Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Information on the schedule for the EQE 2021 examination papers

"Information on the schedule for the EQE 2021 examination papers" has been published in the EQE website today.

It indicates that:

"The EQE 2021 exam schedule is now available. Candidates are advised that the document may be subject to minor changes as testing continues.

The EQE 2021 will take place online using LockDown Browser. On examination days, candidates are advised to log on to the online examination system's internet platform at least 20 minutes before the start of the relevant paper.

Information on how to register and log on to the online examination system will be communicated in due course.

The pre-examination and both papers C and D will be split into parts. This means that candidates will not be free to allocate their time as they see fit across the different parts of the papers. To compensate for this restriction, the total duration of the relevant papers has been extended. Once the time allowed for a part has elapsed, it will not be possible to go back to that part."

The details for each of the Pre-Exam and main exam papers are given in the document.

The document comprises detailed schedules as to the break-up of the Pre-Exam, C and D papers into two or more parts, with scheduled breaks in between the parts. It indicates that once the time allowed for a part has lapsed, it will not be possible to go back to that part. 

The Pre-Exam is broken into 4 parts: the legal part of the paper is split into two parts of 5 questions (4 statement each), and the claims analysis part is also split into two pars of 5 questions each.

Paper A and B are in one part.

Paper C is split into two parts.

Paper D has two breaks:The DI is split into two parts, each part having 3 questions (2 x 25 marks) and one DII part (50 marks). 

Candidates in the Pre-Exam and Paper D would thus not have the possibility anymore to freely decide on the order in which they do the various parts and questions (2 legal parts and 2 claims analysis parts for Pre-Exam; 2 DI parts and 1 DII part for D). The total duration of these papers has been extended to compensate for the resulting restrictions. 

Good luck!

Please feel free to provide your comments below. (You may need to check the "Problems with commenting" link on the top left of this webpage.)

The document (dated 2 December 2020; check the EQE website for possible updates) is shown below:









215 comments:

  1. I'm glad that we can print substantially all of Paper C, but I'm going to struggle badly without a printed version of DII.

    Also, splitting the exams into different timed sections will feel like doing 2 or 3 exams in one day. Not looking forward to this at all

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  2. "Paper C will have the same syllabus and character as before, but it will be split
    into two parts"

    How can this be true if you can't go back and change part 1 of your answer? In the past Paper C has been fluid in that you can do what you want, when you want, doing a technique that you want.

    It seems like now they want us to do specific sections first, or do one specific approach to the paper without telling us what or how?

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    Replies
    1. I agree - I always start attacking the claims I feel most comfortable first and that is not necessarily claims 1 to 3.

      It is very unfair on candidates this year if they cannot change their answer mid way through (even though they are still within the time frame).

      It is the same with paper D, you may come across some law whilst answering another question which helps you in an earlier question.

      My point is that previous candidates are allowed to change their answers but candidates this year will be stripped from that. It is not the same exam anymore and actually put candidates this year at a huge disadvantage.

      Delete
    2. I totaly agree too, furthermore having the claims in paper format is essential for my solution method. It does not make any sense that these are not allowed to be printed out but anything else. I hope they will adjust accordingly.

      Delete
  3. I also don't understand how paper C can feasibly be split into 2 separate parts, with more documents available for the 2nd part, without changing the format of the exam.

    Will we have different prior art to consider for the 2nd part, or different claims, or a completely different patent to oppose?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will be interesting to see how they make the two parts for C. I can imagine many things. Two mini-papers as in our Pre-Exam claims paper in 2019? A second part that builds upon the first part?

      If I were to draft the paper, I would use a single patent for both parts:

      - in the first part, claims 1 - 3 can be attacked on, e.g., novelty and extension of subject-matter. Thus, attacks for which you need 0 or 1 document, and maybe 1 for definitions or common general knowledge;

      - in the second part, a new independent claim plus 2 dependent claims, and 2 new prior art documents, to do a novelty attack of a new kind using 1 document on the independent claim, and for inventive step on one or two of the other claims.

      It would then not be a disadvantage compared to old exams: in the first attacks, you only need to consider 3 rather than 6 prior art documents (which you would get if you would get them all at once); in the second attacks, you know that they cannot be influenced by an error in the first attacks.

      I hate uncertainty as much as any one else, but let us also try to see the possible benefits of the new exam setup!

      Delete
  4. Two observations:
    1)- At least now we know the distribution of DI and DII that it is 50-50.
    2)- I also don't understand this C-1 and C-2... though not mention but as time is equally divided, so C-1 and C-2 both worth 50 marks each. It maybe then two patents to oppose for each C-1 and C-2.
    At the end, EPO loves for creating/keeping some confusions continues :)

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    Replies
    1. Is not every exam a surprise? I also had no clue what would be tested in my pre-exam of 2019, not legal not claims. Isn't it part of good exam design to be not too predictable? I hope that the split of C into two makes it less difficult, rather than more difficult, for example if it is like my scenario above (Anonymous 3 December 2020 at 15:32). Fingers crossed, as for any exam, but I am not going to worry more than I usually do with exams.

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  5. For me, the Paper C change is not a good one because it is new and we already have a lot of new things to do with. It probably means you will know you did part I wrong or right when you see Part II, but you will not be able to change your mistakes in Part I.

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  6. This is absolutely terrible. Paper DII heavily relies on annotating the text - how can we do this online. Why are candidates being disadvantaged by not being able to go back and change their answer to the earlier part -

    Don't get me started on A, B and C. No breaks for A and B but C is split into multiple sections - many may start from the latter claims first and then work backwards.

    This is completely unfair compared to previous years - can we appeal.

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  7. DII really needs a printed version. You can't keep all those dates in your head or on screen and answer the question - its impossible!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that we need a paper version. We need to be able to highlight, annotate, draw arrows, insert comments, ... And if we do not get a paper copy or the possibility to print, can we at least have a pdf edfitor that allow to do that on the screen?

      But I am not going to keep any dates in my head. I will, as I did when practicing so far, make a timeline to keep track of the dates and the events. On paper, of a large size, so that I have ample space for dates and information.

      Delete
  8. Why do pre-EQE need so many breaks but nothing given for A and B which are equally as long. Baffling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No breaks for Paper A and B which are over 4 hours long - they are breaking some national law which does require screen breaks if exams are done online.

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    2. It says: "Candidates may take unscheduled breaks"

      Delete
  9. I don't think they have given enough printing time. Some candidates will be doing it in the offices and there may be several candidates taking the EQEs. They can't all queue up at the printer station.

    It will require longer than 10 minutes to print the EQE papers - these changes stink and it looks like it will heavily penalize canidates this year.

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  10. It seems pretty bad to me that the printing is quite limited...e.g., one cannot print the claims in Part C, the client's letter in Part A and so on.

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  11. These changes make absolutely NO SENSE whatsoever. What is the point in allowing some parts of the paper to be printed off 10 minutes before the exam start but not on other bits. ITS ONLY 10 MINUTES BEFORE THE EXAM - surely candidates can print the whole thing off. I don't understand- its silly and candidates are put at a massive disadvantages. Can we appeal like someone mentioned above.

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  12. I would rather have no breaks in Paper D than change the format in this way. Am i alone in this? Of course, my eyes will hurt alot though.

    I don't understand why they can't just block you from typing in the browser during a break? Why does it need to be separated in this artificial way?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its ridiculous. The EPO supervisory board has proposed changes that are detrimental to candidates this year. You are asking candidates to tackle the papers in a substantially different way to what is taught/known. For example in DII, dates are so easily missed on a computer screen with so many text to read. Reading ONLINE is very difficult. They clearly have not thought this through.

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  13. Definitely need to file an appeal - these changes are not fair for candidates this year.

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  14. I really don't understand why pre-EQE exam are given so many breaks but nothing given for A and B which are more demanding exams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah - I don't undersstand. pre-EQE candidates have 4 breaks in between but the EQEs have barely any. None for A and B, D and C have a few. This makes no sense.

      This is before you even start reading about what to print and what you can't print, what is made available and not available. Why can't you go back and change you answers to the first part even though it is the same paper. It is TERRIBLE.

      Delete
    2. At a guess the sheer length of the exams mean that not much time can be given over to breaks.

      Delete
  15. So they have almost a year to sort out the EQEs and they've come up with this. Complicated set of changes that don't make any sense in the real world and is also very confusing. This will badly affect candidates this year.

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  16. The exams are a complete whole day - how unfair is that. This changes alot - we need to keep ourselves topped up throughout the whole day. I really don't like these changes. Have they consulted this with any candidates/other EPA members.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Its clear that all methods CEIPI or Delta Patents, JDD and other courses have taught will not be much use in this new format. DII - completely don't know what to do with it now.

    I don't understand how C can be split into two parts but you can't change the other part. Don't understand. The techniques taught by these courses are not going to be effective this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CEIPI and Delta Patent methods probably won't work this year. Its completely different now.

      Delete
    2. Have you been in our courses? If not, then please do not post comments as to whether our courses will be effective or not.
      If you would have been in them, you would have seen that (substantially) all our techniques do still work. The only thing that does not work is the annotation of the papers - but that can be reasonably well covered by our techniques and tools.
      Annotating the paper itself is a very powerful and useful tool, it is a pity that that will not be possible (unless the pdf viewer allows annotation (!)). Annotation can to a large extent (but not fully) be replaced by keeping a list of key words/subjects with a reference to the paragraph in the paper.
      As however, "Paper [A/B/C/D] will have the same syllabus and character as before", all tools work well and the papers can be done with the same techniques. E.g., for Paper D, our timeline in our timeline format and our checklists of various types do not rely on annotation and are the most important tool when doing a DII.
      Things certainly will be different, some in your advantage and some in your disadvantage. But most importantly: "Paper [A/B/C/D] will have the same syllabus and character as before"!

      Delete
    3. By the way, some candidates from our courses have "simulated" an online D exam by using a pdf viewer and an editor. They indicated some pros and cons.

      Main positive for DI as well as DII: easier to make additions are changes to your answer, as you can easily insert and do not need to rewrite everything.
      Main negative in DII: if you try to also do the timeline and your tools in a single answer file (assuming that you can not see multiple parts of it at the same time), it will be a nightmare: you need to scroll all the time to find some information and loose track completely.
      Other positive in DII: you can do the timeline and the tools on paper, so that the DII methodology is largely unchanged - you can keep the tools side-by-side all the time, which is an essential element for doing DII.
      Other negative in DII: you cannot keep different parts of your answer side-by-side.

      The breaking up of the D paper in parts, without the possibility to change the answers from the completed parts, also has pros and cons. Until and including 2012, the D paper was composed of a 3-hour DI in the morning and a 4-hour DII in the afternoon, with a DI-handin at the end of the morning session. That had the advantage that all candidates had the full design time available for DII, without the risk of taking too much time for DI and cannibalizing the DII time. In 2013, when the first 5 hours single-paper DI+DII was held, many candidates had severe time management problems as they did use too much time for DI and then had way too little time fir the DII. As of 2014/2015 candidates were starting to take advantage of being able to manage their time over the full 5 (later 5,5) hours, and postponed difficult DI questions to the end and/or skipped DI questions to get more time for DII. That has been said to result in a poorer DI preparation, and to improve on that, the DI:DII ratio was made variable. The 2021 exam will have an in-between: the ratio is un unknown anymore, but is already known to be 50:50, whereas the flexibility to allocate time to questions and parts is limited similar to 2012 and before. That lack of flexibility has been compensated for by additional time for DI as well as for DII. I do not know all considerations that led to this decision, but splitting the D into 3 parts seems a good compromise for me, which allows enough breaks in the 6-hour "true playing time".
      While some complain that some papers have more beaks than others, I think eh picture is different if you look at it from a different perspective: if you assume that there should be as many breaks as possible, preferably every 1,5 hour or so, but also do not want to have the risk that information can be leaked, shared, obtained during the breaks, you may conclude that the time schedules and the choice as to what you can print is very reasonable. It of course depends on the boundary conditions/requirements what it then results in exactly, but to me the schedules seem fair.

      Please continue to submit your comments, critical, negative and positive as well. Critical and negative comments may result in some adaptations, but there seems to be too little time to expect significant changes from what is now presented. Some positive views on the choices made may be helpful for all, and some tips as to how to overcome the disadvantages as good as possible are also very welcome.

      It would also be appreciated if you can use your name, or otherwise a nickname, rather than posting all your comments anonymously.

      Delete
  18. I think whoever thought it was a good idea to do this press release needs to put out some further communication on paper C URGENTLY.

    Should we all stop practicing until the EQE tell us how they are going to format their papers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't even now how to practice any of these papers, especially for D and C. These changes just doesn't work.

      Delete
  19. I've actually tried doing papers A, B, C and D online as practice. I can tell you from experience that it is impossible to do any of these papers online without any scribbling on the claims, or highlighting parts of the questions e.g. in D.

    For A and B - you need to be able to print claims off and letter to highlight main things on the paper and then highlight things on the text. Its the same for C.

    For DII - you really need to print it off to highlight dates and issues.

    These are methods that have been taught over the years but candidates this year will have to develop a new system. I think there is going to be a very high failure rate.

    Having done a few practice papers for each paper - I've found it so difficult to stare at the screen (even with breaks) and pick up main issues, dates, effects, definitions, spotting errors in claims for Paper B etc... It is impossible to do this over 4 days (with each day lasting between 4 to 7 hours).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I think a lot of us are assuming that the examiners will simply go easy on the examinees this go-round.

      Delete
    2. "For DII - you really need to print it off to highlight dates and issues"

      Highlighting is indeed very useful in the DII, as it is in the DI.
      But in our approach, dates are collected in a timeline with the relevant information and the paper is made using that timeline. Likewise are issues collected in a list on (half a) page, so that you have a clear overview. Scattered information, without or with highlighting, is inefficient.

      So yes, it is a difficulty and pity that the DII cannot be printed, but it is not an absolute necessity to highlight dates and issues.

      As in the DI. You can copy the complete DI question in your answer, and then you can use boldface, underline and italics. As a DI question is short, as is its answer, that may work well and may be a reasonable alternative to marking on a paper copy (It works less well in a DII because that ahs many pages; but it may be done there too - the exam committee may see many copies of the papers in the answers...)

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    3. Thanks Roel, but what you are suggesting is still a fundamental change to the approaches many have taken.

      I also don't see anywhere that say you are allowed your own paper to write on. I assume that is the case but what if you want to hand in your timeline as this is where you will be plotting most of your information.

      Writing it out on paper and then writing it on the editor again takes a tremendous amount of time and I don't think 3 hours is enough.

      Delete
    4. It was like that with the paper EQE: you could bring any paper material and use it, but you could not hand it in. You could only hand-in on EQE lined paper. Now you can only hand=in via the editor.

      It is confirmed in the FAQ for the e-EQE:
      https://www.epo.org/learning/eqe/faq.html

      “What text editor will be used?
      The text editor is a simple tool for text entry with basic formatting functions (underlining, bold, italic, bullets and numbering).

      Will copy/paste be possible?
      Copy/paste will be possible in the editor, so you will be able to copy and paste parts of the text which you have written yourself in the text editor. Copy/paste will also be possible from any text part of the examination paper.

      Will I be allowed to write my answer on paper and scan and upload it afterwards?
      No, you will have to type your answers using the editor provided in the locked browser. It will not be possible to scan and upload your answers.

      Will I be allowed to make notes on paper?
      Yes, you will be allowed to make notes on paper, but they cannot form part of your answer.

      Will I be allowed to switch to writing on paper if I don't feel comfortable with the PC?
      No, you have to type your answer using the editor provided in the locked browser.”

      By the way, there is no need to hand-in the timeline and your checklists. So, do not retype them in your answer!
      But make sure there is no accidental marks on your timeline on in your checklists, such as a time limit calculation or a bvrief legal conclusion

      Delete
    5. "there is no need to hand-in the timeline

      You can check the compendium: none of the possible solutions for DII and none of the candidate answers for DII have a time line in it. "A mere copying of facts does not attract any marks", it often says in the Examiners Report.

      You can do your timeline ONLY on paper (and not hand it in)!

      Delete
    6. Thanks Roel. I think DI seems fair but for DII, I am a little worried about not being able to highlight important texts. The obvious way around this is to put more information on your timeline. The problem I can see is that you will spend more time doing this as it will be hard to keep referring back to texts online (scrolling up and down will be hard).

      I do not know if 3 hours will be sufficient. This is my only concern. It does require a change in my practice.

      Delete
    7. Do you check the original paper frequently when you are writing your answer (I mean, what you were used to do with a printed copy of the paper)? Or do you (almost) fully rely on the timeline and the checklists? Our methodology for D is much like the latter: summarize the facts in the tools such that you have them in a clearly digestible and organized manner, with the possibility to check in the paper, e.g. if some detail has been lost or forgotten. We check the paper before answering a next question, but that is again "one-directional" reading and adding info to your tools. The major loss would be that we also underline/indicate the information used, on the paper copy - so that you can see that some info is not yet used: that part of the methodology will be lost if you cannot annotate the paper.

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    8. Hi Roel - When I tackle DII, I highlight dates, annotate on the parts where the novelty/inventive step points are for each application/patents. I also often write issues next to the text so that I can refer back to the text to solve the queries.

      I also often highlight and annotate the requirements and needs of a client such as their request for selling in an EP state.

      You can theoretically add all of this onto your timeline but then the overload of information can get muddled in your timeline so I found it best to highlight part of the text and then put a key in my timeline and go back to the text.

      This is easily done on paper as you turn the page, it will be slightly more difficult to constantly refer back to the online version via scrolling up and down. I would also miss issues because I can't annotate the paper in a way that makes me see these issues. Sure, I can write these issues on a paper/timelines but it will take time. So my worry is again, the time it takes to add more information on a timeline this year vs answering the question.

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    9. I basically don't think 3 hours is enough compensation for not being allowed a paper copy of DII.

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    10. Donot get me wrong: I would also really prefer a paper copy! To annotate as you do! But if it is not there, there is a way to kind of get the same info in not too much extra time. You may wish to check the Annotated Timeline in our model solutions for DII, and our checklists: you can make them efficiently and do not or hardly need to refer back to the paper after you made them (after some practice).

      By the way, it is 3 hours for 50 marks, so for a part that was designed for 2,5 hours: 20% extra time. The earlier exams were 60-mark DIIs for 3 hours. SO there is some headroom!

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    11. I would also have appreciated if I could print part of my answer. I so regularly compare different pages of my answer in the DII, e.g. to check whether I have addressed similar steps when discussing a similar but differnt application and to compare the results - those consistency checks will be more difficult if you cannot see two parts of your answer side-by-side.

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    12. Thanks Roel, I guess I will just have to change my practice and adapt. I suspect alot of my colleagues are in a similar boat of trying to adapt.

      I also forgot about the 2.5 hours for 50 marks and 3 hours for 60 marks so I hope that makes a difference. Thanks for pointing it out. Unfortunately, all the recent past DII papers have been for 60 marks so there is not really a marker out there for candidates to see/know what a 50 mark question would look like. This might be why so many of us are seriously worried about the time given for DII this year.

      Delete
  20. TO take away the ability of candidates to go back to their earlier part of the question is in my view totally unjust and unfair. I certainly concur that the EQE 2021 candidates will be much worse off than previous year.

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  21. These new changes have probably increase stress and anxiety levels for EQE 2021 candidates this year. These are fundamental changes to the examination process and many will not be prepared/equipped or feel comfortable with these changes (which don't make much sense).

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    1. Yes, not to mention many EQE candidates have likely been working from cramped homes for months and juggling small families and revision all while not leaving the house, and now, because there is not enough to deal with... a substantial change to the Exams that makes absolutely no sense to anyone.

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    2. Yes, these factors need to be factored in. Many will have small families or needed to have looked after an elderly member of the family. These are very difficult times and I feel the EPO has added more stresses and anxiety onto the EQE 2021 candidates it was is already a very very difficult year for everyone.

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    3. EPO (and in general the patent profession) must care + provide more support for their fellow professional members. It doesn't have to be this heartless.

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    4. My stress was very high before this Information was published, as "nothing" was know. Now stress is different, but still temporally high as the Information shows that the exam will be different from what it was before. But the Information also shows that syllabus and character of the papers are unchanged. And the Information shows whether and how the papers will be split in parts, so we can now see to what extent they are real changes and to what extent we need adjustments in our preparation. Whether the changes are a substantial change or are merely adjustments depends not only on objective information but also on personal perception, character and circumstances. Also in normal years, some consider the exam unfair, hard, immoral due to lack of social life in the weeks or months before. Candidates never know the content and difficulty of the exams beforehand, in that respect it is not different. For D we had the uncertainty that maybe DI would be even 60 marks! Luckily we know already now that it is 50. Different does not necessarily mean that it is in our disadvantage. We also do not want to pass as the "covid-19 attorneys", we need an exam of the same difficulty as every other year. I showed the schedule to my wife, she asked what the issue was, and why we get breaks in some papers. That made me see the positive side: reenergize between DI and DII! A break within this terribly long C! Typing the answers rather than writing the answers - and having to learn to write legible again... There is no interest of the EQE to make it all more difficult to us than needed to have an exam of usual difficulty, so I will (try to) have confidence and faith in all organizers. And to respond to a comment I saw elsewhere in this blog: I would not know a better way, except from putting one European patent attorney during the whole exam side-by-side to 1-4 candidates with all material printed. But that will probably not be feasible in terms of manpower and in some geographical areas, as we also still need to be covid-19 robust so no travel and keeping distance.

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    5. Hi Anonymous 3 December 2020 at 17:58, thanks for sharing your causes stress and ALSO the relief that this Information gave. As a tutor, I have gone through similar emotions, and I now appreciate the information more than that I am stressed and worried about the missing info. It clarifies that there are some essential changes that we will address in our further courses, but mostly comforts me as a (Pre-Exam and D) tutor that the disadvantages of splitting parts have been compensated by additional time. Whereas some candidates see big differences, I feel comforted by the "same syllabus and same character" statements. Moreover, for D it is very helpful that the uncertainty about the DI:DII ratio has now been taken away. The lack of free allocation of time (or rather, the limited freedom) will need attention, from candidates and from tutors. But the extra time per part gives quite some room. (Some candidates would have been worse off with a 60:40 DI:DII with free allocation of time than with the current limietd freedom but extra time; others would have benefited of a single 5,5-hour session). I am quite OK with the resulting schedules, for Pre-Exam and D. Some of you may disagree, but I do not immediately see why it would need to be disadvantageous for candidates compared to a single 4-hour session for Pre-Exam and a single 5,5-hour session for D, especially also in view of the timing: still 3 months to the exam, so candidates (and tutors in supporting them) can prepare for the new circumstances while not requiring really wild changes, in my view. And after all, it is not the free choice of the EQE organisation to make changes to the exam, it is due to covid-19 hitting all of us and our dear ones hard, and we all now need to find a way to make the best of it while being in this shitty situation and to allow all candidates, anywhere in Europe (and maybe even outside) to sit the exam in a safe, robust and fair way.

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  22. I just cannot continue practicing any of the EQE papers until I know what's going on. These new guidelines have only just confused me even more. It is impossible to do DII on the screen. You can absorb that amount of information on the screen. You might as well play Russian roulette on the day and hope for the best.

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  23. I've seen and experienced at first hand how badly the PEB got it wrong in the lead up to the October examination. They've caused a significant amount of stress and anxiety for many candidates before the exams. The PEBX system was eventually successful but there is no doubt my mind that a lot of damage was done before the exam with all the uncertainty, changes and added complexities.

    It is clear that the EPO has not learnt those lessons from the PEB. All they are doing is creating more complexity and added stress to an already very difficult period.

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  24. Reading paper A and paper B online is very difficult on the eyes. They really need to allow candidates to print.

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  25. It is much more difficult to read online and I suspect that many candidates will miss alot more things and probably there will be more errors.

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  26. It says Paper C will be in its current format. Everybody knows that a large of Paper C is reading prior art documents etc... first. Therefore, you will have to read claims, client letter, opposed patent and 6/7 different prior art documents before you start answering the question. We are only given 3 hours in the first part without changing it after the time finishes.

    You can only start attacking claims once you've read the documents. I do not understand how it will be possible to do all of this and attack the first few claims in the first 3 hours.

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    1. Totally agreee. We've had many months (for some of us, e.g. EQE2020 candidates, maybe years...) to develop a method we're comfortable with for paper C. And now it can't be used anymore (personally, I start writing at about the 2 hr mark in paper C...).
      We'll have barely 2 months and a half to develop a new method for C (hoping that they'll make us test the platform early January), and candidates that sit also the other papers will have to develop in the same time also new methods for other papers (DII in particular). This is ridiculous

      Delete
  27. Does anybody have an idea how to install and test LockDown Browser?
    Will EPO announce the download link later or is each candidate supposed to contact to the software supplier/subscribe for the free trial?
    We have only three months left to try the testing environment.
    But still the instruction is not clear.
    Are we supposed to wait or to act individually?

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  28. Not able to print the key-parts of the exam and only using one screen (see FAQ). This means, working on a small laptop screen with two documents open. This brings an enormous burden and challenge for the candidates. Just let us print the whole exam, or the use of a second (work) screen.

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    Replies
    1. I guess(hope) that we may use the laptop process unit and project the screen only to the second screen

      Delete
    2. I also hope this is possible.

      I think the Problem is, that the LockDown Browser has to Run Maximised. But if you have another screen open, then you could run a second browser on the other screen. Thereofore you are not allowed to have a second screen.

      I also hope strongly that closing the lid counts as removing the first screen. If not, I'll have to buy a Desktop PC over Christmas.

      Delete
    3. Why would a closed lid and an externally connected 24" 16:9 screen not count as 1 screen? Are you not inventing problems? That is a common setup when using a docking station, but also when directly connecting a screen.
      If you want to know, send an email to the EQE helpdesk and they most likely will address it in a next version of the FAQ.

      Delete
    4. I do not understand the one-screen restriction. What issue does it solve? I see no risk in using two screens (as long as they need to be connected by a cable, and not via Chromecast, LAN, WiFi or alike to the room nextdoor). It may be a hardware/system limitation of the locked browser? Or?

      Delete
    5. Agree with you, Roel. I do not see why there should a problem if the additional screen just duplicates the screen of the laptop, either.
      Marc

      Delete
  29. In my opinion, they are making things even more complicated. Not only we need to adapt to doing it online, they are even changing the structure of the exam putting the candidates under even more stress.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Why the hell aren't we allowed to print the whole exams just before the start of the examination? Why are they making this whole situtaion such complicated for the candidates? How should we tackle D2 without being able to highlight/make annotations (this will not be possible in the locked browser according to the current information)? It's a bad joke.

    ReplyDelete
  31. It makes absolutely no sense to split paper D in three parts. We can do paper A in 4 hours without a scheduled break and also paper B in 3.5 hours without a break, yet part 1 of paper D has to be split in 2 parts?? That makes absolutely no sense and puts candidates at a huge disadvantage.

    ReplyDelete
  32. If the format of paper C does not change, it is crucial for me to have access to the information I would have collected in the first part (feature analysis) to set up the attacks of the second part. From my perspective the planned breaks are the main issue since these are responsible for the splitting of the parts and the restricted printing capabilities. I hope that the Board will consider this again and remove the breaks. Let´s pray and/or cross fingers....

    ReplyDelete
  33. I don't think it is too bad for DI. I never have time to go back to a question even if I wanted to. I much rather have 30 minutes extra to answer the question properly and have time to double check while answering.
    I tried DII without annotation: you need to put much more details in your time-line, which is a lot of work. I just hope 3 hours will be enough.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have to say these news are extremely frustrating.

    In our jobs, as examiners or attorneys, we deal with complex and detailed information and are not supposed to overlook things. The way everybody deals with that is by printing, highlighting, annotating... All this uncertainty about the exam, and we don’t even know how this PDF viewer is going to look like! Ok we are not allowed to print, can we at least highlight?? Can we add comments??

    Seriously, I am really trying to simply accept what is coming and reformulate my strategy. But to know what is NOT possible does not help to create a new strategy, we also need to know what IS possible. Time management is an issue in this exam and we all have to practice before. That’s a fact. Why is the task force not considering this??

    The news about paper C are in my view the most difficult to handle. In the past years, C was about preparation, taking very slow steps at the beginning, prepare the tools, carefully check the dates, what is being said where, and then (only then!) start attacking the claims, like a puzzle.

    Now what we know is that C will have 2 parts, each one having 3 hours. What does that even mean??? What are we supposed to deliver after the first 3 hours? It does not look like we could follow the same plan and the time will simply stop without the possibility of coming back. Note that the announcement says: “the documents allowed for printing will be made available aprox. ten minutes before the start of each part”. This clearly means that we will have access to different documents for each part. Seriously, this changes everything. This is by no means the same style. What an uncertainty, this is frustrating.

    I don’t understand why are they changing everything… they could keep the exam exactly the same by simply allowing 1 time printing and having the printer in front of the camera! Why this whole re-structuration of the exam? It is necessary to have some respect for the commitment and investment of the candidates doing the EQE. If they want a new exam structure, fine, but the transition has to be slow. It is absolutely insane to add so many changes all together. And worse, to inform the candidates about each change in homeopathic doses in the months before the exam.

    I hope we get more information about the PDF viewer and paper C in the next days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only can imagine that you had several independent claims and, for example, the first will be in the first 3 hours, and the attacks for the second and third in the second 3 hours. Moreover, I think that they will not use the same documents, for example, for Part I A2,A3,A4 A5, and for Part II A2,A4,A5,A6. That is the only logical way I can imagine

      Delete
    2. They will need to make it clear which prior art documents would be relevant for each section OR limit those documents purely for those claims. Otherwise, candidates will have to read all of the materials and then start to attack. It will be far too much time spent reading in the first 3 hours.

      Delete
    3. I interpret "The first part is to be completed before the break, with the second part only becoming available after the break." such that the first part will only come with prior art needed for that part (why would they confuse you with prior art that is not needed at all; it is possible, but does not seem likely, does it?), and that the second part may come with additional prior art for that second part. Whether the prior art from the first part is/may also be needed for answering the second part is not clear from this text, but will -I assume- be clear when you see the second part. Does not that sound like a reasonable educated guess?

      Delete
    4. Also in view of the later sentence "The documents allowed for printing will be made available approximately ten minutes before the start of EACH part".

      Delete
    5. My guess is as good as yours Roel but its still a guess. We do not know for certain. I hope they move quickly to clarify.

      Delete
    6. I agree. But I tried to clarify that choices can be made that are workable and that serve a purpose, so that there may be opportunities and not just risks. We will need to see, Mr or Mrs Anonymous.

      Delete
  35. I see 3 different ways, how to split paper C.

    1) One Large Case Part 1: you get the clients letter and the bibliographical data of the documents. --> So judge on the useability of the documents and do the Art. 123 (2) Part2: You get also the text and fig's of the documents. Now you can do novelty and inventive step.

    2) Two separate cases with fewer claims. totally independent

    3) Two separate cases with a connection. E.G Second patent is a Divisional of the first one which has also been granted. So you know already the "topic"

    any further Ideas on how to split?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I opt for 1) or 3). Both reflect the old format (often only few prior art docs are candidates for novelty attack, so now you do not need to select those but you just get those in part 1?) and both separate concerns (multiple-document attacks only in part 2?).
      Also, I do not believe that they intend to make it more difficult. I think they aim to find a good format that is fair for all candidates and that allows a limited-length continuous period for a part of a paper, but also does not allow to cheat. Not so easy when 2000 or more people sit a paper!

      Delete
    2. I believe some variation of 2) is the most likely to happen.
      Several C papers already have 2 independent claims that are tackled separately since not only their scope is different, but they also have a different effective date.

      I hope a built-in search function gets included in the pdf reader. So many times you need to look for a very specific definition that allows you to say that THIS word in the prior art document means the same as THAT word in the claim. It's pretty annoying to have to browse again and again every prior art document on the paper version, or as many seem to do, highlight the paper with 4-6 different colors. At least that nuisance could be improved with e-EQE.

      Delete
    3. I think something like this could work but equally, how can you expect candidates to start attacking claims in just 3 hours. Its far too short.

      Delete
  36. Why are we not allowed to print to entire paper in one go? For Pre-EQE- as per the rules , being locked after answering a particular section is no help at all.. we will not be able to correct or change answers if needed? Will we have access to edit out answers within the same section? What about the calendar? Why cant we just print that out? Will the prior art documents be available prior to each case or in the long break? Having breaks scheduled in this manner and not having the freedom to go through the paper as we would like is just added stress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the last few years, the calenders have always been made available about 305 weeks before the exam, for Pre-Exam and paper D. It is indicated in the Information for paper D; it seems that they overlooked to also include that for the Pre-Exam - at least I see no reason why it would be different in view of the practice.

      Delete
    2. "Candidates will be allowed to print the prior-art documents for the claim analysis parts before the start of the APPROPRIATE part."

      Delete
    3. The rules are still not clear. Do we get 10 minutes before each section to print off the documents or just 10 minutes at the start only.

      Delete
  37. It seems the EPO need to have a chat with the UK Patent Examination Board about how to conduct the online exams. Whilst they weren't perfect, I feel that the UK exams this year were as fair as they could be - and they allowed candidates to print the full papers, tackle the questions in their desired order and take breaks as they wished within the allocated time. I think the UK exams in October proved that this works perfectly fine.

    Hopefully CIPA or PEB will get in touch with the EPO to guide them towards a fair and functionable format.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! Why not following the UK plan? They are so afraid of fraud that they prefer to change the structure of the EQE established and validated over the years for something completely new. This will be a huge disaster.

      Delete
    2. Out of curiosity: For someone not from the UK, would you mind briefly summarizing what was the structure of the online UK exams? Thanks!

      Delete
    3. Anonymous @ 10:57

      In the UK exams, a website was set up from which you could download the examination paper and a pre-formatted Word document in which to put your answer at the beginning. You had the option of printing the entire examination paper and scanning/uploading certain parts of your answer (e.g. annotated drawings in the drafting paper or claims in the infringement and validity paper).

      The exams were made longer to accommodate printing time and screen breaks, but there were no enforced breaks. No special exam or proctoring software was used, candidates were simply monitored over zoom.

      When you consider that the UK exams are closed book and the EQEs are open book, the EPO seem to be going overboard to ensure there is no malpractice.

      Delete
    4. Just to add to the above, those doing exams in the offices all sat in one room (set up like an exam hall) with a invigilator from their firm who was not their supervisor or best friend etc.

      Worked really well i though

      Delete
    5. 5 days, 2000 candidates per paper, 4 candidates per room = 5 * (2000 / 5) = 2500 supervisors all supervising a full day. Not realistic that so many want to supervise a whole day, can maybe supervise a half day each, then need 5000. That is about 1/3 of all European patent attorneys!

      Delete
  38. In what way does all of this (having a delayed exam, doing it in unusual circumstances, via a browser, in a choppped-up exam) not warrant compensatory marks at least the same as those given to examinees who had to sit the exam in cold conditions in previous years?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only some candidates were cold and given compensatory marks as they were treated unfairly compared to other candidates.

      In the present situation, we are all in the same boat.

      Delete
    2. But you can clearly argue that candidates this year are at a massive disadvantage compared to other years. There needs to be fair for candidates across the years.

      Delete
    3. There are disadvantages, but describing them as massive is a bit of an overstatement. There are also advantages, for example, many people can type significantly faster than they can (legibly) write.

      Rather than arbitrarily saying "everyone gets 10 bonus marks" now, it would be more reasonable to mark the papers as normal and lower the pass mark if the pass rate drops significantly. (Of course, playing devil's advocate, perhaps they should also raise the pass mark if the pass rate rises significantly...)

      Delete
  39. It seems that the restrictions on printing are for parts of the paper that are necessary for us to formulate an answer for the particular paper (e.g. the client letter detailing the invention in Paper A; the application, exam report, client letter and proposed amendments in Paper B; the claims that need attacking in paper C and the entire of paper D (apart from the calendar).

    I assume that this is because they don't want us to be able to start formulating a complete answer before the "official" exam start time, if we can print the permitted sections ten minutes before the start time. I don't have an issue with this, but what I would like to know is if there is an opportunity for us to print the parts of the paper that we are not allowed to print in the ten minutes preceding the official start time once the exam has started.

    We need more transparency regarding the precise nature of what is allowed to be printed (and when) as well as how Paper C is going to be split in to two parts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, and thank you for this helpful explanation!

      Delete
    2. Thats an interesting point. It would be nice if the printing-rule would apply only for printing in advance. Unfortunately... it doesn't look like this. Otherwise there would be something about it in the announcement. Lets hope, there are some good news coming...

      Delete
    3. However, you can print the other parts of the paper and read them (if you have a quick printer) before the official exam start time which also creates an advantage (also even if you don't know the questions by then). All this makes no sense to me...

      Delete
    4. if so, they can restrict the prior art part and let the candidate print out the letter, which make our life much easier and the board can make sure that we will not be able to leak the questions in the 10 minutes ahead of the exam....

      Delete
  40. However, you can print the other parts of the paper and read them (if you have a quick printer) before the official exam start time which also creates an advantage (also even if you don't know the questions by then). All this makes no sense to me...

    ReplyDelete
  41. In the EPO we trust!

    I am going to work on the assumption that the EPO has fully considered how we are actually meant to do the exams and just are terrible at communicating this to us.

    This was the case with the UK exams where communication was terrible in advance but the exams on the day were fine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hmm not quite. In the UK they came up with stupid suggestions/requirements initially which were continually shot down on public forums like IpKAt until it eventually converged on a decent solution. If nobody complained about the arrangements we would still have been using the first solution (i.e. needing two opposed cameras streaming for 6 hours, bespoke spyware on the computer etc).

      This was only possible because the head of the PEB is from a software background and is much more open to itterative development. From the people i know who sit on the EQE board i have every reason to believe they are not so inclined. In fact, i have heard that the EQE were not interested in speaking to the PEB at all about exams...

      Delete
    2. I would bet for a bad communication. They only communicate what is definitely set - so we candidates only see a part of the iceberg. Let's hope we will get to see the hidden part asap.
      As for now, I am personnally more upset with the possibility to use the syllabus in digital form than the printing issues (e.g. for C it will take you only 5-10 minutes to write down the claims to have the whole exam on paper; for D-II one can take personnal notes while reading). Each candidate should draw a "map of the paper" on personal handnotes to be able to retrieve information. One can even colour-code personal notes. I think we have time to adapt our methodology if EPO provides certainty in sufficient advance - the sooner the better of course.

      As for the schedule, D-day will be long but less stressfull. No comments on A and B, as duration does not change.

      I do wonder however how C can be split in two parts while leaving the paper C unchanged. It typically takes at least 2.5 hours to set the scene and start drafting the substantial aspects of the notice and claim attacks. After 3 hours, I could barely deliver a filled opposition form and identify suitable attacks for the notice. EPO should clarify if the break is a simple break and would cause you leaving the notice of opposition at a given point at the end of the first break; or if both parts are distinguished clearly (e.g. independent claims in different categories, divisional/parent) and are unrelated.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  42. This is absolutely terrible. It's soo bad.

    There is no fairness for EQE 2021. These candidates will be so much more affected this year compared to previous years. There needs to be fairness and I feel the changes do not provide fairness this year.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Questions and comments:

    1-Why A and B papers are only 4 and 3.5 hours while Pre-exam which has about the same time (4 hours) has so many breaks and longer time (4hrs30mn) ?

    2- Why the client letter is not printable ? we definitively need that letter printed as we need to heavily highlight the text, which is actually the application, etc.

    I would rather to have the possibility to print the letter but not the prior arts.

    Reading the prior arts on the screen of the computer doesn't harm like reading the application on the screen, as said above and many others, we need to heavily highlight the text.

    3- Same question for B paper. I would rather to have the possibility to print the client letter, the description and the amended claims.

    4- As said by many above "split" of C paper in C1 and C2 need to be quickly clarified by the Exam committee in terms of what do we expect in part C1 and part C2.

    Is it that C1 allows us to treat only part of the claims (e.g. claim 1 only) + Effective dates of objects + Prior arts used, and
    C2 allows us to treat the rest (claims 2 to 6) ?

    5- D2 paper definitively needs to be printed ! for the same reason as for client letter of paper A.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1) maybe because the rpe-e4xam had that possibility, without the risk of cheating? Answers to questions from the block before the break cannot be changed anymore, next questions not yet know. In paper A and B it is hard to make a break that allow you to freely talk and hear! It is solved in C by not giving the info you need for the second part yet. In D, the DI structure and DI-DII partition allows it.
      So it is not that A and B are worse off. It is rather that the opportunity was taken to get the break where it was possible!

      Delete
    2. 2), 3) and 5): I agree. Client's letter (A), application (B) and letter (DII) should be printable. Very different that before if it cannot be printed. And more importantly: impossible to do a claim drafting/amending if you cannot annotate the letter/application!

      Delete
    3. They can simply allow candidates some minutes half way though for A and B. It's abit unfair for A and B candidates to be staring at the screen for 4 hours with no break.

      They are breaking national and international health and safety guidelines.

      Delete
    4. Interesting point. If it would break "national and international health and safety guidelines" despite you being allowed to take unscheduled breaks during A and B, I suggest you send an email to the EQE secretariat. But does not the possibility to take unscheduled breaks solves that problem (which I assume, but I am not a labor condition expert)? And does a similar objection not hold to a 5,5 hour exam in an exam hall (I can imagine it would)?

      Delete
    5. Hi Roel. I think the main concern many have here is the constant staring at the screen. Particularly the harmful blue light from the screen is very damaging for your eyes and I presume the EPO would not want special software added onto computer.

      There are also many studies that show a lower level of concentration and focus for long period of time working on a computer.

      The 5.5 hours is done on paper and although it is still very demanding, it is not harmful to your eyes in the same way as a computer screen.

      There is the HSE guidelines which I will dig out.

      The problem here is that time is so tight in the EQE anyway so I doubt many will have time to take screen breaks. It will be a rush to the end as always. However, there is a responsibility I believe that the EPO must consider candidates health. This is off course the reason why the cancelled EQE 2020 so the same health concerns/reasons need to be applied in EQE 2021.

      Delete
  44. It doesnt look like the EPO has taken into account the difficulties, expectional circumstance and situation for candidates this year. Their proposal falls well below the standard here. It is a necessity for candidates to print all the paper.

    There are also No breaks for A and B which is a big mistake. Doing the exam online is very tiring for the eyes. They need to introduce breaks into A and B.

    Paper C makes no sense in its current format and the time spilt allocation.

    DII is impossible to do solely online. If you have to write more down then it will take more time to do this and 3 hours is nowhere near sufficient.

    ReplyDelete
  45. A and B require breaks. Why are there so many breaks for preEQE but nothing for A and B. They need to change this - it is unacceptable and completely unfair.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Papers A and B are NOT normal exams this year. It has to be done online without key documents printed off for you to scribble on. It is a different exam to the paper version. So therefore breaks are required to be implemented. Im very concerned. Trying staring at the screen constantly for 4 hours. It's impossible. The EPO has to recognise that exams online will be put more strain on the eyes and this clearly need to be taken this into account.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree. How is this fair compared to previous exams? Exact same time but we are not allowed to print all exam documents. EPO needs to adjust IMMEDIATELY.

      Delete
  47. If the EPO aim is to create maximum confusion, stress and anxiety with an unlevel playing field for candidates EQE 2021 then they have succeeded.

    These set of changes completely changes my approach to the papers especially for DII and C. I'm going to struggle not being able to hand annotate the claims for paper B

    ReplyDelete
  48. Once again, it seems like preEQE candidates get preferential treatment. Plenty of breaks for them but none for A and B.

    D breaks seem reasonable although not enough time is given for DIi but C is just confusing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I don't understand why preEQE get breaks but nothing for A and B. There is every right to think that these changes are hardly fair.

      Delete
    2. 3 hours for the DII part is really short. In my preparation (also for the EQE 2020), I tried to save as much time as possible in answering the DI questions in order to have enough time for DII. This possibility of free time management has now been withdrawn.

      Do not know how C will look like....

      With respect to screen breaks in general: in daily work, I often stare on the screen for more than 3 to 4 hour without adequate break.

      Delete
  49. These substantial changes to the EQE papers have only made me more worried. What I've been practicing so far is clearly not going to work in the new format. Shall I just wait and see until they've released more details. It is difficult to revise for something you don't know about. For DII, I'm not sure what the approach is anymore and for also for C.

    ReplyDelete
  50. We need to email the Exam sect and ask them to stop and rethink. These exam changes appear not to be practical at all. The board needs to be more considerate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! E-Mail your concerns and comments to the exam sect as soon as possible. This is the only way to draw their attention on our concerns.

      Delete
    2. I agree, we must let them know our concerns as soon as possible!

      Delete
    3. Would be a good idea to copy and paste comments on this blog and pass it over to the exam sect.

      Delete
    4. Do not you think that they read this too? ...

      Delete
    5. But indeed, a blog comment cannot replace an email. You will however need to give our name in an email - please also post your comments with a name, and do not post all of them anonymously!

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    6. We have no idea if exam sect. Read these blogs but I am glad they exist because it shows the many concerns people have. I will just summarise the main points (good and bad) rather than copy and paste.

      Delete
  51. Where is the EPI in all of this. Surely they can't agree to these changes for the main EQEs. Paper C makes no sense whatsoever. How do we prepare now.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Disaster waiting to happen3 December 2020 at 15:57

    The news last night is absolutely a disaster waiting to happen. The printing makes no sense at all. No breaks for A and B makes no sense but are allowed for others.

    DII will be trepled the difficult for previous years and candidates have to store most of the info in their heads or take a substantial amount of time to write out everything rather than annotating.

    Paper C is the worse out of the lot. Their changes completely changes the approach to the paper with 2 months to go. Disaster

    ReplyDelete
  53. There will be substantial changes to DII and Paper C which I think is grossly unfair on candidates this year as their approaches must change significantly. There's not much time to change approach from now to the actual exams. The EPO have left it too late.

    For A and B, I agree with everyone that they need to incorporate in breaks as the exams are done online.

    ReplyDelete
  54. First of all I think we should be considerate with the EPO considering they are going from medieval technology to 21st century technology in 6 months; rolling out an on-line exam for thousands of people.

    However the change process is organized rather medieval: as far as I am aware of there is no role for one of the main stakeholders: us candidates. If we are lucky our e-mails and blogs will be heard but we can only learn from the FAQ; no individual answer is given. Moreover we do not have any power whatsoever. In that regard the EPI is an organization for patent attorneys and therefore the EPI cannot represent candidates. Meanwhile we candidates are busy minding our own business and studying hard. This observation shoulders with a second problem; there is no transparency whatsoever. So probably the decisions of the EPO do make sense, but we just do not know why and therefore we cannot challenge.

    Therefore in the end the only thing I can do is to prepare for what is coming.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. epi members have half of the seats in the Supervisory Board and the Examination Board. Also more than half in the committees. Also well represented in the e-EQE working group.

      Could it not just be that all have to accept the limitations of technology, covid-19 and the enormous number of candidates spread over a huge geographical area? And that all did and continue to do their utmost best to come up with a fair exam? Has anyone seem a batter proposal than what is now being presented?

      Delete
    2. We haven't been told what is coming, just that it is now different - that's the problem. We can't prepare for it and we have no idea of when to expect any clarification!

      Delete
    3. This "Information on the schedule for the EQE 2021 examination papers" tells you quite a lot!

      You seem to overlook that it also tells: "Paper ABCD have the same syllabus and character as before". For me that implies that there is no need to consider dramatic scenarios, and that all my prep so far is still absolutely useful.

      Delete
    4. The EPI cannot represent candidates as they are not. They are patents attorneys. Practically, they may have forgotten some of the difficulties of being a candidate as that is how the human mind works. Moreover in the balance between upkeeping the standard for PA's on one side and having a fair exam (being equally challenging as other years) on the other side they may choose differently compared to candidates. Especially when things are under pressure as they currently are.

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    5. Sound methodology is just as important as knowing the syllabus. I'm sure we can agree that the EQE's are extremely formulaic in their approach to assessment. Therefore, knowing that our methodology will have to change (in particular for paper C) is extremely worrying at this late stage in the game.

      Candidates that had expected to sit the 2020 EQE have already spent a considerable amount of time revising (in vain) and have now been allowed to continue to waste more valuable time revising a now out-of-date methodology on the assumption that there would be no considerable change to the 2021 EQE.

      Delete
    6. These changes are significant changes. It will change alot and many people will have to completely change their approach. It takes time and there is not enough time. Further, we don't know much more and this added uncertainty is only creating more anxiety.

      The printing restriction does not make much sense to me and I do feel like EQE candidates 2021 has been put at a disadvantage. There is no doubt in my mind that candidate EQE 2021 is being set back by these significant changes with little time to adapt.

      Delete
    7. 2 Anonymous @ 16:18
      "Has anyone seem a batter proposal than what is now being presented?"

      Yes, the UK finals with its closed book approach combined with the ability to print out everything seemed to work well for the majority of the candidates (but who cares about the candidates when the "big minds" of the EPO, who have probably sat their exams still under EPC1973, know best what the online exam should look like?!). However, there are rumours that the PEB have been told off by the EPO, kind of "won't work for us, sorry guys, keep doing what you do, and we'll find a better way of doing things, cheers" Amazing results by the EPO, I must say...

      Delete
    8. Do you really prefer a closed book EQE? I donot think there will be many sharing that opinion... Further, it is further away from real life than the current EQE system: in real life you can also consult any documentation (OK, I admit, also colleagues and also google, but there are some rules which make it an exam and not a real life situation).
      By the way, many universities execute exams like now proposed for the EQE: exam broken in parts, finalize at end of part (or even at end of each question), no going back. So it seems to me that the approach is using current state-of-the art (in the meaning of sophisticated) principles for online exams. So please be fair. You may critize them, but they make sensible choices for the e-EQE that are inline with modern examination methods.

      Delete
    9. I did not mean to move to the closed book exam, I only meant that even with the closed book exam (where you MUST make sure candidates do not use any literature) it was possible to invigilate candidates properly and not to let people cheat, still making the experience smooth and easy. What are the EPO afraid of when not letting us print off the client's letter for the drafting paper? I genuinely struggle to understand. Cheating? But how???

      Re new exam format at the universities, my partner is an academic at the UK university in natural science disciplines, and the summer exams were held in a "normal" way, albeit online, i.e. allowing to work on the exam answers in the way the students want to approach it and printing off the questions. Furthermore, as per UK's Health and Safety regulations, screen breaks of about 5 min for each hour of staring at the computer screen are prescribed in dedicated H&S guidelines. Given that we have to work from the screen only for the majority of the exams, I'm afraid the EPO haven't considered the screen breaks at all when designing the exams "in line with modern examination methods".

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    10. "Do you really prefer a closed book EQE?"

      For me the problem with open-book exams is not that they are open-book per se, but that they encourage formulaic questions where really the task is typically to find the relevant section of your (heavily annotated) copy of the EPC and cite chapter-and-verse. I prefer the PEB approach where the emphasis is on knowing the rule and showing that you understand it in your answer.

      I think this was exemplified by the 2019 paper D which had a question on deposit accounts worth 8 marks. This is something that in actual practice very few attorneys will ever need to know, but since its in everyone's annotated EPC guide it becomes a fair subject for a question. In an exam where citing chapter-and-verse is emphasised, there is less time for testing actual knowledge and ability.

      The sight of hundreds of examinees each trotting into the exam-hall accompanied by suitcase libraries also indicates a problem. You should not need ~15 kilos of written matter to sit an exam.

      I'd also argue that the closed-book exam is if anything closer to real life. The number of times you're going to consult an annotated EPC guide whilst drafting an application, drafting an OA response, doing an FTO, giving an opinion on infringement etc. is very low. For oppositions you're going to be looking most of the time at cases and the relevant sections of the EPC.

      Delete
    11. I would argue the opposite. The UK law paper really is outdated and you will find hardly any attorney who will advise clients based on their memory. They will always consult books and nowadays the internet before giving advice to a client. That is the best practice.

      Further, most law exams nowadays are open book exams simply because it is not practicable or efficient to memorise verse after verse.

      Delete
  55. I am surprised that you are all so negative. And speculate in how difficult it could be. Why not also look at how it can work in our advantage? Or how it would be neutral?

    For Pre-Exam, no comments, I passed it already. But time seems generous, 70 minutes for 5 legal questions... when I sat the exam (2016 or 2017), most candidates had finished almost the complete legal part in that time, or at least 8 out of 10! For claims, 2x70 minutes is also generous if it is of the same difficulty as in 2019 (my colleague needed 80 minutes for the complete claims part then).

    For D, DI in two parts is not optimal. I would have preferred to decide on the order, skip if needed Q.2 and 3 first and only do them after having done Q.4 and 5. But at least DI will not eat into my DII time. If the DII is 50 marks, I should be able to do it in 3 hours, but I have 30 minutes more. But... I still need to cehck how much time the lack of a paper copy will take me: if I cannot annotate, I need to keep track of the information in anotehr way which will take more time. maybe 15 minuets more? Still fits.

    For A and B, no real changes, except again the lack of annotations. If only we could print the client's application in B, that would be of great help. But the disadvantage of not being able to annotate will probably be outweighted by the easier way of constructing claims: editing does not require rewriting, that will save a lot of time!

    For C, I trust that they will not change the type of attacks. May be an advantage that/if the first part does not have all the prior art from a complete paper: easier to see which can be novelty destroying, probably no inventive step. Also the split probably means that the claims in the second part are independent from the first part, so that there is no knock-on effect of an early error. Anyhow reflects the practice in C that closest prior art may be different between claims and different from what was the novelty-destroying document for the previous claim. I see no real reason why it would become more difficult. On the contrary, I have hope that the two-part form is characterized by a smooth preamble as the first part and an inventive second part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strongly disagree with you Kev. There is far to many unknowns and uncertainty. Doing it online changes alot already and there is no need to make it as complicated and confusing as this.

      I support that candidates need breaks for each exam. They really need to give more time to A and B especially if preEQE are allowed so many breaks - it doesn't make sense to penalise candidates for A and B when the exam is the same amount of time.

      My issue is the printing decision. For DII - this will change many candidates approaches and the uncertainty and lack of time to fully practice is will be cost to them on the exam day.

      For Paper C, I do see your point here. I think it is universal that paper C in its current format will not work as it is. It needs more explanation.

      Delete
  56. Totally agree with your comments. For D-I this split forces us to dedicate some time to each question, which is aligned with the previous decision of giving more weight to D-I and force candidates in studying the law more carefully.
    For A and B, copy/paste will save us substantial amount of time. We can also take notes while reading online. It is a matter of adapting the methods for previous papers to the new format. 3 hours for D-II does seem fair enough indeed.

    The concern is for C. If the paper does not change, will it just be a classical C with handing out whatever we have written after 3 hours and going on during the next phase (in which case the break time may be used by a candidate)? I think we ave to wait and see.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Copying and pasting claims for Paper B, I see many things wrong with that. Firstly, does the editor pick up the underline tracked changes from the client amended claims. Does it pick up symbols and units in claims such as TM symbol. Copying and paste is not full bullet proof and there are many errors that could be associated with simply doing it.

    I see no reason why they need to restrict the printing of the full paper. In my mind, there is no real advantage especially if you are only given 10 mins to print it off before the exam. If

    ReplyDelete
  58. I refrain from criticizing the supervisory board but it is one of the most bureaucratic club, apparently, and the same is its lack of lead and low efficiency...

    For paper C, I would rather it as a continuous "one-part" examination. it simply makes no sense to chop it into two parts, which creates additional workload for the supervisory board as well as for the candidates. Secondly I see it so silly not to allow to print the claim in suit on paper as well, just 10 minutes before the exam...
    For paper B, the candidates should also be allowed to print the description, and keep the claims on-line readable, if the board thinks it susceptible to be leaked in the 10 minutes of printing time (stupid thinking anyway).

    For paper A, I would also think the other way around -- the candidates should be allowed to print out the letter while the board keeps the prior arts only online readable! how silly a mind should be to keep the description online readable and the prior arts printable....
    I have no comment on paper D.

    I assume there will be lots of appeals following the examination, considering the stupidity, ignorance and bureaucracy the supervisory board manifested in the last communication letter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I'm starting to draft the appeal getting ready for next year. This decision absolutely not fair and I'm not going to stick with it. I've been badly affected by their decisions for the past year. No one expected a pandemic so it is fair that the EPO cancelled the exam. My only grip is the few months after that where the EPO strung many candidates along by indicating a possible exam later. Many candidates spent those months revising afterwards.

      Now, they decide to completely change DII and C this late and thus forcing many candidates to know come up with a new approach. It is so late to be changing.

      If they just listen and allow candidates to print off the paper, it would solve alot of things already.

      Delete
  59. It does seem that for A and B, the EPO does not care about candidates health and safety. One cannot stare at the screen constantly for 4 hours with no break. They are breaking national and international health and safety guidelines and standards by giving candidates no break for A and B.

    PEB had to oblige to the HSE guidelines in the UK and the EPO must do the same otherwise this will be a clear breach of health and safety guidelines (at least in the UK) but I'm sure in many other countries too.

    The EPO cannot be breaking laws as a law profession.

    ReplyDelete
  60. For DI - I can live with the changes
    For DII - I prefer a printed version but believe I can live with the current guidelines. I think it will make it harder because it changes my approach quite significantly.

    For A - I think I can live with it. Again, it would be preferable to print the paper off and annotate.

    Same for B - although I strongly think we should be allowed to print off the client recommended amended claims so that we can annotate and amend their changes.

    For C - I have no idea. Do I still keep practicing Paper C as it is. It seems a bit pointless until we know more details about how it will work in practice.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I think it would be better if they extend A and B a little bit and allow a break in between. Candidates are not allowed to leave the room i.e. there will be a camera on them as they look somewhere else or stretch their legs whilst in view of the camera. I think that is fair. Otherwise, 4 hours of constantly staring at a screen is not good for you health.

    ReplyDelete
  62. two points:
    1. the fairness: I do not want to compare with the candidates in the previous years. The point is that some candidates got the information of the splitting of paper C and D much earlier - that is those who sit in a "training" course. for lots of us who do not sit in "such training course", we are kept till the last minute of this communication.
    second: if the EPI think that printing the whole parts of the papers would risk leakage of questions, the candidates can be allowed to only print the papers after the time for the exam starts to tick, and as a compensation for the time of printing, the break time can be reduced a bit.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think its fair some candidates got information before others. There is not enough time to adapt to these exams as it is and so the EPO really needs to ensure members don't leak things out until things have been settled.

      Delete
    2. in the earlier topic, there are already anonymous mentioning that those candidates who sit in the "training course" has known the break, and the splitting part from the training course they sit....
      this is unlawful...
      Jeff

      Delete
  63. I believe the exams should be fair. The EPO needs to ensure complete fairness for EQE 2021 and take into account the impact and damage from the pandemic. The article below show how governments and other organisations are attempting to make this years exam fair for candidates. I hope the EPO will take this into account.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-55160374

    ReplyDelete
  64. In some of the comments above it is stated that you can always take an "unscheduled" break during the exam as a screen break. This is unfair.

    Exams are designed to have enough content for say 4 hours.

    People will now be forced to choose between loosing marks or sacrificing your health and safety.

    Many public health and safety organisations say looking at a screen is more damaging for your eyes than looking at room-lit paper. But the EPO seem to be doubting this?

    Apparently, from the corresponding IPKAT article, despite there being no evidence, the chief examiner says everyone in the UK is a cheat and worked through the screen breaks, so they will not be allowed in future. This is the reason why there is no screen break in Paper A or B because this problem cannot be split into two parts, and you can be thinking about the solution in the break, thereby extending the exam time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given the screen breaks were optional in the UK exams (as explicitly stated in the Essential Info for Candidates), I can't see how not taking them could be considered as cheating.

      Delete
    2. Apparently its not, the IPKAT blog mentions that candidates who didn't take screen breaks are being considered for disqualification. So its not optional but this was only communicated after the PEB exams.

      https://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2020/12/eqe-2021-further-details-on-examination.html

      Delete
    3. Is this a blog on the UK PEB exams?

      Delete
  65. The EPO has a moral and lawful duty to look after the health and safety of the Examiners. There are clear laws and regulation in place. It is not right for candidates to stare at the screen constantly for long periods of time.
    There must be breaks for papers A and B. Period.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will bring a thermos and some cookies and take a 15 minute break in my room within view of the invigilation camera and within hearing distance from my microphone.

      With 30 minutes compared to the time specified in the IPREE for A and B, there is room for that.

      But even if there would not have been additional time, I simply need to have a break after 1,5 hours.

      I am sure that I will benefit more from that 15 minute inactiveness that what it will cost me.

      Delete
  66. I'm a recent qualified European attorney and I certainly do not envy this year's candidates.I can only imagine the stress of all of this with a really hard set of exams.

    My main concern is the drip feeding of information or the lack of further information. The latest set of information is some what welcomed but it also raises further confusion for candidates who are already feeling the strain of an online exam. These changes for some papers are substantial changes especially for Paper C.

    I would have hoped for better communication and decision needs to be explained better. For example, why are some documents allowed to be printed but not others. These are reasonable concerns and by being open and honest about some of these decisions, it would help ease some concerns.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Whilst I would welcome more information, I'm torn at receiving more infor before Christmas. I don't want them to ruin my Christmas and increase my stress levels with further similar confusing announcements.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I am very disappointed with the EPO. I still do not understand many of the changes let alone how the EPO is managing communications. Last year all candidates enroled, 'virtually' failed without being able to attend the exam and having to wait for an additional year. The is no doubt that passing the EQE is not a matter of being a good attorney/examiner or excellent professional, but to train to pass an exam. It is unbelievable that after delaying the exam for 1 year, they still make unreasonable changes, and we do not have a definitive version for practicing 3 months before the exam. Some of this changes are completely unreasonable, such as not being able to modify previous responses or printing parts of the exam. It is very common that you realize of a mistake or just something that need fine tuning while you are completing the exam. This is completely unfair compared to previous year, specially having to spend 1 year in blank.
    Lucky me, I am only enroled for paper C. Yet I do not understand why the exam has to be splitted, this significantly changes how the exam is. No mention of not being able to print the claims. I can't imagine the stress of those enroled for 4 exams and needing to adapt or change their strategy for all of them.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Now that there is all this information on the schedule, the breaking up into parts and info as to what can be printed and not, I think we can expect an update to the FAQ soon.

    As to the non-printable parts, I hope that the FAQ will clarify:

    - whether the pdf viewer allows to view only one part of the paper (let's call it, "it has one tab/window only"), or whether multiple parts of the paper can be seen in multiple tabs/windows of the viewer so that you can have it open at, e.g., the client's application, the claims as filed, the proposed amendments and the office action at the same time - and if so, whether those tabs/windows can be side=by-side so that you can really see then simultaneously and do not need to wildly scroll up and down all the time, or whether you can only view one tab at a time (commercial pdf viewers sometimes only allow to see one, some others allow them side-by-side);

    - whether you can annotate in the pdf viewer. Although that is still not as optimal as annotating on a paper copy, it would be indispensable for most candidates and tutors to have at least a basic annotation option such as putting lines or boxes, or adding text;

    - whether the editor allows to see multiple parts of your answers in multiple tabs/windows, so that, e.g., you can write your amendment arguments in paper B while you see your claim set, or you can compare your discussion on EP2 with that of EP1 in your DII;

    - whether the editor will have more than the indicated basic formatting functions underlining, bold, italic, bullets and numbering, or whether also strikethrough, highlighting, tables, drawing tools, font colors, and other functions will be available;

    - whether the system will only be available in January as was announced earlier, or whether it will be available before yearend or Xmas;

    - to which aspects (time schedule? printable parts?) there may still be "minor changes as testing continues", as the current Information indicates;

    - whether there are limitations the the screen size of the single screen, in terms of size in cm/inches and/or in terms of resolution (nr pixels);
    - whether a large-size screen to a laptop with a closed lid will indeed be allowed;

    - whether the printer needs to be a local printer, directly connected via a cable to the computer and in the same room as the candidate, or whether it can be a network printer (esp. when sitting in the office, that may for some candidates be the only possible option in view of the firm's IT policies).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do you think it can possibly not be a network printer? if it cannot be, then the "offer", or if you wish "option", to sit the exam in the office is an fake offer. Offices use networked printers, offices have IT policies, offices do as a rule not allow private hardware.

      Delete
    2. - annotations in pdf are not a solution. Try it - it takes twice as long as doing it on paper, and 4x as long if you are changing colors.

      Delete
  70. There are so many queries and questions remaining with not much time left before the actual exams. You can understand the frustration of so many candidates here. Alot depends on these exams (professional and personal lives).

    ReplyDelete
  71. In addition to the questions many people are already asking above, I am also wondering if there has been any information from the EPO regarding potential computer troubles. What should a candidate do, if there is a power outage, network problems, loss of internet connectivity or the like? Given the number of candidates sitting the exams in many different places, the risk of these problems occurring for some candidates is very real.

    Also, has there been any information on how we identify ourselves to make sure that there is no fraud?

    ReplyDelete
  72. Rudolph the red nose deer4 December 2020 at 12:49

    The decision of holding the EQE 2021 in electronic form has been taken in July 2020. As such this was already late, but it is adding insult to injury not to know yet what the system will look like.

    We just know that some papers, C and D in particular, will be cut like sausages.

    For D it can be understandable as we have two clear parts D1 and D2, but the liberty for the candidates to start with D1 or D2 has gone.

    For C we just know it will be cut in two parts allegedly independent. The bare minimum would be to tell candidates and trainers on the basis of an old C paper what it could look like. But this is probably asking too much.

    Officially we do not even know that there will be split screen with on the one side a pdf version of the paper and on the other side a simple text editor with copy/paste. Different fonts, highlighting will most probably not be possible. This is not a full replacement of what can be done on paper.

    Computer or Internet failure will be “duly taken into account”, but the way how it will be taken into account remains a big mystery. It seems that what the candidate has been written until any interruption will be automatically saved so that the candidate can continue from there once the link is re-established.

    It is also not foreseen that the EQE trainers will have access to the system. How on Earth will they be in a position to train and advise their candidates?

    2021 candidates are taken as guinea pigs and this is a disgrace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The liberty to start with D1 or D2 was only introduced in 2013. Before that it was much much longer separate DI and DII papers. So maybe we have to accept that 2013-2020 were special in that respect, rather than 2021 and presumably furture D exams!

      Delete
  73. My biggest concerns also relate to possible internet connection problems. If you believe the information on the website of the "LockDown" browser, the connection will be refreshed every 5 seconds and in case of "longer disconnections", the examination will be aborted...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For this reason I'd really like to know if we have to sit the exam at home or if (like the PEB exams) we can sit them at an office with a guaranteed internet connection. Relying on my home wifi never going down would be quite a worry.

      Delete
  74. Rudolph the red nose deer4 December 2020 at 18:25

    A front camera will be required and the microphone should remain open during the exam. This is to be able to watch the candidate's behaviour. No question to remain on idle for a while, and then upload your full reply in the 20' before the gong. What about data protection?

    Printing can only take place in the room where the candidate is sitting. This room should be isolated from the surroundings. For some candidates it means going to a hotel or something similar.

    The download of the locking browser is mandatory. This means a company computer cannot be used as I do not know many IT managers accepting the download of any program and a locked browser in particular, starting with EPO!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If we are required to be in front of the camera for the duration of the exam, then what is the printing restriction for. It makes absolutely no sense to me.

      Delete
  75. I understand from the IT pilot study 2 years ago that a printed copy of the paper was allowed for candidates to do full annotation. Why of all a sudden this is not allowed I do not know. Some explanation would be helpful by the EPO. They are taking away a very key asset (no printed paper of the exam) for a candidate to be able to pass the exams.

    ReplyDelete
  76. Rudolph the red nose deer4 December 2020 at 21:47

    It is because of the breaks in between that the full papers will not be printable beforehand. Some information has to be kept behind in order to avoid cheating. The printer should also be in the same room as the candidate.

    Remember that printing takes place before the clock starts running!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rudolph,
      I surely understand the neccesity to avoid potential cheating behaviour. On the other hand, do you think there might be time for the candidate to discuss with others, if the printer is NOT in the same office, which is normal in most cases for the candidates who has to sit in the office for the exam?
      Moreover, pls also bear in mind that the candidates this year also paid the same amount of examination fees as the candidates in the past years but even did not have an equitable rights for the same examination conditions, besides the problems caused by covid....

      Delete
  77. Remember that they promised "The requirements for the EQE as well as the structure and content of the various examination papers will be in line with previous examinations as outlined in the REE and IPREE and decisions of the Supervisory Board."
    All the decisions taken are to reduce the risk of cheating by using online references or communicating with others.
    - Single screen only: the browser blocks you using any other programs, and works in full screen mode covering anything that could be open (a chat or email window). The exam program can detect known processes, but you could be running something new. If you have another screen, either via hdmi or usb, the browser cannot easily span multiple screens, so they will not allow it. So, only one screen is allowed. If you connect an external 29-inch screen to a laptop and disable the laptop screen by software, it should be allowed. The UK system monitored keystrokes like ALT-TAB, CTRL-ALT-DELETE, printscreen etc.
    If you mirror one screen to another using software, that will also be detectable and blocked to stop someone else outside reading the non-printable parts. Disabling one screen by software should be allowed (as with the laptop). Once the browser starts, it disables the screen setting controls.
    - Split exam into parts, limited printing: if all the exam is available for printing, it could be distributed. If key parts are not printable, you would need to discuss the answers.
    - Split exam into parts. If you share something illegally, the time to get feedback is reduced. You also have to do it repeatedly, which can be seen as suspicious behavior. Also, fewer people needing to leave the room to go to the toilet.

    I wonder why the UK solution of trusted people who can print, distribute and invigilate for several people in an office was not used for the EQE?

    They have now turned 4 exams into 7 exams, actually.

    A number of people will have technical difficulties. Some problems will be indistinguishable from attempts to cheat. What happens if you do part 1 of D, and miss part 2 due to a computer or network problem? According to the new rules, you cannot do part 3 (worth half the marks?

    I saw a comment about "Notes to the Examiner" in another blog. These are allowed, but are not recommended (in general). But if you realise that during a later part that you forgot something brief from an earlier part, you could add a "Note" - e.g. extra legal basis for 10 days in Q.1 - R. 126(2)". It would then be up to the EC's to decide how to deal with it. I would not do this a lot - it is mainly to stop you worrying about it, and you should not expect them to mark it.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I don't see why they can't allow candidates to print off DII especially as there is no break the paper is not available 10 minutes before DII starts. It's 3 hours straight with no break so why can't this be printed????

    ReplyDelete
  79. are the candidates allowed to leave the room and go to the toilet during the examination?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The answer to this must always be yes. Speculating: the likely procedure will be that you first tell the webcom invigilator, they will note the time you leave and come back. You will probably have to resweep the room with your camera before commencing. Normally, the invigilator will have to fill in a declaration after the exam, noting any "unusual" behavior.
      Using these records, and any records they make (this is still to be confirmed, but typically remote exams use video recording, audio recording and keystroke logs) they can scan for suspicious behavior. They have your typing inputs and probably intermediate saves, so they could also "analyse" whether you suddenly got to the answer after leaving the room.
      I assume that they will also compare answers to search for candidates with identical answers.

      Delete
  80. Hello, should we have a camera in the room?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will need at least one camera to show ID and to perform a room sweep before commencing. 360 degrees, up/down, under the table, behind the monitor, on your desk etc. They may ask to look at your ears for earphones. Typically, they will collect a copy of your ID beforehand for comparison. Likely, they will also use biometrics to compare your face to the ID. There are some issues with laptop webcams as they are not always a high enough resolution.
      The invigilator will ask you to either remove or explain any suspicious objects on your desk, person or in the room and probably not allow bags under the desk. The EQE is open book, so they are mainly looking for electronic devices, so if you require anything for health reasons, this will need to be explained (some exams require this to be registered beforehand).
      Most remote exams require a forward facing camera on during the whole exam - they can also analyse gaze etc to see whether you are looking in unusual places. Some require a microphone to be left on for the whole exam. Some allow a webcam phone to be used in an appropriate position (you would need it to be charging as well).
      There are even some exams that require a front and back camera during the whole exam (we are still waiting for details).

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your reply, where do you get this information from??

      Delete
    3. Hi Ned, I can only ask you to stop spreading rumours or to confer the situation of the UK exams to the EQE. As of now, there is no announced requirement of using a webcam of any kind let alone providing a second camera for a back view. Given the number of participants of the EQE and the heterogeneous environments we all work in, I consider it almost impossible to have a direct exchange with an invigilator, e.g. to perform a room-sweep or even an ID-check during the examination.
      Yes, this EQE will be significantly different from the previous ones, but not every change will be detrimental to everyone. Personally, I am much faster in typing than writing by hand. In addition, the possibility to write down keywords/sketches first and to be able to fill-in details later imposes a major improvement over pen and paper exams. If copy&paste from the PDF into the editor will be available, this will save even more time - even if we have to sacrify the possibility of printing the entire paper.

      Delete
    4. EQE is not the first to do this. The software has also been around for many years, and is moving towards machine-learning invigilators.
      If you are sitting the exam at home, someone will have to check your ID to avoid impersonation, and they will have to look around the room to sweep for electronic equipment (to avoid communicating with other or searching online). If you leave the room and go to the toilet, they can ask you to repeat this. The minimum needed is one camera, either on your phone or on the computer.
      This can only be avoided by having someone neutral invigilate and/or taking the exam in a controlled location.
      I agree that a digital exam has many advantages - we will know more when they provide a demo version of the software and example exams.

      Delete
    5. Rumours are not useful. But a camera will certainly be needed! How else can serious invigilation be done?!

      Delete
  81. No details yet on what the EQE will exactly require or collect and store.
    My worry is that this is a lot of sensitive information that they are collecting. I do not wish to alarm people, but you should be aware in our profession that patent attorneys, patent offices, attorney firms and patent departments are actively targeted by hackers because we work with a lot of confidential information.
    I would not recommend doing the exam on a work PC or laptop because of the access that needs to be granted. I am not saying that the LockDown Browser or similar supplied by the EQE is not to be trusted, but these programs sometimes leave settings or leave something open that could be exploited. Talk to your IT specialist - it is better to have a PC with no internal network access at all that has not been used to access any external sites.
    There is also a huge amount of sensitive data being stored both before and during the exam about all the participants. Luckily in the EU they have to be clear on their collection and retaining policies.

    ReplyDelete
  82. I would proper the the board to allow the candidates to
    1): print DII paper before the examination, as there will be no breaks in between.
    2): print either the original claims or the proposed amended claims in paper B, as it is really difficult to scroll up and down to for that.
    3): print the claims in suit in paper C.

    thanks,
    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  83. This blog has become a serious rumor spreader which isn't helpful.
    The Examining Committee has not given us sufficient information on how the 2021 EQE will be run, which has fuelled this fire. The worse situation seems to be with paper C in which nobody can know how this paper will be split into 2 parts. A shame that (so far) no mock exam has been created to show candidates exactly what they should expect from the new format. So we go into December with uncertainty...

    ReplyDelete
  84. It would be really great if there was more clarity about WHERE candidates may sit the exam. As far as I have been able to determine, nothing has been said by the EPO about this.

    Sitting them at home is not going to be a good option for many people. I think many people would prefer to sit them in their work office if this is possible, this was allowed during the UK PEB exams.

    Whilst I did not enjoy trekking to Walsall, it was at least clear long before the exam where it was going to happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is in the FAQ:

      Where can I sit the online EQE and is anyone else allowed to be in the room with me?
      You can sit the online EQE at any suitable location, e.g. your home or workplace. However, no other person is allowed to be in the room with you. Further information will be made available in due course.

      Can I sit the EQE in an examination centre?
      No, there will not be any examination centres.

      https://www.epo.org/learning/eqe/faq.html

      Delete
    2. The FAQ has just been updated to refer to the "Information":

      "Updated 12/2020 - How much time will be allowed for each paper?

      The time allowed for each paper has been decided. Please see the Information on the schedule for the EQE 2021 examination papers."
      (linking to the same document as cited above in the post: http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/66EB601464EC7BECC12586320050164F/$FILE/ExamPapers%20EQE%202021_EN.pdf)

      As far as I could see, no further information was added to the FAQ yet.

      See https://www.epo.org/learning/eqe/faq.html

      Delete
  85. Do we get to use this: https://web.respondus.com/he/lockdownbrowser/ ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes:
      - Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
      - Browser menu and toolbar options are removed, except for Back, Forward,
      Refresh and Stop
      - Prevents access to other applications including messaging, screen-sharing,
      virtual machines, and remote desktops
      - Printing and screen capture functions are disabled
      - Copying and pasting anything to or from an assessment is prevented
      - Right-click menu options, function keys, keyboard shortcuts and task
      switching are disabled
      - An assessment cannot be exited until the student submits it for grading
      - Assessments that are set up for use with LockDown Browser cannot be
      accessed with other browsers

      It states that copy/paste is not allowed. That seems to contradict the FAQ's.
      You also cannot print during the exam, so it has to be done before you start.

      Delete
    2. copy/paste from the assessment to the answer is only only allowed during the first 3.5 minutes and the last 7.5 minutes of each exam part. No more than 256 characters each time, except on Thursday at high tide in Helsinki when you can do it for 512 characters. Unless screen breaks are being enforced, of course

      Delete
    3. @Anonymous10 December 2020 at 09:32
      You forgot the sarcasm on and sarcasm off tags :-)

      Delete
  86. Any hints whether we get a copy of our response once the exam is completed?

    ReplyDelete