Read the Instructions To Candidates before going to the EQE 2016

A number of candidates seem unfamiliar with the Regulations on the EQE (REE), and in particular with the Instructions to candidates concerning the conduct of the EQE.

In 2015, there were some breaches of the REE with unfortunate consequences:

  • Many candidates add names or initials to their answer paper – this is very disruptive to the EC’s because it has to be manually removed before marking to preserve anonymity.
  • A candidate wrote the complete answer on the blank (back) sides of the EQE paper. After copying the sheets, only blank pages were submitted for marking, and the candidate was awarded 0 points. So only write on the lined side of the EQE paper provided. 
  • A candidate kept writing after the stop signal was given, even after being warned. The EB decided to subtract 5 points for this breach of the rules. In future, writing after the stop signal may be more strictly enforced. 
  • Some candidates were surprised that they were not permitted to have their phones with them. The rules concerning electronic devices are strict – candidates may not take any device, such as a telephone, tablet or smart watch, into the examination hall - even if turned off. They should be left at home or in the hotel. Although some examination centers may provide an envelope or lockers, these can be limited in number and should not be relied on.

Don't be surprised: read the latest version of the REE (found on the EPO’s EQE page here).

Tutors' Report on EQE 2015 Papers

To help candidates and tutors learn more about the 2015 papers, and to give some tips for EQE 2016, Pete Pollard edits this report every year after the EQE Tutor Meeting in October, using the input from several experienced tutors.

This year, some more details are also given about the combined A and B papers to be introduced with EQE 2017.

It has been published in the latest edition of epi information (pages 134-142). An extract of the report only is available here.

From DeltaPatents, Pete Pollard summarised the D and Pre-Exam Paper discussions, and Jelle Hoekstra summarised the C Paper.

Updated version of the EQE Guide for Preparation (5th edition)

Published by the EPO, this guide provides candidates with advice and information, not only from the EPO, epi and CEIPI, but also from previous candidates and their tutors and supervisors. It also provides help and useful hints on organising a revision timetable and avoiding common pitfalls. 

Examiner's reports Main Exam papers EQE 2015 available

The Examiner's reports of the Main Exam papers of EQE 2015 are available on the EQE Compendium webpages.

Please refer to our dedicated blogs for discussions of each of the papers.

Results Main Exam EQE 2015 are available!

The results from the EQE Main Exam 2015 are available on the EQE webpages (pdf).

Compared to 2014, the pass rates for all papers improved.

Our analysis indicates:

paper A (e/m and ch)
#fail A 254 29,26%
#passes A 534 61,52%
#passes+comp fail A 614 70,74%
compfail A 80 9,22%
#sitting A (non-zero) 868
#no-show (zero marks)7

paper B (e/m and ch)
#fail B 199 24,24%
#passes B 568 69,18%
#passes+comp fail B 622 75,76%
compfail B 54 6,58%
#sitting B (non-zero) 821
#no-show (zero marks)8

paper C
#fail C 535 50,61%
#passes C 425 40,21%
#passes+comp fail C 522 49,39%
compfail C 97 9,18%
#sitting C (non-zero) 1057
#no-show (zero marks)27

paper D
#fail D 318 32,28%
#passes D  554 56,24%
#passes+comp fail D  667 67,72%
compfail D 113 11,47%
#sitting D (non-zero) 985
#no-show (zero marks)44

(in 2014, 38,84% failed Am 35,93% failed B, 54,85% failed C and 52,62% failed D)

The score distributions are:

As always, any comments are welcome and appreciated. Please post using your real name or a nick name as that makes responding easier.


2 juli 2015

Addition 6 juli:

interesting to see how many candidates sat one of the pre-exams and now sat one or more main exam papers:

total candidates Main 2015

# pre-exam
      # pre-sitters
  sitters, now 
   1 or more main 

      in pre-exam 
   exam paper   
PE2012 passers 50 or more
PE2012 passers 70 or more
PE2013 passers 50 or more
PE2013 passers 70 or more
PE2014 passers 70 or more
PE2014 passers 68 or 69 
never pre-exam

Pre-Exam Course in Istanbul for EQE 2016 preparation

In co-operation with Patent Çare we offer our Basic Legal Course also in Istanbul this year.

The course is offered as an 8+2 day course in 2 blocks of 4+1 days. In the first 4 days of each block, the legal concepts of the EPC and PCT are introduced, discussed interactively and practiced with some basic questions. These 4 days are immediately followed by 1 day of review and practice, specifically for the Pre-Exam. Hereby, candidates get a rapid overview of legal concepts in the EPC and PCT, and also practice how to apply in Pre-Exam style questions.

The first 4+1-day block is scheduled on 27 - 31 August 2015, and addresses all EPC procedural topics of the Pre-Exam syllabus.
The second 4+1-day block is scheduled on 18 - 23 December 2015, and addresses all EPC substantive patent law topics and all PCT topics of the Pre-Exam syllabus.

Please register online or use the form in the brochure on our website before 15 June 2015.

Enrolment EQE 2016

The March 2015 issue of the Official Journal of the EPO  is now online and contains the official
Announcement of the European qualifying examination 2016, including enrolment information for Pre-Exam 2016 and the main exam paper of EQE 2016.
1.1 Date of the pre-examination and deadline
The pre-examination will be held on 29 February 2016.
The web portal  will be available [from 15 April 2015*] until 2 June 2015. After 2 June 2015 the web portal will be closed and it will not be possible to apply for enrolment to the pre-examination 2016.
1.2 Date of the main examination and deadline
The main examination will be held from 1 to 3 March 2016.
The web portal will be available [from 14 July 2015*] until 8 September 2015. After 8 September 2015 the web portal will be closed and it will not be possible to apply for enrolment to the main examination 2016.

*Update 3 April 2015: looks like the webportal is already open!!!
I cite further parts of the announcement below.
Please refer to OJ 2015, A30 (html English) or (trilangual pdf) for all details.
The REE and IPREE were publushed in Suppl OJ 2/2014: REE and IPREE
Course information is given in our earlier blog and on our EQE training webpages.

Training for EQE 2016

A brief overview of our training offers for EQE 2016 is given in an earlier other blog.

The first basic legal course, suitable for Pre-Exam 2016 sitters, and well as for Main Exam 2016 sitters that are not yet on solid legal ground, starts already with a first 4-day block in Eindhoven (NL) on 20-23 April 2015, addressing EPC procedural law and practice! This first block will be followed by next 2-day block on 18 - 19 June 2015 to discuss EPC substantive patent law and practice, and a last 2-day block on 13 - 15 September for PCT procedural law and practice

Details can be found on our website ("training", "webshop", general EQE training brochure, and 8-day basic legal brochure)

We also offer the course in other countries, and -for the first time- in Poland. The 8-day basic legal course in Poland is given in two blocks of 4 days, reducing travel cost and overhead of travel time. The blocks are scheduled on 8 - 11 June 2015 (EPC procedure) and 21 - 24 September 2016 (EPC substantive patent law and PCT procedure) -- refer to our other blog post and the 8-day basic legal (PL) brochure.

Hope to see you in once of our courses!

Deltapatents will provide courses on Poland for EQE 2016 preparation

For EQE 2016 preparation, we will offer our 8-day Basic Legal course not only in the Netherlands, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and/or the U.K., but -in cooperation with Patpol- for the first time also in Poland.

This intensive 8-day course is offered in two blocks of 4 consecutive days at the Patpol office in Warszawa. The course will bring candidates from a basic level with no or limited legal knowledge to the level required for the EQE Pre-Exam (and/or a first step in preparation for the Main Exam). All legal topics -EPC procedural, EPC substantive and PCT- are covered. This course is modeled around the Pre-Exam Legal course for Dutch patent attorneys in the Netherlands.

This intensive course covers the legal topics needed for the Pre-Exam. We will give a complete legal overview, using our unique flow-charts. After each block the knowledge just learned will be tested by practicing basic questions as well as some pre-exam level questions. Also, some basic questions for main exam preparation are included.  Furthermore we will show candidates how to answer the questions True/False format.

In between the course blocks, candidates are expected to study and to do homework questions.
By the end of the course the participants will have identified their weaknesses and will know the areas that they need to concentrate before sitting the Pre-Exam, and will be at a level allowing advanced legal preparation for the main exam.

The content of the two blocks are as follows:
  • First 4-day block:      4 days EPC procedure  
  • Second 4-day block:  2 days EPC substantive patent law, and
                                      2 days PCT procedure 
and these blocks are (provisionally) scheduled on the following dates:
  • First block:           8 – 11 June 2015
  • Second block:    21 – 24 September 2015
The 8-day course in 2 blocks of 4 + 4 days is offered in Poland at a 25% reduced course fee compared to the 8-day Basic Legal Courses that we offer in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and U.K. in 3 blocks of 4 + 2 + 2 days. 
By offering the course at the Patpol office in Warszawa at a reduced course fee, at a geographical location having lower cost for hotel and cost of stay than the Netherlands and the other countries mentioned, and organizing all topics in 2 blocks for reducing travel cost, DeltaPatents and Patpol allow candidates from Poland and developing countries, especially those that acceded to the EPC more recently, to participate in our courses at a lower total cost, without compromising to the quality of the course.

Unique Course Concept

During each block of this course basic legal knowledge will be gained, covering the fundamental subjects of the EQE.

During the course-days tuition will be alternated with questions serving a a quick review whether the topics. A number of these will be in True/False format, part of which reflecting the format of the Pre-Exam. Emphasis will be put on topics and skills that a trainee is expected to be able to recognise and apply after 2 years experience and comprehensive legal/practical training, to hereby be at Pre-Exam level, or at an intermediate level on the road to main exam D level with further study on advanced legal topics and on applying the legal knowledge to complex open questions in the DI-part of the D-paper.

Course Highlights

DeltaPatents’ flow-charts, with complete overview of all EPC and PCT topics, covering the fundamental subjects of the EQE, such as novelty, inventive step, priority, unity, the main procedures, time limits, fees, remedies, representation, languages, etc. The legal framework encompasses the EPC (including the Guidelines), the PCT (including the Applicant’s Guide), the Paris Convention (PC), and the national law of Contracting States (in as far as is relevant for the EQE), as defined in the REE/IPEE.  

Reference book included

The book "References to the EPC" by Jelle Hoekstra, updated to include the changes to the EPC per 1 April 2015 and to the PCT per 1 July 2015, is included in the course fee and will be used extensively for an efficient and effective streamlining between the presented material and this up-to-date reference book..

The book consists of a single volume A4 book of over 1300 pages. Its main part, of over 1000 pages in A4 format, includes the full text of the EPC (Articles, Implementing Regulations, and Protocols), RFees, ADA/AAD, and an annotated version of the Euro-PCT Guide. The Articles are listed in sequence, with the Implementing Regulations (Rules) inserted at the appropriate places. Most chapters of the November 2014 version of the Guidelines are fully covered. A large set of Ancillary Regulations / OJ EPO references are fully integrated. Many short tables are included summarizing procedural acts and fee payments, as well as any flow-charts and tables illustrating the procedure. Legal overviews are included to enable fast identification of the most appropriate legal provision.
The second part of the book includes several annexes, including an annotated version of the “Euro-PCT Guide” addressing the various roles of the EPO under the PCT.

How is this course different from others?

Since the founding of DeltaPatents, our goal has been to teach, in the most effective way, the legal knowledge of the EPC and PCT, focussed on passing the EQE and providing knowledge required for daily practice. Our training is not academic.

We know and understand the trends and changes that have happened to the EQE -as a whole and all its individual papers- over the last 15 years. We continuously adapt our training accordingly as to content as well as exam methodology. A large delegation of our tutors for all papers (Pre-Exam, paper A, B, C and D) attends and actively participates in each tutor meeting with the exam committees.

Our tutors are experienced, practicing European patent attorneys, fully up-to-date with every aspect of the EPC and PCT, not just the modules which they teach. Each of them teaches many courses a year. Per course we only use a limited number of tutors who are very well acquainted with the entire course, whereby candidate-tutor interaction is greatly improved compared to courses with many different, single-topic tutors.

The training material is constantly updated and the effectiveness of our training significantly improved. We have managed to bring down the time required for this course from 15 days in 2003 to just 8 days now, maintaining our benchmark pass rates. This significantly reduces the costs for attending the course by limiting the lost working hours. We have also grouped the modules into a low number of blocks of multiple subsequent days, reducing travelling overhead and expenditures for accommodation.

Our unique set of summarising sheets with flow charts, tables and legal overviews reduce the time required for studying and helps in quickly finding the answers while sitting the EQE.

We have developed an extensive set of questions and answers to assist the candidates in further studying the subjects and testing their knowledge. We provide our own model solutions for all questions.

During the training we use an interactive discussion style and avoid one-direction lecturing.

We provide sample studying and homework schedules and welcome contact with the tutor via email, telephone of video chat.

Course Language

All material and tuition will be in English.

Attendance Limited to 20

A maximum of approximately 20 participants can take part in the course – the maximum will depend on the exact location. This limitation will give the tutor the opportunity to interact optimally with the candidates, to discuss unclear issues in more detail and to provide personal assistance during the practicing of questions.

When will we confirm?

We need a minimum of 8 participants to definitely confirm.

The price of the “8-day EQE Legal Course (PL)” in Poland in 2 blocks of 4 + 4 days is reduced by  about 25% to 2.800 (excluding 21% VAT). The reduction is provided to let candidates benefit from the lower cost of course accommodation in view of the course being given in-house  and the lower cost for travel, hotel and general cost of staying in Poland compared to the other contries mentioned.

Prices include tuition, course materials, refreshments and lunches.

An administrative fee of 125 is charged for every booking.  If more than one course is booked at the same time, only one administrative fee of 125 will be charged.

Please register online or use the form in the brochure on our website before 1 May 2015.

Cancellation policy

Please check our website ( for our cancellation policy.

Training for EQE 2016 (pre-exam and main exam) - first courses start already in second half of April 2015 and are open for enrolment

For candidates that sat the Pre-Exam 2015 or one or more main exam paper last week: congratulations: you survived! And hopefully, you passed the paper(s) that you sat.
For new sitters: welcome to the world of the EQE.

The EQE 2016 may seem to be quite far in the future, but your preparation should not start to long from now if you want to be well-prepared.

Below, we provide suggestions as to how to prepare for the EQE 2016 (Pre-Exam or main exam papers):
  • if you plan to sit next year's Pre-Exam;
  • if you passed the Pre-Exam but want/need further basic legal training;
  • if you plan to sit next year's paper D;
  • if you plan to sit one of the other main exam papers A, B and/or C
We provide all our courses Pre-Exam, A, B, C and D in English. 
Part of our courses for Pre-Exam, C and D preparation are also provided in German and/or French:
  • 3-Tage C und D Meth und 4-Tage D Trial auch in Deutsch!!!
  • 3-jour Pre-Exam, 4-your C et 5-jour D aussi en Francais!!!
The first legal courses start on 20 April 2015! 

Courses Preparing for Pre-Exam 2016

[Pre-Exam banner]

If you will sit next year's Pre-Exam, we suggest our 8-day Basic Legal Training (leaflet), given in 3 blocks of 4, 2 and 2 days at our course venue in Eindhoven (NL) to provide you the Basic Legal background and practice for your pre-Exam preparation, which you can then develop further after you passed your Pre-Exam in 2016 using courses from our Main Exam training program and/or our Main Exam material for your main exam as from 2017. For the 8-day basic Legal Training, all material and tuition is provided in English.

The 8-day, 3-block Basic Legal course is (provisionally) scheduled twice:
  • a first course group starting in late March (20- 23 April, 18 - 19 June and 14 - 15 September) for pre-exam 2016 candidates that want to start studying early, and especially also for main exam 2016 candidates to complete the Basic Legal Course before enrolling in the main exam Methodology courses, and
  • a second course group starting in September (7 - 10 September, 5 - 6 November, 14 - 15 December) to allow pre-exam 2016 candidates to do a complete legal training starting only after summer, but still in time for the exam.
We also give the course as a Distance Learning course (leaflet) with bi-weekly interactive video tutorials

Also, the course can be given in-house if your organization has a sufficient number of candidates - please contact our course department for a quotation.

In autumn/ winter, we provide a 1-day Pre-Exam legal methodology course (leaflet) as well as a 2-day Pre-Exam claims analysis methodology course (leaflet). These two courses are/will be scheduled on subsequent days, so the courses can be combined into a 3-day Pre-Exam Practice course wherein the candidates learn how to apply the legal knowledge obtained in the Pre-Exam Legal / Basic Legal course in exam questions in Pre-Exam style.
The 3-day Pre-Exam Methodology course are (provisionally) scheduled in October-January in English at various locations thoughout Europe, et aussi en français à Paris, Lyon et Toulouse.

Courses Preparing for Main Exam 2016

If you passed the Pre-Exam, you will need to further expand your legal knowledge and your capabilities to apply the legal knowledge in complex cases (DI legal questions, DII legal advice) to such a degree that you can score at least 45 or 50 marks within 5 hours.

If you prepared really well for the Pre-Exam, and you can expect to have passed with 40 marks or more for the legal part (based on comparison with answers posted by, e.g., on our Pre-Exam blog), you can probably postpone your further study until May/June. We provide a 4-day Legal Refresher course at our course venue in Eindhoven and in Munich to kick-off your further D preparation.

If you passed the Pre-Exam but your Basic Legal knowledge was not really at such a level that you can step up the next level (legal score below 40) and get confidence that you will be at main D level in less than a year from now,  we also suggest that you participate in the 8-day Basic Legal Training, first course group starting in March (20- 23 April, 18 - 19 June and 14 - 15 September) at our course venue in Eindhoven (NL) to provide you the Basic Legal background and practice for your main exam preparation. Some details are given above.

If you failed the Pre-Exam (hopefully not!), we also suggest our 8-day Basic Legal Training (leaflet), given in 3 blocks of 4, 2 and 2 days at our course venue in Eindhoven (NL) to provide you the Basic Legal background and practice for your pre-Exam preparation. Some details are given above.

If you failed the D exam and want to resit the D paper in 2016, you probably need some further training as to Basic Legal knowledge (typically, if you scored below 15 for the DI-part), D-level legal knowledge (typically, if you scored below 25 for the DI-part), or EQE Exam Training (if you scored below 25 for the DI-part, and/or if you scored below 30 for the DII-part).

If you plan to sit any of the main exam papers in 2016, we offer:
    • an 8-day Basic Legal Training (leaflet) (in 3 blocks of 4, 2 and 2 days) at our course venue in Eindhoven (NL) to provide you the Basic Legal background and practice, which you can then develop further using courses from our Main Exam training program and/or our Main Exam material. For the 8-day basic Legal Training, all material and tuition is provided in English; a first course group is scheduled to start already late March (20- 23 April, 18 - 19 June and 14 - 15 September) and allows main exam 2015 candidates to complete the Basic Legal Course before enrolling in the main exam methodology courses, and
    • starting as from May with Advanced D Legal Training (in the Netherlands; in English); if you cannot participate in this training, do our new  4-day Legal Refresher course at our course venue in Eindhoven and in Munich to kick-off your further D preparation, and -preferably after our 3-day D methodology course- practice exam-style questions from the Main Exam Questions book.
    • Methodology Courses for all papers (ABand D) as from September in the Netherlands as well as at course locations all across Europe (English; for C and D: in English, German and French),
    • Guided Exam courses (ABand D) in December/January, in English and -for D also- German, and
    • our correction paper program for all papers  (ABand D) (in English and, for C and D, German);
  • be invited to check our Training Material (Q&A Books, Methodology Books, our Model Solutions) for the main exam papers, which can be ordered via our webshop.

More information and enrolment

An overview as well as the details of all courses can be found on our website under "Training".

Registration forms (Pre-Exammain exam papers and integrated courses in the Netherlands) and policy are provided on the website itself and in the brochures on the website.

If you enrol to a main exam course before having received your pre-exam results, but you unluckily failed the pre-exam and you inform us within one week after having received your pre-exam grade, you can defer your participation in the enrolled courses with a year, so you can follow the main exam course after resitting the pre-exam.

Hope to see you in one or more of our courses!
And hope you will not only study hard, but will also enjoy your preparation with us!

Appendix: Appetizer

As an appetizer and incentive to make you start studying early -- and to timely register for one of our courses --, we already provide a possible question for the Pre-Exam 2016:

Question 0 of Pre-Exam 2016

An applicant filed a European patent application EP-A on Friday 21 February 2014. EP-A was published together with the European search report in August 2015. The applicant forgot to timely pay the examination fee and received a loss-of-rights communication dated 17 February 2016.

For each of statements 0.1 – 0.4, indicate on the answer sheet whether the statement is true or false:

0.1 This is the first time ever that an EQE exam paper is taken on a leap-day.
0.2 The last day to perform further processing in respect of the time limit for 
       requesting examination is 27 April 2016.
0.3 The due date for payment of the renewal fee in respect of the third year is today.
0.4 The last day to pay the renewal fee together with an additional 50% is Monday 29 August 2016.

When can you expect to get your results?

Many candidates ask use when the results and the Examiner's report will become available. We do not know - you can try with the Exam Secretariat to get an indication. But this is how it was in 2014:

Results Pre-Exam 2014

In 2014, the results and the Examiner's report with the official answer became available last week of March (on this and this page resp.), and the official results letters were dated 28 March 2014 (at least for the candidates that appealed in cases D3/14, D4/14 - I assume for all).
See e.g. our blog posts "Pre-Exam 2014 statististics", "How did Pre-Exam 2013 do at the Main Exam 2014?"

Update 1 April 2015: the Examiner's report for Pre-Exam 2015 was put online at the end of Thu 19 March, the list of results was put online shortly before 11:00 am on Fri 20 March, and the results letters were send on 27 March 2015 to the candidates. Examiner's report and results are extensively discussed on our blog with comments from many candidates.

Results Main Exam 2014

In 2014, the results of the main exam papers were published in the EPO website on 11 July 2014 (as a list of EQE registration number and scores on this page), and the Examiner's Reports for the main exam papers on 23 July 2014 (on the Compendium pages).
See e.g. our earlier blog posts "EQE 2014 results available online - and some statistics" "First results Paper C EQE 2014" and  "First Results Paper D 2014".

EQE 2015: please feel invited to comments to our blogs on the exam papers

DeltaPatents provides the following blogs for the various papers of EQE 2015. 

Each blog links to a copy of the paper (in English, French and German) and has the key ingredients of our solution as well as our further comments. All blogs are open for comments from EQE 2015 candidates and tutors that helped candidates prepare for EQE 2015.

Candidates and tutors are invited to add their comments and (agreeing or dissenting) opinions to our blogs in any official EPO language - you can comment in English, French or German. We will answer in English to further facilitate the discussion among all contributors.

  • DeltaPatents EQE Pre-Exam blog: paper (in all three languages), first impressions, our solution and many comments from and discussion with/among candidates on the legal as well as the claims analysis parts;
     Main Exam
The reader is also invited to read and contribute to our other blogs on other (European) patent related topics:
Please feel invited to join the discussions at our blogs!

And... do not forget to read any comments posted to this blog!!!

NB: For preparation for EQE 2016's Pre-Exam or main exam papers, refer to this other post and our website (EQE courses and webshop).

Strict rules of conduct for the exam (update)

I have now received a clear confirmation of the policy during the exam regarding electronic devices from the EQE secretariat:

Electronic devices are strictly forbidden in the examination hall, no matter if they are turned off or not.
Any candidate found with such a device in the hall is clearly breaching the regulations, and he/she might face disqualification from the exam.
The only electronic devices which may be allowed in the examination hall are medical devices that candidates need for health reasons.
We recommend that candidates leave their mobile phone at their hotels if they are travelling.
There are no cloakrooms at the examination centre, however we will provide envelopes (you will have to write your name on it) where the device can be placed and it will be put in a box.
The box will be outside of the examination hall. Neither the Examination centres nor the Examination Secretariat  will take any responsibility for loss or damage to the items stored in this box.
This is probably not the solution that you wanted, but this is becoming common practice for exams. A simple watch with an analogue dial is the only thing you can have with you.

So either leave them all at home, or in the hotel, or car, or in train station locker.

Our FREE printable versions of the PCT Applicants Guide - available now for EQE2015

We make a condensed and consolidated printable PCT Applicants Guide [850 pages] to take to the exam instead of the official WIPO version [1800 pages].

See here

Known errors in our May 2014 Question books

For the May 2014 versions, we have made an overview of the most important corrections and amendments.

The known errors in the Basic Legal Questions are here
These are the errors in the Main Exam Questions 

 Please let us know if anything is not clear.

Strict rules of conduct for the exam

We have heard from some candidates that the CEIPI tutors are warning that the some of the exam regulations are to be very strictly applied this year and in the future.

If you have any further questions, you can ask the EQE secretariat at

See here for the full post