/EPI act.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a main EQE candidates who was denied a chance to take EQE 2020, furloughed at the moment and now saw this decision which does not adequately address main EQE candidates this year - I am fuming.

      Please please consider some more adequate compensation for main EQE candidates missing out this year. A lot was riding on this and being told to do it again next year with no form of decent compensation is hard to take.

      I would be happy if they gave us 2-3 marks per paper to help compensate for this year.

      Delete
  37. Hi Roel,

    thank you for confirming suspicions regarding the "free" pre-EQE pass. This is much appreciated. I will refrain from commenting on the fairness aspect thereof. However I would like to note that millions of people are losing their jobs and thousands are dying because of the unfairness of Corona. To me at least it seems that us EQE candidates are still lucky enough to be able to vent frustrations on DeltaPatents' blog.

    Nonetheless, could you also elaborate your opinion on the following issue:
    - a pre-exam candidate follows article 2 of the decision of the supervisory board and enrolls for the Main EQE 2021. The Pre-exam candidate does not enroll for a simultaneous Pre-EQE 2021.
    - the pre-exam candidate fails an exam. For this simulation it does not matter which exam but let's say the pre-exam candidate fails the D exam.

    Would the pre-exam candidate be eligible to resit the failed D exam in 2022 based on Article 16 REE [Re-sitting the examination (1) A candidate who fails the examination may only re-sit a paper or papers he did not pass.]. Personally, this seems the most reasonable approach.

    A solution would be to enroll into the Main and Pre-EQE 2021 and to pass at least the Pre-EQE.

    What if the pre-exam candidate fails the pre-EQE in 2021 whilst simultaneously failing at least one Main paper?

    All of the above is highly hypothetical off course but does cause some uncertainties nonetheless.

    I hope you , your family and coleagues stay healthy.

    Best,

    Y

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear YD

      I would also like to know the answer to this. I also have another question Roel might answer.

      What if the plan was to sit only one paper (paper D) in 2021 if the pre-EQE was passed 2020 and then take A-C in 2022, hopefully after passing paper D. Would this still be possible, or should we enroll for both paper D and pre-EQE 2021 to be eligible for enrollment in 2022?

      Best
      Michael

      Delete
  38. For those who wants to join an appeal - there is already something set up on the above thread but I've put the email address here again.

    maineqe2020@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is definitely not worth filing an appeal... look at Art. 24(1) REE: "An appeal shall lie from decisions of the Examination Board and the Secretariat which adversely affect the appellant, but ONLY on the grounds that this Regulation or any provision relating to its application has been infringed." The decision that you want to appeal do not infringe any regulation of the EQE. Remember having right and becoming right are two different things….

      Delete
    2. Can we look broadly at other options - the decision seems so unfair for main EQE candidates?

      Delete
  39. The decision appears fair to pre-EQE candidates this year to account for their loss year.

    The decision does NOT seem fair for main EQE candidates and the decision does not take into account fair compensation for their loss year.

    ReplyDelete
  40. It is right for the EPO to cancel until next year but the decision is very unfair for main EQE candidates - it seems that their loss year is not taken into account but pre-EQE candidates have been.

    Not seeking a free pass but a few discretionary marks goes a long way to satisfy the mega disappointment. The feeling of failing the exams is terrible and this is what this feels like. The feeling of being unfairly treated is even worse.

    ReplyDelete
  41. It is a bit outrageous that they haven't offer any fair compensation for main EQE candidates but their decision is very heavily favouring pre-EQE candidates. Expecting a lot of appeals.

    ReplyDelete
  42. What is more ironic about all this is that some EPI/EPO members support free passes for pre-EQE but do not want any fair compensation for main EQE candidates at all. Yes, the exams are different but both set of candidates should be treated fairly and compensation should be dependent on level. What I can see here is that nothing is given for main EQE candidates but a lot is given for pre-EQE candidates. Not having to sit a 4 hour exam paper is a big give away.

    The irony of supporting one group free passes but no support at all for the other group. Sigh

    ReplyDelete
  43. If I was enrolling for pre-EQE 2021, I would be filing an appeal against doing the pre-EQE exam in 2021 and move straight to the main EQE exams.

    Why do I need to do pre-EQE if pre-EQE 2020 were all given free passes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See the regulations, Article 11 (7), last sentence. This should answer your question.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous22 April 2020 at 14:14

      I know people are angry. But some statements are just showing that some candidatescomplaining most likely would have not passed the EQE 2020....

      Delete
    3. I think you also find that some on here are already qualified and feel that there should be a bit more discretion to the main EQE candidates of this year.

      Delete
  44. Holding the main exam of 2020 next year (in addition to the regular 2021 exam) would be fair, so main exam candidates don’t miss out on one chance. Another option could be compensatory marks, perhaps awarded on a flexible basis depending on the pre-exam score of the respective candidate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with compensatory marks. Giving 5 marks for each candidate per paper would be easiest way to implement.

      Surely the EPO can see that main EQE candidates of 2020 are also very badly affected and therefore it is not unreasonable to give something for them. In the past, some marks have been awarded as candidates have been adversely affected through no fault of their own and this year - it is clearly a very unexceptional year.

      Delete
  45. I believe it would be only fair to facilitate Main EQE 2020 candidates, especially in light of Rule 17 of IPREE.

    Rule 17(1) states: Disabled candidates are those who can prove that they suffer from a disability severely affecting their capacity to participate in the pre-examination or the examination as set up for all other candidates.

    No one will argue against the fact that Main EQE2020 candidates do suffer from a real problem affecting their capacity to take part into the Examination of 2021 as set up for all other candidates.

    I hope this proposal doesn't sound fraudolent or insulting. There is no stigma involved with living in a situation such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. We are all in these together but it would be blind not to highlight that some people are hit harder than others in these. Penalizing the people who may have ben hit harder from the pandemic is inhuman.

    Following the rules involves interpreting the rules in the light of the reality people live in, in order to trasfer them from the realm of abstract ideas into the realm of everyday life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rule 17 is basically impossible to make use of unless you have a broken arm, are blind or whatever, and have a medical diagnosis to this effect.

      Examinees with learning difficulties (e.g., dyslexia, dyspraxia etc.) are regularly turned down for it. The EPO is very backwards in this regard.

      Delete
  46. I understand why people are unwilling to give compensation to people who have had their taking of the EQE main exams delayed until next year. But as has accurately been pointed out, there is precedent for awarding marks to examinees unfairly inconvenienced by circumstances (the extra marks given to people taking the EQE main exam in cold exam halls some years ago). 2020 examinees have undoubtedly been inconvenienced by this delay and their performance at the exams will be affected by this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a qualified attorney who happen to take the exams in the year with the "cold room" saga, I am completely in agreement with your assessment. If I was in the shoes of the main EQE 2020 candidates, I would feel extremely hard done by so some compensatory marks in the exam would be a fair outcome for all.

      Passing pre-EQE candidates seems more than fair to me.

      Delete
    2. Inconvenienced for sure, but not inconvenienced in a way that makes it more difficult to score 45/50 marks. On the contrary, one more year of professional practice and studying should make the exam easier.

      Delete
    3. "Inconvenienced for sure, but not inconvenienced in a way that makes it more difficult to score 45/50 marks. On the contrary, one more year of professional practice and studying should make the exam easier."

      Definitely, positively, and absolutely not true. Just like everyone else who has ever taken the exams, the people who prepared for the 2020 exams did it based on past papers. They worked up to a deadline of this year's exams. They either did all the papers or at least those most relevant to the 2020 exams. They've therefore already done all the preparation they can and anything further that happens is only going to make them less prepared, not more so.

      This is especially the case given the well-known way in which the EQEs run contrary to standard practice. To give one example, to risk an overly-broad claim in Paper A can be fatal in the exam, but in practice you should, all things being equal, lean towards pushing the envelope given the choice between "possibly a bit too broad" and "definitely a bit too narrow".

      Delete
    4. Agreeing with Gilman here. Main EQE candidates would have taken the appropriate courses, training, materials, study leave, practice papers for EQE 2020. Doing it a year later is not the same and they are at a slight disadvantage. This may be partly due to why re-sitters have a lower pass rate because doing revision for the first time is when you are at you're most effective.

      Compensatory marks seems to me to be fair for main EQE 2020 this year especially if pre-EQE candidates are given free passes. We need to make it fair to both groups of candidates not just one set.

      Delete
  47. I don't want compensatory marks for EQE-2021, I don't want to be looked down on for the rest of my career as someone who could have failed if not for the extra free marks. I think it would set up a two-tier system for EPAs where 2021-qualifiers are viewed more suspiciously.

    The whole situation is not fair, but life isn't fair. Coronavirus isn't the fault of the EPO and they shouldn't lower the standards of their qualifications because of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Passing the EQE and being a good patent attorney are two entirely different things. At least Papers A-C are in many aspects contrary to actual daily practice.

      Delete
    2. What about those who got 45 marks and still pass - do you think they are second-tier attorney = NO. Exams are not everything. The EQEs are there to show that you are NOT incompetent but to be a good attorney, work experience account for most of it and your job is the best place to have develop this. Many firms will only allow you to develop and progress your skills until you pass EQEs.

      I do not understand why pre-EQE candidates are so biasedly favoured in this situation but even if that's the case, it is clear main EQE candidates are not treated fairly here. They must be provided some compensation to allow for their loss year.

      Delete
    3. "I don't want compensatory marks for EQE-2021, I don't want to be looked down on for the rest of my career as someone who could have failed if not for the extra free marks."

      Does anyone do this to the attorneys who got 10 extra marks because their exam hall was too cold a few years back?

      No, don't be silly.

      Delete
    4. That is ridiculous. You must have noticed the difficulty of the exams varies from year to year. Do you keep track and look down or up to people that passed each of those? Should you look down on yourself because you do not have to read paper documents in at least two languages?

      Delete
  48. Perhaps we can write an open letter to the EPO supervisory board and get some signatures on asking for fairer compensation for main EQE candidates. Small amounts of discretionary marks seems like the fairest way here to compensate for a total loss this year.

    ReplyDelete
  49. The Supervisory Board should seriously do much more for the affected main EQE 2020 candidates. They need to look at the loss of financial packages and job progression these candidates face.

    Discretionary marks is by far the most appropriate way forward for this. No one is asking for a pass but some recognition of the difficult circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I think the supervisory board will have to act and provide further infor/discretion to main EQE candidates due to the fact that they are giving pre-EQE free passes.

    It needs to be fair on main EQEs too - they are also affected by this pandemic too not just pre-EQE candidates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. They really need to do more for main EQE candidates. Hoping for a new release/update soon.

      Delete
    2. "hoping for a new release..."
      Your hopes will be very disappointed, why should the decision be changed? Based on the rantings and complaints here in the blog?

      Delete
    3. There wouldn't be so many people angry, resentful as well as ranting and complaining if there isn't a sense of unfairness by the decision. There is - main EQE get nothing for their loss year. pre-EQE get free passes. I don't think that is a fair outcome.

      I would prefer it if they reset the year. pre-EQE candidates do pre-EQE exam and main EQE candidates do main EQE exams in 2021.

      Either give something for both groups or nothing at all. Not one group and not the other which is the situation we have now.

      Delete
  51. Why not just hold both the main exam papers of E2020 and 2021 next year?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. very simple:
      the effort and the costs
      the lesser problem are the papers: you need a complete set of examination papers which need about six months to develop, that is manageable
      the real problem is the marking effort, you need 1 European Patent Attorney (or EPO examiner) being prepared to mark (the first mentioned without payment in his free time) per 16 candidates (sitting in full). Usually the guys have about 2 months time for marking which takes about 120 hours. This personal is simply not available

      Delete
    2. The examination papers for 2020 have already been devised and there will be a lot more people sitting the main EQE next year anyways. I'm not saying that the results should be available within 2 months time, but I think it's not fair to deprive us of one opportunity to take and pass the exams.

      Delete
  52. So.... I'm looking at hotels in Walsall right now for next year. Literally can't book at any of the chain hotels at or near Bescott stadium. Not sure if they just won't take bookings for next year or they've been booked out already.

    But that prompts another question: normally they're all booked out pretty quickly, so how on earth are they supposed to accommodate TWICE the number of candidates?

    Can we please just have common sense this year and hold the UK exams in London rather than somewhere 100+ miles away for no good reason anyone has ever been able to give me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No hotels are taking bookings at the minute as they've been ordered by the government to close their doors.

      Whilst many UK trainees are based in London, there are a significant portion of trainees elsewhere who welcome a more central position. Walsall appears to have sufficient capacity for only 1 year's worth of candidates but a second venue should be sought after.

      Delete
    2. I've heard this point made but it rings somewhat hollow. London is easier to get to from many parts of the country than Walsall is - for example it is easier to fly there from Glasgow or NI, to get there by rail from the south west and south east. No other country takes this approach, nor is this approach taken on the UK exams.

      Finally, just like you say, it is not easy to get accommodation near the exam centre in Walsall (there is only a single hotel within a mile of the exam centre which always books up quickly) whilst in London accommodation is plentiful.

      I actually had a car minor accident (I wasn't driving) on my way to the exam hall last year, exactly the kind of thing you just don't want but which becomes inevitable when you are more than a quick walk away from the place where you'll take the exam.

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    3. I imagine there's a massive cost saving holding it in Walsall not London.

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    4. I don't mind where the venue is but agree that it needs to be communicated early with plentiful accommodation. The way I see it, Walsall has been there for years so lets stick to Walsall and have a separate venue in London or another major UK city.

      What worries me is that we may not even be allowed to take the EQE 2021 exam if this pandemic hits again (the so call second wave).

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    5. "I imagine there's a massive cost saving holding it in Walsall not London."

      This is probably the main motive, though it is confusing that CIPA organises both the PEBs and EQEs, and the PEBs are held in London but the EQEs in Walsall. Maybe it is determined by the budget CIPA is given by the EPO?

      Anyway, the UK exams have been successfully held at the Barbican with over-flow at the CIPA offices in Holborn. Is the Barbican really all that expensive to hire? They could easily do this for the EQEs.

      The Germans allow exams to be sat at both the DPMA in Berlin and in Munich, after all.

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    6. PS - just worked out that it may be more than double the normal requirement for hotel rooms etc. The reason? Giving free passes on the pre-EQEs means that the people who would have failed the 2020 pre-EQEs will sit the 2021 main exams.

      I suppose on the other side of the ledger, though, is the basic fact that there may be fewer people employed in this sector by next year due to the present dire economic circumstances.

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    7. Gilman - my understanding is that the EQE budget is allocated to the UK IPO, which then subcontracts organisation of the UK sitting of the EQE to CIPA. I have no idea what the budget is, but I assume that there must be a perceived need to keep expenditure low, hence the somewhat random out-of-London locations.

      Bear in mind that the number of candidates sitting the EQE at the UK exam centre in a normal year is typically much greater than the number of candidates sitting the UK exams and I have some sympathy with the view which I've previously heard from CIPA that finding a large enough EQE exam centre in the UK, within budget, is a challenge even outside of London, hence the reliance on sports stadia etc. (I presume that university lecture/exam halls are unavailable - or perceived as unavailable - due to the exams being scheduled during term time?)

      For the exceptional circumstances created by the cancellation of EQE2020, we are almost certainly going to need to locate at least two exam centres in the UK for simultaneous sittings. An expanded budget allocation from the EPO would then seem equitable. Having at least one venue in, or near, London would certainly be sensible if suitable budget can be allocated and if a suitable location can be found.

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    8. Don't forget those who are also retaking one or more papers. Alot will be doing main EQEs next year.

      If things are delayed again, you end up with 3 years worth of candidates doing main EQE exams.

      Delete
  53. I agree with most comments above about the lack of fairness for main EQE candidates this year.

    The EPO has a duty to provide high quality standards but they must also take into account the difficult circumstances this year many candidates have faced. This is something no other candidates in any other year have faced. It is entirely appropriate and reasonable to provide discretionary marks to this years main EQEs.

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  54. Can somebody please guide me to the definition of exceptional circumstances? "Article 2 Given the prevailing, exceptional circumstances" I find such unrelated in the BoA.

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  55. Many have urged to the supervisory board here to consider much fairer compensation for main EQE exams to account of their loss this year (which include loss of finances, job progression, careers in addition to little or no support for EQE 2021).

    I want to add my voice to this. Providing some compensatory marks is not totally unreasonable and doesn't allow a candidate who is not ready to pass. As many has rightly argue here, an unprepared candidate would only score around 25-30 marks at the very best.

    Please make it fair for many EQE 2020 candidates who have lost a year. Providing some compensatory marks would be greatly appreciated and would mean alot especially in these very difficult times.

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    1. I am sure most candidates (pre-EQE and main EQE) would support this. We all want a bit of fairness for all candidates as this year is completely NOT our fault, nor is it the EPO's fault. A bit of discretion by the EPO supervisory board would not hurt for main EQEs. The pre-EQE candidates have got their discretion - please also apply the same discretion/courtesy for main EQEs.

      We see many other organisations at universities supporting their candidates by waiving their exams or finding alternative assessments. We are not asking for a pass to main EQE but some discretion for the loss year. A fair and most efficient way is to just simply apply 5-10 marks per paper.

      Our families are also affected because we cannot sit the exams this year and its not just us - please consider the effects on main EQE candidates a bit more.

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  56. Regarding this issue with main EQE candidates 2020 having to skip a year "demanding" that pre-EQE candidates 2020 also skip a year:
    This causes a domino effect of unfairness. Pre-EQE candidates 2020 sitting pre-exam together with pre-EQE candidates 2021 who do not skip a year is also unfair.

    Pre-EQE candidates 2020 skipping a year also means that they would need to get new materials for 2022 and the 2021 batch would not.

    Next, what about all those prep course organizers that are out a lot of work for a year because pre-exam candidates 2020 have to wait another year to sit the pre-exam? Seems like a bad idea in current economic situation.

    Also, having pre-exam batch 2020 sitting pre and main EQE in one week is a disadvantage because it seems quite demanding physically.

    Lastly, how about all the qualified EP attorneys that were not required to sit pre-EQE a decade ago? Why don´t you appeal against their titles?

    Can we all agree that this crisis created so much unfairness for so many people globally? There would be no solution with which all of us will be equally satisfied. Let´s just not try to drag each another into a void.

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  57. This is basically what the decision has created. Instead of getting everybody together, the decision has skewed very favourably for pre-EQE candidates this year and left out the main EQE candidates to hang out and dry.

    If supervisory board really wants to bring people together then please reconsider sufficient compensation for the main EQE candidates. Otherwise, this will cause major rifts and resentment. Its not fair that there is no acknowledgment given for main EQEs candidates but acknowledgement has been given for pre-EQE candidates even though both are in the same situation.

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    1. I cannot agree more. The decision has made me very cross and hard to take. there is no suitable consideration for main EQE candidates at all. It is as if to say they have not been affected by this.

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  58. Hello Everybody!

    I have created a Telegram group for discussion and instant information about EQE. You are welcome to it. https://t.me/joinchat/N3hArhWySnDj5dOcxewUZQ

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  59. I'd like to reiterate that, as a pre-EQE2020 candidate - and I believe this to be shared by other fellow colleagues - we deeply feel the unfair decision towards mainEQE2020 and see it as a fair option that mEQE2020 candidates get a lower pass threshold or compensatory marks. It's ridiculous that the EPO has taken such a decision. I hope they realize that the amount of compensation to be provided to mEQE2020 candidates has to be revised and increased consistently.

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    1. I think, as stated above, that the most fair thing to do would be to hold both the 2020 and 2021 main EQE exams next year. That way, 2020 candidates don't miss out on one attempt at taking/passing the exams which is the case right now. Since the same legal syllabus (31 October 2019) applies to both the 2020 and 2021 EQE and the papers for 2020 have already been devised, it only requires more organizational effort from the EPO -- but there would be quite some time left to sort those organizational things out.

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    2. as already mentioned above (17:16 on a 14:47 post)

      the problem is the marking effort, you need 1 European Patent Attorney (or EPO examiner) being prepared to mark (the first mentioned without payment in his free time) per 16 candidates (sitting in full). Usually the guys have about 2 months time for marking which takes about 120 hours. This personal is simply not available twice in one year.

      Additionally, in view of time constraints you have to take into consideration administrative decision time and the necessary time slot for re-registering the candidates that failed a paper.

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    3. @Anonymous22 April 2020 at 19:16
      The EPO examiner also has to mark the scripts in her own free time, and without payment.

      Delete
    4. I'm certain that there is sufficient personell to manage both the '20 and '21 main exam papers in one year, also given the fact that there's almost an entire year left to plan ahead and sort out the organizational matter. For example, the exam fees could be adapted to account for the increased organizational effort/work load.

      Delete
    5. "I'm certain"....
      you seem not to read what was written above, the fees are entirely going into the organization of the EQE; if the fees are to be adapted => even at only 100 EUR/hr paying the markers would amount to 800 EUR additional costs per full sitter. Are you prepared to pay it.
      On the other side, after having passed the EQE, you are welcome in the team of markers, for the time being about 120 hours pro bono work a year

      Delete
    6. I certainly would accept an increased examination fee for an additional attempt at the EQE any time and I'm certain that also the majority of the EQE sitters would.

      It is true that the marking effort will be higher. But there's almost an entire year left to sort out those organizational issues.

      The SB has exercised discretion with regard to the pre-EQE '20 takers. This also results in an increased marking effort/organizational effort since a lot more people will take the main exam next year (and also in the subsequent years, if one assumes that the pass rate remains roughly the same). Putting the latter into perspective, the increased organizational effort for holding both the '20 and '21 exam next year seems acceptable, in particular when considering the substantial amount of effort and time that most EQE '20 takers have invested for this year's exam -- in vain under the current 'solution'.

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  60. Honestly, if pre-EQE sitters get a free pass, they are not only compensated for the cirumstances, they even unduly benefit from the Corona outbreak. Compared to previous pre-EQE sitters, they don't have the "chance to fail" (In 2018, about 30% failed). This is completely illogical and unfair not only towards this year's main-EQE sitters who don't get any compensation, but also towards previous candiates.

    This seems to be completely illogical to me.

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    1. Yes for sure this seems very unfair for main EQE candidates. They need to provide something more substantial for main EQE candidates. Like you said, 30% of candidates failed pre-EQE 2018 so that is a pass rate of 70%. To pass everyone is a significant benefit. They need to do more for main EQE candidates.

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  61. I don't get it, how the circumstances are exceptional for a group of candidates and normal for another? The way the decision is phrased is by not mentioning the pre-eqe, i.e. phrasing it positively - anyone can apply - so that it is more difficult for an appeal to prove the negative. To remind you, each EQE decision is an individual decision in respect of an appeal filed by a specific candidate - each decision in principle gets final if no appeal is filed within the time limit by the candidate concerned." We have one month people, one month time from the receipt of the decision to appeal.

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    1. For sure an appeal must be filed for the injustice on the main EQE candidates

      Delete
  62. I think that everyobdy needs to calm down and think about what has happened for a bit before getting at each others throats:

    So this year, there were people who previously failed one or more pre-EQE's and (mostly) people who would have taken Pre-EQE 2020 for the first time. Both of these types of candidates have prepared for taking the Pre-EQE and have thus lost time, as the Exam had been cancelled. They would lose even more time if they had to do it all again (i.e. at least one year, plus the extra preparation time for another Pre-EQE).

    On the other hand, there were people this year who would have taken one to four papers of the main Exam for the first time, or who may have failed some or all of those previously and who would thus take the failed ones again. Now, lets just assume that a major portion of all these people would have prepared at least for paper D, which is the most difficult one to pass. All these people would have prepared for the exam(s) costing them several times the time and effort to prepare for in comparison to prep for Pre-EQE. Since EQE2020 has been cancelled, they lost all of this time and they will lose several times the amount of Pre-EQE prep time yet again. Further, they lose an entire year before they can actually have another shot at all papers, meaning that everyone who would have passed EQE2020 loses at least one year of being able to work as a european patent attorney in their life, no matter what happens afterwards. Arguably, those who will not pass their first attempt may also lose a year, as they will not get their second chance before 2022 rather than 2021.

    Now, everybody who would have failed Pre-EQE 2020 (including those who have failed it before) and everyone who would have passed Pre-EQE 2020 is given a free pass via decision. Effectively, none of these people lose any time, or have lost any time, as the ideal outcome has now been achieved by everyone (i.e. passing the Pre-Exam).

    On the other hand, those having prepared for mEQE 2020, so those who have already lost more time, will still suffer those losses after the decision. Make thise times two, as they will have to redo it again next year. In addition to lost time this also means quite a bit of monetary losses for many who would have otherwise gotten their qualification as a european patent attorney this year.

    Judging this from a purely objective point of view, there is a severe imbalance between the consequences for pre-EQE candidates and Main Exam candidates.

    However, at the end of the day: What can you do about it? A) Either accept your fate and deal with it, or B) you file an appeal against the decision. But it does not make any sense whatsoever to get at each others throats about it.

    I would have taken papers A to D of the main Exam for the first time this year. I am one of the group who will now suffer quite a few setbacks, both financially as well as effort/time-wise. It feels very frustrating and I can understand the anger everybody else who sees himself in this situation feels. But again, it does not make any sense to judge others or Pre-EQE 2020 candidates for what has happened. I hope that most of the others also see it that way.

    If you ask for my honest opinion I'd say the EQE2020 candidates should be given priority when marks are given next year so they do not lose yet even more time when double the amount of grading of papers that will have to be done next year (2019+2020 Pre-EQE candidates) would otherwise delay this process. While this would mean Pre-EQE 2020 candidates would lose a bit of time when they have to wait for their exam results next year, this pales in comparison to the time and effort that the mEQE2020 candidates will have already lost by then, so I guess it would be a generally acceptable situation.
    This would not compensate for what has happened to mEQE2020 candidates, but at least it would minimize the amount of additionally lost time.

    For anybody who does decide to file an appeal: I wish you luck! Maybe you can change something and ease the situation in some way.

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    1. I don't think the majority of main EQE candidates are angry at pre-EQE candidates. Not at all - in fact, I think they have been very fairly compensated.

      The question is why has the supervisory board so unfairly treated the main EQE candidates who also suffer this year. There is no compensation or acknowledge or recognition of this at all. Giving candidates 5-10 marks would be so fair for them and it does not devalue the main EQEs as candidates still need to score 40-45 marks to pass the paper. Unprepared candidates would not get anywhere near this mark.

      The decision by the supervisory board so far has created a sense of injustice and unfairness for main EQE candidates as they have been completely ignored by this saga. All we ask is to treat all candidates fairly.

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  63. I am absolutely staggered at how the supervisory board. Why is one group heavily favoured and another group simply dismissed. Both set of candidates are adversely affected.

    Passing pre-EQE - fine.

    Give some discretionary marks for main EQE candidates to make it fair.

    As a principle of any examination body- all candidates taking an exam should have equal and fair treatment.

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    1. Uproar indeed. Main EQE candidates have been abandoned and unfairly treated here.

      No one wants a free pass but they just need to simply be fair to main EQE candidates too. They are not being fair at the moment.

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  64. Even when I do pass - I shall remember very clearly this treatment from the supervisory board to main EQE candidates 2020. When we needed them the most, they have completely let us down. It is a hard pill to swallow and let go.

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  65. After this outcome... there is obviously no justification to hold the pre EQE in the future

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    1. You might as well wait to obtain 3 years experience and then do main EQE. Skip pre-EQE

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  66. Do people on the EPO boards, EPI members and qualified attorney really believe this decision is the fairest solution for main EQE candidates. They are allowing pre-EQE candidates to pass (as acknowledgement for the loss year) which is fine but absolutely nothing for main EQE candidates. How is that a just decision?

    All we ask is a bit more consideration to account for the loss of year of mEQE candidates. If you are a main EQE candidate now - how would you feel reading that decision? You've have basically be told you will get nothing but your peers a year behind are allowed free passes to do the same paper as you.

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  67. I think it is absolutely outrageous. How is this fair? Clearly this shows that pre-EQE's are pointless and unnecessary. There ought to be some kind of compensation, i don't think this is too much to ask.

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  68. The decision today basically means that pre EQE candidates will get a substantial pay rise by not sitting an exam and given a free pass.

    Main EQE candidates this year will basically not get a pay rise for at least another year.

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  69. The fact that many employers link considerable raises to EQE is not an EQE problem - that is a profession problem. Something that the national patent attorney organisations should maybe take up.
    There is a difference between a motivational bonus and potential abuse, where experienced (but not qualified) employees are doing the work of patent attorneys but being paid as trainees.
    In private practice, it is easy to calculate what is billed against any mentoring hours. Within a company, mentoring hours are normally logged as a special kind of overhead.

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    1. The fact that I already do most of the responses to office action and an attorney signs it off shows that there is already an imbalance. I get trainee wages and bonuses are tiny but do alot of the "attorney" work.

      Most trainees in the profession would get this. Hence a loss of 1 year is so deterimental. Most get pay increases based on their exam pass because firms can bill more. Hence pre Eqe candidates are likely to get substantial pay rises as firms can bill more.

      Those who do main EQE exams this year are stuck at the same level and won't be able to charge more for their time so they don't get a pay rise.

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  70. Whichever way you look at it, it is horrible for main EQE candidates. They have been so unfortunate with the circumstance and now with the decision today which effectively render their situation as void.

    At least pre EQE can get something out of this. Main EQE candidates have been turned over twice first by covid 19 and now by this decision.

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  71. While I welcome clarity, I do not welcome the one sided and unjustified decision that takes no account many main EQEs candidates situation. Some say that we complain but this is the passion and anger many now feel.

    I would put it this way - how would the EPO board feel being an EQE 2020 candidate now. You see your peers (pre EQE) allowed to pass and take the exams with you but you get no compensation for this year. You now have to do all that hard work again most likely with little support and on your own as your firm will only support you once. Your colleague who has just been given a free pass for pre EQE gets to go on the best training and have the most recent tutorials and materials.

    This year mEQE has been screwed over big time!

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