Tuesday, 9 March 2021

EQE goes digital - the official EPO news message

Yesterday, the EPO issues a news message on the website on the EQE. 

It was a major achievement to move from an EQE that is fully paper based -the exam papers as well as the material you can bring being only on paper, and a handwritten answer- with candidates sitting in about 8, some of them big, exam locations scattered around Europe - to an online e-EQE in a secured browser -the exam papers as pdfs and/or (in full or in part) onscreen, legal texts partially online, a typed answer in a basic editor, online invigilation-. 

But... the level of praise and the absence of reflection as to the growing pains and serious problems in the press release does not really feel justice to how candidates and tutors, as well as other stakeholders, have experienced the preparation phase and the exam itself. The message seems to have been drafted by a Public Relations department and it seems not to have been checked for the sensitivity of the issues that arose in the preparation of and during the exams, of the impact that such a message has on candidates, some of which feel that their voices and experiences have been ignored.

In particular, the press release downgrades the issue at D1-1 to "solved quickly within a few minutes". That does not really reflect the real situation where some candidates were affected for the whole of D1-1, at least, and where an additional 30 minutes was awarded but not received by all candidates (as a Flowlock browser refresh was needed to actually receive the 30 minutes), and where the break schedule was changed with a sever impact on the length of the lunch break (from planned 45 minutes to only 25)... I refer to our Good luck blog, our First impressions blog for many comments from candidates, as well as to our D1 blog.  Luckily, the Examination Board did react in a fast and appropriate way with a message on the e-EQE webpages, on the next day, with the guarantee that no candidate will be disadvantaged as a result during the marking process. , as is also indicated in the press release.

The Press Release is show below in full (no changes made):

EQE goes digital

8 March 2021

Nearly 4 000 candidates, 5 exams split over 11 flows, 130 exam pages in a choice of languages, 24 hours of examination in 5 days, 80 online invigilators, 400 people involved in preparations, a secured examination environment, and audio and image supervision: From 1 to 5 March, the EPO successfully held the inaugural e-EQE. For the first time ever, candidates sat the exam online at a place of their choice anywhere in the world.

This has meant that training and qualification of patent professionals in Europe could continue despite the pandemic, with the new digital examination format maintaining its high standard for quality and security. Audio and image invigilation were combined, and candidates responded to questions and papers in a locked online examination environment.

Going digital has brought advantages on various levels: for candidates writing the exam by enabling them  to type answers on a computer, digitally search documents and saving them time, money and stress not having to travel; for the EPO by modernising and simplifying procedures; and for the environment by causing less travel and greatly reduced paper consumption. Bringing the exam online also makes it more accessible to even more potential candidates in future from all corners of Europe.

What had initially been planned as a major change for the years ahead was fast-forwarded due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the Strategic Plan 2023, the EPO plans to deliver a complete, end-to-end digital EQE with a possible revision of the EQE legal framework, format and content of the exam. Due to the pandemic, and after the cancellation of the EQE2020, the greatest challenge of holding the exam online was achieved within just a few months.

Over the past few months, the EPO has worked with the epi, users and professional associations, and has taken numerous measures to ensure a smooth running of the exam. Keeping the candidates informed about the new system and allowing them to test their own equipment prior to the real exam were top priorities in this process. Three mock exams and three public online seminars complemented the constant update of the FAQ and information posted on the internet site of the EQE.  

The new format has proven to run very smoothly. The only exception was a disruption affecting paper D1.1, when the paper was at first only available in German, and not in English or French, which was solved quickly within a few minutes. In response, the Examination Board of the EQE published a message on the EQE website to reassure candidates that no candidate would be disadvantaged as a result during the marking process.

The EQE is widely regarded as one of the most demanding professional examinations, and since 1979 has already been passed by more than 10 000 candidates across Europe. It is also one of the only such exams to qualify candidates for a truly European profession.

Further information


Your comments are welcome!

NB: On our D1 blog, we have a call for ideas that you may have as how the Examination Board could take action to 
achieve that no candidate will be disadvantaged as a result during the marking
process. Please feel invited to post your ideas there!

Comments are welcome in any official EPO language, not just English. So, comments in German and French are also very welcome!

Please do not post your comments anonymously - it is allowed, but it makes responding more difficult and rather clumsy ("Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous of 02-03-2021 22:23"), whereas using your real name or a nickname is more personal, more interesting and makes a more attractive conversation. You do not need to log in or make an account - it is OK to just put your (nick) name at the end of your post.

Thanks!

NB: For our DI-blog, see here. For our first impressions blog, see here. For our Good luck blog, see here.

118 comments:

  1. When can we expect our results?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First they will need to decide on how to proceed with D1-1.

      NB: please do not repeat questions that have already been asked on the other blogs, and have already been answered there.
      NB: please do not post any comments anonymously, but use your name.

      Delete
  2. Disappointed Candidate9 March 2021 at 09:59

    This is a ridiculous PR stunt!
    It appears that the EPO continue to laugh at this years candidates but posting such utter rubbish - where did they get this ridiculous notion that "EPO successfully held the inaugural e-EQE" - lies lies lies.

    As you mentioned above Roel, there were multiple issues and the post makes light of the issues candidates faced - the most worrying aspect of it was the mental state, I am sure most candidates, like me, their stress levels went through the roof when faced with the opening issue of the D1-I section, this had a domino effect for the remainder of the day, not being able to concentrate, the adrenaline pumping through the body from the fear and worry of not seeing your paper, I was still shaking that evening after the exam and struggled to sleep.

    I think this post is shameful and shows zero regard for the stress candidates felt that day of the D paper let alone the stress from the remaining papers which quite clearly were not adapted for digital format this year when the EPO etc. informed us that such adaption would take place. If anything, the only adaption made by the EPO/EQE committee was to make life harder and more stressful for candidates this year - makes you wonder whether it was there intention to try have as many fail this year, not that they would, but one would question.

    The EPO need to publish a more realistic statement than this - how do we get the EPO to wake up and see the actual issues faced by the candidates and how un-successful the format of the eEQE was this year. They should have at least waited to publish such rubbish until they took into account candidates feedback to their survey which has a closing date of today, 9th March.

    They couldn't even give us that satisfaction but would rather continue to play mind games with 2021 candidates. The EPO and those responsible for this years papers really need to start taking candidates careers, livelihood and mental state into consideration.

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    1. Fully agree, Disappointed Candidate, this EPO message is a joke; when I saw it yesterday I had some epithets in my mind to use, which I will not repeat here :-)
      Fully agree as well with you concerning D and the domino effect. After the false start I gathered all my forces like a soldier and did D1 both part without a problem from my side (actually seeing DeltaPatents model solutions, I’m very proud with my DI) but the level of stress and lack of adequate break between DI and DII hit me in DII - I lost focus for an hour and had to make tremendous efforts using also coffee and essential oils to gather again and write some answer (DII was easy however I’m not happy with my answer but still it is ok concerning the stress we received - stress levels went through the roof, as you say) After the exam I had pain in all my body as from a fever as you – thank you EPO for the successful inauguration!
      I did not do the survey (I did the one after Mock 3), the question are asked tendentiously to show how happy we are and how successful is EPO.
      Paper B and C were made very difficult on purpose - to cut candidates, so please, do not expect “EPO and those responsible for this year’s papers to start taking candidates careers, livelihood and mental state into consideration”, it’s another joke.
      I think tutors and epi members dealing with the EQE preparation need to be sharper with respect to what happened this EQE season.

      Delete
    2. I fully agree with the two of you here. The EPO has never been understanding about the mental aspect of the exam. I broke down and it was not easy to come back from. The answer was not to take away our breaks and not give us a chance to calm down. While I managed to battle back on D1-1, the carry over caused me to make stupid errors in D1-2 as my adrenaline was raging through the system. I did fine on D2, mostly because I arrogant enough to accept that we couldn't do much for the customer (I literally said aloud, "sucks to be you") after the stress had run it's course.

      I had expected them to play it safe with the exams with a new system in place. At least some adjustments needed to be made to account for us not being able to print or annotate large swaths of the exams. Sadly, they were spending too much time patting themselves on the back.

      Delete
    3. "mind games" is the right expression. I still have nightmares. I know that I will not have passed B and C and I am not willing to repeat this. I am really tired of occupying my life for years with exams that I will never pass. For me it is like a request for making pull-ups, and I am not able to do half a pull-up. The EPO will be responsible for some burnouts this year - the year in which many candidates have suffered financial and mental issues because of covid, studying two years and additional challenges with the computer based exams. To me it just demonstrates how comfortable the people who create the exams sit at the EPO, paid with our fees. To me it appears sadistic and I feel deceived. I personally think all of the examiners at the EPO should pass these exams - sometimes I am really baffeled how high the expectations are for becoming a representative and how low they are for becoming an examiner.

      Delete
    4. Funny experience with EPO examiner10 March 2021 at 11:14

      second that! Last year an EPO examiner rejected our expression "a component for a xxx device". We thus submitted a first amendment by using exactly the same wording in the description: "a component for connecting [...function feature...]". The EPO examiner rejected that.

      The client got pissed off as he wished a swift grant very much. He then made up two further amendments by himself which sound very closely to the xxx device. The EPO examiner rejected them based on the reason of no basis. We then asked the EPO examiner to re-consider the first amendment. It turned out that the first amendment was accepted and the grant was made!!

      My client asked me why EPO rejected the first amendement but then accepted it later. well...

      Delete
    5. Let's raise some money to file an application with all the specific pitfalls presented to us in the exam and see how the EPO practice is in reality. I experienced an examiner who actually objected to a computer program product claim as it would be notoriously known. I did not know what to answer to this sub-assistant-level objection.

      Delete
    6. I really wonder, how they can dare to consider this total failure a success. I am without words. First, typing does not mean saving time but - on the opposite - making candidates prone to plenty of mistyping since there was no time to finish the papers, let alone revising it. Further, having most of the relevant documents on monitor is a complete pain. The papers were apparently made artificially difficult (never seen so many issues all together in a paper B, for instance) and the idea of splitting paper C in two makes things impossibile: the first part mainly goes just to study the prior art, with almost no time to properly attack the claims. Further than not finishing the paper for lack of time, I also made trivial mistakes in selecting the prior art. When you have to go through the documents so quickly, overlooking is just around the corner. I really hope they will realise that the overall amount of time was all but sufficient (especially for B, C and D1). As to the paper D1-1 accident, of course it is nothing that can be solved with just 20 minutes time extension (to the benefit of all). Candidates are not machines, and of course this "accident" affected the outcome of the whole paper.

      Delete
  3. well, from an EPO point of view, 'the exams were held successfully', at least they were successful in having EPO exams online. The PR completely ignores what had actually happened during the exams. Even if we don't talk about difficultly level of paper B etc., still the technical glitches, errors, blunders from EPO is a highlight of this exam.
    I hope EPO considers the resulting stress on candidates from these technical blunders during marking of the exams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Drenched in Adrelnaline10 March 2021 at 16:05

      If this is considered "successful" it is clearly and unambiguously derivable they intended to turn EQE into shock therapy. I have had several nights of nightmare.

      Delete
  4. Boycott the EPO9 March 2021 at 11:26

    The equivalent of pi***ng on the grave of a candidate who failed. Does not tell the complete story. What about the 'technical' issues of B and C? The formatting isses when copy and pasting, the lack of printable documents, the longest paper B and C in recent history...

    The EPO are not taking us seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Although I agree that standards must be maintained, unfortunately candidates this year have suffered and I don't think it is comparable to previous years at all.

    Online eEQE can work but the system needs major simplification. The burden was extremely high on candidates this year. It was not easy fitting in 3 mocks and keeping up to date with regular changes.

    On the day itself - formatting claims alone in some of Papers B and C were horrendous. Language issues in D and confusing statements in A.

    There is work to do. There should really be a full paper version where you can type your answer on screen. That should be the way forward

    I think this year is a write off for most.

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  6. Do people know if their firms are going to submit a formal complaint about eEQE. This statement from the EPO is not what most candidates experienced during last week.

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    Replies
    1. how do we do this? I want to complain about papers B and C. The formatting issues regarding tracked changes and the mistakes in the paper (and the length of the unprintable parts) are legitimate concerns, I believe.

      I have already emailed eqe help desk but there must be a better way of getting the EPO's attention?

      Delete
    2. My firm is writing a complaint to the exam sect. I know a few other candidates are considering the same with their firms. I think the onus placed on firms are also extremely high this year and off course, the badly designed papers, disruption to the start of e-EQE didn't impress them

      Delete
    3. My company is not planning to do anything like this.
      How can I, myself, do it? I only know to send an email to helpdesk but it is not an official complain.

      Can we make a list of errors to protest against? Not the emotional ones but more factual
      like technical errors: language problem/error in B, change in format: length of papers B and C, any other?

      Delete
    4. I think for paper B on a purely factual/technical side:

      - longest B paper (in terms of pages) since the reformulated B paper began 4/5 years ago;
      - Longest patent application in recent format, when the application cannot even be printed;
      - 3 independent claims, 3 prior art documents is highest combination of prior art docs/claims in the recent format;
      - errors throughout the paper including missing reference signs, missing arrows from reference signs, inconsistent formatting of client amendments (some amendments bold some not);
      - First time TPO and mental act introduced in paper B

      In terms of the WISEFLOW system:
      -inability to copy and paste whilst maintaining formatting
      -inability to show tracked changes natively in the system (square brackets much more time consuming and messy)
      -inabiity to compare te application/client letter/amendments/epo letter side by side with other ones of these documents due to the -inability to have two tabs open at once;
      -inability to compare text editor to these documents due to the non-scrollable/searchable assignment window present in the text editor;
      -also no spellcheck - more time consuming

      In summary however the underlying problem was a culmination of all of the above - essentially putting a very long paper by any standard into the system which had flaws meaning it took longer to do things than usual (amendments phsycially usually take 2-3 minutes with crossing out and writing additions, now 30 mins in wiseflow with square brackets and formatting).

      Delete
    5. Very well summary, was needed to send it as complain on the 4th of March. I was unable to summary these, so I so I did not file a complain but I know a colleague who did. Now it's too late considering p.11 and 39 from OJ 2021, A13

      Delete
    6. I'm writing a formal complaint and submitting it to the supervisory board and disciplinary board too as well as exam sect. I'm including them all in.

      Delete
    7. If you want to still file a complaint, I would not hesitate to do so. The "before the end of the exam day"-clause relates in my view to "normal complaints" due to individual incidents that have happened, not to force majeur incidents as this: (m)any legal provision has to be taken a bit less strict in cases of force majeur.

      But whether it is needed, I doubt: the Secretariat, D Committee, Examination Board and Supervisory Board are well aware of the situation. So general comments to probably not add anything, but specific comments for your specific situation may still be useful.

      Delete
    8. Concerning D, I filed a complaint already on the 2d of March as many others because we had a general disruption, but for B and C, according to my opinion the difficulty of the paper is not a ground of complaint. However many technical issues as formulated by Anonymous9 March 2021 at 16:42 above, are a ground, which I did not formulated last week because of stress and disappointment. I still suffer from post-trauma stress, so I will leave aside for now further excahnge with EPO

      Delete
    9. Is sending an email to helpdesk, an official complain? or needs to do something else for that.
      Thanks.

      Delete
    10. I would argue that the difficulty level is a valid ground because it was not in line with previous standard & expectation of past papers, as they have promised us. Increasing difficulty is one thing but adding in so many issues in paper B, and providing a highly technical subject matter in paper C coupled with problems on splitting the paper, means that the paper was beyond a reasonable length of time for a candidate sitting the paper to sufficiently complete. It is clear that little thought or no consideration was given to adapting the papers (I include paper A as well) into the current online format.

      I spent more time trying to understand the subject matter in paper C than actually doing the notice of opposition. Yes, there is an element of understanding the subject matter but the papers should be designed for all candidates. What happened to simple inventions like wine bottles, ironing device etc... these are simple subject matter that most candidates can grasp. Then, they can concentrate on the actual task of writing an opposition.

      For paper B, I would say that for most non-electronic candidates, this will be the first time they would have to amend computer-implemented claims and will probably never do it again after the exams.

      The EQEs are there to ensure you are competent to practice but it should not design papers where experienced attorneys with 10+ years of experience would struggle. It certainly just be drafted so that all candidates from all technical backgrounds would feel comfortable with the subject matter.

      Delete
    11. I went through the comments but I could not grab whether an email to the helpdesk can be deemed valid as a complaint (or, at least, whether it is something that is not destined just to fall behind the chairs).

      Would someone be so kind to let me know, how to file the complaint?

      Thank you in advance!

      Delete
    12. There was a comment below. I wrote to helpdesk. According point 11 of OJ 2021, A13: If a candidate wants to file a complaint concerning the conduct of the pre-examination or the main examination, they must do so as soon as possible (at the latest by the end of the day on which the examination was taken) by emailing it together with a written statement of the facts to the Examination Secretariat (helpdesk@eqe.org).
      I don't know other way

      Delete
    13. p.39 of OJ 2021, A13 also refer to reported to the Examination Secretariat via email to helpdesk@eqe.org

      Delete
  7. Guinea Pig 10019 March 2021 at 12:09

    It is simply not credible that papers were tested in their online versions by guinea pigs before being sent to candidates. Candidates were the guinea pigs for these papers (and for years to come). eEQE is, of course, more than welcome, but the system is far from being flawless and the format of papers needs to be adapted beyond the avoidance of cheating.
    Some remarks:
    - Far too many scrolling in B (it would have probably worked OK with an "as usual" paper B).
    - The copy/paste formatting is very annoying.
    - Ideal would be to be able to copy/paste from side-by-side windows (rather than from tab to tab)
    - Blind claims in C-1 do not allow candidates to have the full picture of the paper, which leads to confusions. It also forces candidates to scan/read annexes twice (quite a waste of time that should be spent in making substantiated attacks).
    The EPO notice seems a bit precipitated and offers a biased perspective of the situation.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is typical EPO... always report things positively about themselves. During the techical seminar for preparation of eEQE in Feb, I submitted that I had language issue during mock 2 and my webcam was not detected suddenly by Lockdown Browser only during C-2 of mock 2 . Their answer was like they have provided the best flawless system and if there were any issues, it must be the fault of my own laptop.

    I'm now very pessimistic. I don't think we would get any compensation from the wrong start of D1-1, the ambiguous A + B as well as the lengthy and complex B + C.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Proof of the pudding9 March 2021 at 13:11

      I am deeply shocked at the suggestion that the EPO's (senior) management would treat with contempt an examination candidate who queries the accuracy of the EPO's propaganda ... sorry, I mean pronouncements.

      This suggestion seems so difficult to reconcile what I know about the EPO's management in recent years. Admittedly, the odd bit of contempt might have been demonstrated from time to time for pretty much everyone and everything (including EPO staff, staff representatives, patent professionals, national judges and the rule of law). But that hardly establishes contempt as a modus operandi now, does it?

      Delete
    2. The system was not flawless.. For part A, I could take entry photo successfully, but during the exam one service provider suddenly wrote me that my webcam did not work and they could not see me. I was very nervous and kept asking him if I should re-boot my computer. He replied some minutes later and asked me to do nothing and he wrote to an invigilator to to help me. Some minutes later, another service provider contacted me and asked me questions, like if I could take entry photo, if I use an intergrated webcam or external one, if my webcam worked well for mocks 1 and 2, if my webcam is properly connected to PC, etc. and he asked an invigilator to help me too. Finally the invigilator contacted me a few minutes later and told me that he has logged me out first from the system and they finally could see me from the camera! So.. that's not the problem of my webcam at all but the Lockdown Browser itself! The total process distracted me for 10 to 15 mintutes I guess, but I was so relieved in the end that I did not need to re-boot my PC!

      Delete
    3. 'Proof of the pudding': I feel that your description as "contempt" is the most accurate way I've seen the treatment of candidates described so far. It is 100% accurate.

      However, I disagree with your statement that it is out of character for the EPO, especially after the number of notorious labor and union issues, the various controversy around Batistelli, and the related issues. The EPO gets its way one way or another, and has no accountability - why would the EQE be any different?

      Delete
  9. Interesting to note the following excerpt from the press release:

    "Under the Strategic Plan 2023, the EPO plans to deliver a complete, end-to-end digital EQE with a possible revision of the EQE legal framework, format and content of the exam."

    This means there is a "possible" change that can be expected from the Examination Committee in 2022. I am now very sorry that I did not do my paper "C" up to my potential this year.

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  10. I know many candidates have a very negative experience last week with the eEQEs. There are positives but there are are plenty of negatives. I think it would be a good idea if the EPO does a Q&A session with candidates as a follow up.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The Cats and Kittens commented as well - https://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2021/03/a-chaotic-start-to-eeqes.html

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  12. My D1-1 was terrible due to the false start.
    Luckily I good get my acts together in the break and did OK in D1-1 and D2. And the rest of the week. Except B, which was crazy.

    I have no clue how the Examination Board can do which is fair to all candidates. also for those that passed after long and hard study. 25 marks for free for D1-1 would not be fair if that causes badly prepared people to pass or compensable fail.

    NN

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    Replies
    1. They will not give "free points", that's not allowed nor called for (see the incident of 2007 if I recall correctly). However, adjusting the FR/EN marking w.r.t to DE marking in D1.1 seems more appropriate.
      I'm more concerned about the way they will handle B. Many of us struggled to find an acceptable compromise and were left without enough time to write a complete answer letter (incomplete 137(4)/ 56). How do you take that into account? How do you make a difference between someone who drafted a complete answer but with claims which are not OK, and someone who attempted better claims (did not succeed because of the problems of the paper) and ended up without a proper answer due to lack of time?

      Delete
    2. The same for paper C - many have struggled with the split and the unbalanced format of the exam this year. Alot did not finish.

      Delete
  13. agree re B. I ran out of time on I.S after 2 hours on amendment. I got the DP first solution (more or less), but reckon I need maximum marks on basis and novelty to pass since I.S last time was 40 marks! Not fair really when you can't do I.S until the end of the paper.

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  14. What a disrespectful statement from the EPO. The EPO is laughing at us!
    I wasn't expecting a press release apologizing for all all the chaos of last week, but this is infuriating!

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  15. The only way compensation may be provided for DI.1 disruption is to award 5-10 mark points to ALL candidates sitting the paper as a compensation bonus, as it was done for the "cold room" disruption. My 2 cents

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    1. I do not agree. The DE speaking candidates did not had stress and loss of focus, they did not realized what was happening. They had relaxed start of DI and 30 min longer to check and redo the questions.

      Compensation is needed for all EN/FR speaking candidates for D overall, not for DI-1 as the false start had domino effect.

      Extra stress and loss of focus in the beginning of DI and the fact that scheduled breaks between the parts of paper D were not extended affected all EN/FR speaking candidates overall performance in D.

      Delete
    2. @Mariya, I agree with you that DE-speaking candidates were not distracted at all and they had the advantage of extra 30 minutes. This is unfair! In fact I wish we could have 30 minutes more for every paper.. How can a client trust what a patent agent write if he is in a great rush?? doesn't make sense...

      Delete
    3. Quite frankly, D1 is not graded on a curve like D2. I would rather have 5-10 extra points than none of them.

      However, a solution that people would be happy with is to use the average points on the exam for DE speakers, compare that to the non-DE speakers, and add the difference to the non-DE speakers. If they aren't willing to do it for the whole exam, then do it for D1 only.

      There is no way that they can measure the cascading effect of the D1-1 problem and then reducing our breaks to compensate. We are owed bonus points and I hope that they figure out how to give them to us. If DE speakers get it as well, I can live with it.

      Delete
    4. Don't forget that the events of paper D also has knock on effects for the next day of paper A. I was sickly worried and anxious that Tuesday night.

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    5. True, Mon. Many candidates did not sleep well Tuesday-Wednesday night and were afraid of having same problem on Wednesday. However I think paper A was doable in spite of the stress

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  16. The EPO and the EQE have lost credibility through the eEqe 2021 and this press release. Wiseflow was not fit for purpose and the papers were not adapted adequately for the online exam. As a candidate I feel cheated out of a fair chance to perform fully due to the above defects. The mishaps that occurred only added to the unfairness. It should also be noted that Wiseflow have since announced a major upgrade to the browser which seems to confirm that the EQE was indeed the beta test for the platform. All in all a regrettable week for candidates topped off by salt rubbed in the wounds by the EPO.

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    1. "As a candidate I feel cheated out of a fair chance to perform fully due to the above defects". Completely agree. I will write off the expenses and never do this again. It is not doable for me.

      Delete
  17. Does anybody know if alternative attacks provided can also attract marks or would it be zero/heavily penalised.

    For me, it seems that C2 - you can start from A4 with A6. For C6 - you combine A5 with A6

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    1. Yes, I believe you can attract marks although probably not full marks. I think you can still attract quite alot of marks. For example, you may have a different CPA in combination with the right document.

      Delete
    2. If alternatives are valid then you can attract full marks

      Delete
  18. Oh my dear. Just read the press release. That has killed any hope I had of fair compensation. How could they do this to candidates? I feel like a guinea pig who's done its job and now can be discarded. Awful.

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    1. The EPO have been completely unreasonable this year to candidates.

      Delete
    2. @Anonymous 10 March 2021 at 07:35

      The people that made the press release are NOT the people that mark your papers and that decide on your final grade and result!

      The EQE Committees and the Examination Board will be as fair as they can be and will provide compensation where reasonable.
      They will understand your frustration and anger, but they cannot change the turn of events, but they can and will repair the damage as was promised in the Message from the Examination Board about paper D1.1 dated 3.3.2021.

      Delete
    3. Dear Roel,

      Thank you for providing all the information. The problems with this year's EQE is not limited to D1.1.

      A and B were full of mistakes and quite frankly badly written. In my opinion, for example, the amendment of method of calculus in B in French, did not mean anything.

      C was rendered too difficult due to the enormous amount of information and the separation in two parts.

      I think that for C , they wanted to counterbalance the possible use of search (ctrl +F) and copy/paste by adding extra information. As a result, a simple thing like writing a novelty attack was taking longer than in previous years due to the amount of definitions to use.

      A, B and C were also much more technical than in previous years.

      All in all, we had the impression that they quickly modified the papers that were originally drafted for 2020 and did not double check the difficulty and possible mistakes.

      Delete
    4. I agree with you Rol.

      BTW - if they didn't want candidates to use the Ctrl + F then they could have disabled it. Instead, they have made really bad and unworkable papers for candidates this year.

      Delete
  19. My firm will also submit a formal complaint that the papers this year were not suitably adapted for the eEQE format i.e. Length of paper C and B this year coupled with horrendous formatting issues in wiseflow.
    Should be able to inform the supervisory board.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and off course the debacle of DI

      Delete
    2. I may suggest that my firm do the same. We put up 4 candidates and all of them were affected by the D issue and 3 by the B issue.

      On C, I felt that if this would have been a 6 hours straight up exam, with no breaks, that I would have done better. But, in my firm, I was the only one affected.

      Delete
    3. Jordan - I would still suggest you ask your firm to support you on Paper C if they also felt it was an unreasonable paper. My firm has state that it will submit a formal complaint on behalf of the trainees at our firm. it will not just be about the exams but the extra burden that was placed on candidates this year leading up to the examination itself.

      Delete
  20. The press release by the EPO is wholly inaccurate and paints a beautiful smooth picture last week for candidates.

    It was the complete opposite. It did not only take a few minutes to resolve DI - it took 30-40 minutes. No mention of time affected or stress caused to candidates.

    Papers B and C were a joke. Paper A closely followed behind. Errors in papers.

    Im sorry but the press release by the EPO is simply not true or not the experience of many candidates who took it. I'm sure inviligator did not feel it was smooth on Tuesday morning either. Stop the lies as it indicates to others in the profession nothing was seriously wrong with it.

    Some papers clearly did not work with the new format and system they got in place.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Candidates spent an enormous amount of time in preparation with 3 mocks and the heavy admin burden placed on them before the exams. No mention of this in this PR stunt.

    The exams itself did not go smoothly at all and it seems they have just parked aside the issues and experiences of candidates.

    Tutors and bloggers have contributed hugely to help candidates but no mention of this.

    I feel completely insulted by this statement of the EPO.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The statement has left me feeling sad and low. It's clear the EPO will not make any reasonable adjustments to the marking this year of any of the eEQE online papers. I struggled alot with the online format of the papers this year and I did do the mocks to try and prepare as best I could. But I didn't think enough was done to adequately adapt the papers online.

      Delete
  22. The EPO statement is as far from the truth as it is. There were so many flaws and none of these were mentioned (apart from Di briefly and inaccurately). Yes, the exams were held online (which I'm grateful for) but I would not say it is a complete success and smooth running.

    What about the formatting issues, copying & paste, no highlighting function in Pdf, wiseflow crashes) alt. Tab, 10 tabs opened at once) confusing statement in this year papers, lack of or no adaptions of papers to accommodate limitations of the system, errors in papers, admin burden and overload.

    A shocking statement and frankly a bit insensitive.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Very sad to see how the EPO deals with problems. This communication was the last thing that candidates needed to see after a terrible EQE 2020 cancellation, a dysfunctional online exam system, formating problems, printing problems, a DI language-related heart attack, an indecipherable B papper, and a C paper with a length a complexity impossible to deal with using standard methodology.

    ReplyDelete
  24. SmoothEQE a joke!10 March 2021 at 08:48

    Post from director EPA Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/posts/xavier-seuba_eqe-goes-digital-activity-6775056829996138496-I7Qj). no prizes for guessing why the comments are turned off.
    So they know how annoyed many candidates are after this "smooth and successful exam".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can still share the post from director publicly and add comments when sharing and others can also comment to your post. It is not a big protection to turn of the comments.

      Delete
    2. That's shocking. One could say that someone not directly related to the matter wrote it for the EPO website... But now seeing the post by Xavier Seuba at LinkedIn is a HUGE disappointment. No self-criticism from the task force, no sympathy for the people would abdicated from so much to prepare... anyway... only shows that nothing will happen... because everything went super well.

      Delete
  25. thank you for your support DELTA PATENTS10 March 2021 at 09:28

    Will Delta Patent also submit a formal complaint to the EPO that the papers this year were not suitably adapted for the eEQE and extremely difficult with many mistakes ?

    ReplyDelete
  26. It is the turn of EPA now to prove that they have carried out the exam under the all due care criteria...

    ReplyDelete
  27. After the PR statement by the EPO, my firm has indicated their desire to submit a statement to the EPO because that its not the experience candidates faced last week.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This PR stunt from the EPO is just a PR disaster from a candidate's perspective. They should retract it or at least update it to tell the truth. Candidates feedback hasn't even been accounted for when they released this statement. It makes everyone else (who weren't involved in the exams) in the profession thinks everything was fine with it. That's NOT the case.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Second chance for EQE202110 March 2021 at 10:38

    Would it be fair to everyone that EPO holds a second EQE for 2021, say in summer 2021? It is technically possible for an online test, as EPO doesn't need to book big rooms in advance of one or two years anymore. The highest score from the two EQEs should be used to grade a pass or non-pass for each paper.

    In view of the fact that candidates 2020 has lost the chance to take EQE2020 and waited two whole years for EQE2021, it seems fair that candidates 2020 should be awarded to a second chance for taking EQE2021.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not with the flawed papers in this current system. It would be the same outcome. They need to adapt the papers to online. Not just simply upload the paper version online.

      Delete
    2. You hit the spot there - the papers this generally felt like it was properly adapted for online. It feels like they just loaded a made up paper (probably for EQE2020) online and put the splits in. That will do. No consideration on the impact or confusion and formatting issues candidates have.

      Delete
    3. You hit the spot there - the papers this year generally felt like it was NOT properly adapted for online. It feels like they just loaded a made up paper (probably for EQE2020) online and put the splits in. That will do. No consideration on the impact or confusion and formatting issues candidates have.

      Delete
    4. Great idea. I strongly agree. The EQE candidates of 2020 should be awarded a second chance for taking the EQE in 2021, given the cancellation in 2020 and the manner the eEQE 2021 was conducted (chaos, lack of adaptation etc.)

      Delete
    5. No please no, not another EQE in 2021! Not another Wiseflow-Lockdown week!

      Delete
  30. Slap in the candidate's face10 March 2021 at 10:38

    This is all I can say about this statement from the EPO - a slap in the candidate's face. It was anything but smooth.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I bet the EPO had quite some expenses for setting up the e-EQE to be covered by the Exam fees we have to pay twice, now. That is how I see it and I will not participate any longer. I question their rule of law anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I'm a qualified European patent attorney and have been helping/supporting trainees at my workplace. I shall be submitting a complaint to the EPO with regards to the examination process and papers this year.

    At the end of the day, it is about fairness to both EPO and candidates. In this instance, it is clear to me the process and papers this year have treated candidates unfairly compared to previous years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the support. I wish more EPAs and firms react same way.
      In plus tutors/coaches and epi members dealing with the EQE preparation need to make official statements with respect to what happened this EQE season

      Delete
  33. I asked before, but asking again (as didn't get an answer), how can we file an official complain to EPO for EQE2021? Is sending an email to helpdesk sufficient?

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I am doing and my firm will to do it too. I know no other way but they need to know.

      Delete
  34. I wrote to helpdesk. According point 11 of OJ 2021, A13: If a candidate wants to file a complaint concerning the conduct of the pre-examination or the main examination, they must do so as soon as possible (at the latest by the end of the day on which the examination was taken) by emailing it together with a written statement of the facts to the Examination Secretariat (helpdesk@eqe.org).
    I don't know other way

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I submitted a complaint about Paper B on the morning of Paper C because I was too exhausted to do it on the day. It was within 24 hours of the exam, but it seems even that was too late.

      This is something else to raise with the EPO: expecting the candidates to complain on the same day is wholly unreasonable, especially as most candidates are sitting several exams in a row.

      Delete
    2. Did you see the message about emails to Secretariat being forwarded on the webpage?
      Clear from that message: also emails send later than the date of the exam will be considered. So no need to refrain from sending emails about your personal circumstances and experiences to the Examination Board by email to the Examination Secretariat (helpdesk@eqe.org).

      Delete
  35. In understand a lot of money will be saved by not having to hold the exam in-person, and I certainly appreciate not having to travel to Walsall to sit the exam. At the same it it was very obvious that the exam was far less secure than it was in the pervious format.

    Simple human nature means it is very likely that if it possible for people to cheat, then some will. This is particularly the case given that candidates have a strong financial incentive to pass the exams and many sit and re-sit the exams without success.

    WiseFlow can only control the things it can sense, which is a very limited arc of view of the camera and what might be picked up by the microphone, which again will be limited. It is obvious that cheating is quite possible, much more so that in the in-person exam where everyone is under the eyes of th4e invigilators.

    Hopefully I never have to sit these exams again so it doesn't directly affect me so much, but I do worry that, because of financial considerations, it is going to become permanent. I understand that booking Walsall cost CIPA ~£20,000+ each year, for which they received no help from either the EPO or UKIPO. I'm not trying to minimise the problems some face attending the exams in person, particularly single parents.

    At the same time if the exams are not held securely then they may as well not be held.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arghh... typos:
      pervious = previous
      if it possible = if it is possible

      Delete
  36. as far as I know, many candidates are fine with EQE going digital. The problem is how it was conducted and the papers were not really ideal for online exam. I don't understand how can anyone even cheat in Paper B to C, it requires a lot of reading and a lot of analysis in a limited time. Also, they are open book exam. For paper D1, I can understand. But for that also risk was minimized by splitting it into two parts. At least on the measures against cheating, the EPO did pretty well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. include paper A as well to that list.

      Delete
  37. I assume the EPO receives hundreds of complaints every year. Since most of the candidates work in law firms the tendency to appeal probably is relatively high.

    And honestly speaking, I believe this year's exams were hard but still "beatable". For me, the advantages of the possibility to write it on a computer outweights the effects of the formatting errors and the scrolling orgies by far. I probably would have managed to write only half as much by hand. Also the possibility to access the legal texts electronically and to start reading already 20 minutes before the start of the flows were clear advantages.

    After reading DPs solutions I might still have failed one (D will be a close call) but I always knew that the likelihood of passing all at first try is small - as it always has been.

    Yes, I also hoped for an easier exam this year, given that I already have been thrown back one year due to last year's cancellation. But this is no basis for complaints. If I have to sit another exam next year, I still would prefer this system over the old pre-covid one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please, those 20 minutes for printing should not count as advantage for doing eEQE! I could not read documents during these 20 minutes. The printer in my firm was very slow and I also switched computers for printing & writing: I used my own laptop for eEQE (because of the damn admin's right for the Lockdown browser) but it could not print, so I needed to use the PC in my firm to print first and then turned the PC off and then connected keyboard/mouse/internet cable to my own laptop and then switched on my laptop to log into WISEflow...

      Delete
    2. I don't think you can use or say that 20 minutes as an advantage. Without claims or application as filed etc, it didn't really help much - the EPO made sure of it. Also, the time was genuinely used for printing.

      I would argue that without the whole paper with you, it is more of a disadvantage this year for candidates. Like the pilot scheme, they need to find a way to allow candidates to have a paper version and type online. To me, that will be the best eEQE going forward. Not all the confusion the current format is causing by printing some bits, hiding some bits of the paper.

      Delete
    3. Papers B and C for me were not beatable at all in the time given. It was far too complex and the difficulty level were so much higher compared to previous years.

      Delete
    4. Depending on the printer, where it is located and the number of pages printed, 20 minutes may only allow you to start the printing, recover the printed pages and enter the flow. Nothing more !

      Delete
    5. Not beatable - paper C was definitely beatable... it was a pretty easy paper. Paper B, however, may have been beatable but through luck as much as skill - I have no idea what the model answers will be for this, it was just horrible.

      Delete
  38. I am in favour of online exams but it is clear this year that papers B and C were not adequately adapted for online. As a result, many candidates will fail papers because the papers were not in line to the standards of previous years as promised.
    Papers B and C were impossible to do properly within the time given. The split in C created confusion for many. There was barely anytime in C1 to really write things down. C2 - it was also time constrained as many candidates had to read all the prior art again.

    So there is a strong case that the EPO did not provide papers in line with previous years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with your assessment. However, I won't be shocked if the results are in line with past year results. Almost 4K candidates wrote this exam..even if it is assumed that one candidates comments only once on DP's blog, it is not a big enough subset to know general consensus among candidates. I don't see enough noise on Linkedin either. This ride is not over yet. I presume.

      Delete
    2. The difficulty with C paper this year is knowing which features to ignore and which to use in first part and second part. It didn't help that the features were so similar. I think elastomer had about 2 or 3 different meanings causing confusion especially when you haven't seen all the claims and application as filed. When you do realise, you can't go back and change it.

      Delete
    3. Hi EQE ride, do you suggest that the general consensus is that all is fine?

      I do not agree!

      Not all was fine. Not at all. D1-1 no comments needed. A acceptable. B not OK. C not OK.

      Delete
    4. All I am saying is that I have seen enough on this EQE ride and I would not be shocked to see if the results are similar to past results.
      At no point, I suggest that general consensus is fine. It is difficult to know the general consensus as I don't see enough uproar considering 4K candidates wrote this exam.
      My whole D was a disaster, thanks to D1-1. Pages in C seemed far too many to manage. Could not finish IS for B. Paper B for me is a story to tell. I wrote last 1.5 hours knowing that I cannot finish this exam. No matter, how fast I type, no matter how many abbreviations I use. I had templates in place to have an elaborated IS argument as it is almost 35 percent of the exam. Could not even touch them.

      Just to make it clear again, I am not saying that the general consensus is okay.

      Delete
    5. It was very much a mix. Paper D was fine as a paper - I think - but part 1.1 just destroyed it for so many people. Paper A wasn't too bad. The wording wasn't laid out as nicely as most years but the features needed were there. B was hard, no two ways about it. It was a hard paper made harder by the online format. Paper C was also fine as a paper. Part 1 of paper C was difficult for time, but part 2 was actually pretty relaxed and quite a nice paper on the whole. There was nothing wrong with Paper C.

      Delete
    6. Spilt made paper C very confusing, unbalanced and disjointed. It was clear that the C committee didn't account for the split properly. It threw off alot of candidates. Also it was the longest C paper ever and the subject matter is not exactly the most accessible for all candidates.

      Delete
  39. OK, the press release is overdoing it, and I also did not like paper B, but on the whole I have to say for me the online EQE was a pretty positive experience. I did have some submission problems, but the people on Zendesk were helpful in solving them. Other than that it went pretty smoothly for me.

    Personally, if I had to choose between this and a paper EQE for which I have to stay in a hotel for a week and write everything by hand, I would certainly choose the electronic one.

    But it would be good if the EPO showed a bit more understanding about the problems that occurred. And if they switched to something more professional than the LockDown Browser next year...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hammered into the ground13 March 2021 at 00:09

      Hearing you consider this "a pretty positive experience", I am instantly reminded of the expression that the beatings shall continue until morale improves. For my part I have had a lot of exams in my time but none as brutal as this.

      Delete
    2. I think one might say that there is a general consensus that it is better to sit the exams in an online format rather than the old format. For me, there is no doubt about it. However, having set of 4 exams this year, it was clear that the system was not adapted. The fear of cheating was sooooo huge and it ultimately lead to unreasonable exam conditions. For instance, the printing part could have been highly simplified if they had just let print everything and asked candidates to have multiple cameras (front angle, back angle and some other angle). Everyone knwows that cheating is both risky in the short term as the candidate can be excluded and in the long term as the candidate will not be fit for practice. No one wants a bad reputation as an EPA.

      Delete
    3. Hi Petrol, I fully agree!

      Delete
  40. Judging by the difficulties of the papers this year, there's going to be triple the number of candidates taking the EQEs next year.

    ReplyDelete
  41. While the benefits of an e-EQE are numerous starting with the fact that probably all patent attorneys do their job on a computer, the papers this year were clearly not adapted to an online environment. At the end of each paper, my vision was blurred due to the inability to print some parts of the paper and to the poor editing options provided by WiseFlow. While such platform may be adapted for other exams, it was clearly not adapted for e-EQE. If an e-EQE like the one we had last week happenned somewhere in early 2000, I would understand the technical limitations. However, it happened in March 2021.

    What is even more astonishing is that some of the system failures candidates encountered also happened during the mocks. The blogs roared with them. During each Mock, candidates were encouraged to indicate the difficulties they encountered to the Secretariat so the organisers were normally aware of them.

    Furthermore, I would not call a success the fact that one could not enter the flow for 30 minutes. It is like sitting in the doorstep of the exam room without being able to start reading the questions while everybody else started the exam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that Wiseflow-Lockdown provides too poor editing options.
      Layout lost when copying parts.
      No underlining.
      Line spacing fixed at a too narrow spacing.
      Can only see one spot of the answer.
      Cannot zoom in or out.
      Increasing and decreasing indent in enumerated and dashed lists is a pain.
      Keyboard shortcuts do not all work.
      Some keyboard shortcuts are fatal.
      Why did they pick Wiseflow-Lockdown?
      Even the name is also not appropriate while we are all in COVID-19 lockdown. Or rather, it is too appropriate. We were locked in a system that is dangerous rather than supportive.

      Delete
  42. Completely agree. It is true that a patent attorney mainly does his/her work on the computer, but it is not a rush against (insufficient) time with the risk of overlooking, plenty of mistyping and horrible phrasing. Even more, in my daily job, I print out whichever document I want.

    As to the D1-1 accident, the "domino effect" on almost the whole paper is a matter of fact. And the 30 minutes extension made things even more unfair: given to the benefit of all, when the non-EN/FR did not even notice the disruption, but nicely had 30 minutes "for free".

    I also had problems (and headaches) with all this scrolling and having so many documents just on monitor. This also determines a serious loss of time, since I had to (try) to take note on paper on how to retrieve the relevant information.

    By the way, any one who may suggest how to file a complaint or the like? Indeed I do not mean moving a battle against anyone, but I believe it would be good if we can make them aware of all these issues we encountered.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A patent attorney does his/her work on a computer with software at his/her choice. That works well. Not with the poor functionality of wiseflow-lockdown. We made it clear on the blogs after Mock 1 and Mock 2. Nothing improved after all our posts. Is not the purpose of a Mock to improve on it all before the real thing?

      Delete
  43. The EQE going online is not a free pass to disadvantage candidates through the use of primitive software. Those of you hoping for a 2nd EQE 2021 are naive. That won't happen. If the same situation with wiseflow occurrs next year I will withdraw in protest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. withdraw in protest is good! I will walk away from the profession altogether. I just don't see how to pass b or c next year under the same conditions.

      Delete
  44. The new format has proven to run very smoothly. The only exception was a disruption affecting paper D1.1, when the paper was at first only available in German, and not in English or French, which was solved quickly within a few TERRIFYING minutes.

    Does anyone know if tears get flagged as cheating by the invigilation software? Is the facial recognition software able to cope with the face a grown adult makes when crying?

    ReplyDelete