REE for New EQE adopted by Admin Council (Updated 29/2/2024: IPREE for New EQE published)

This Thursday, 14 December 2023, the Administrative Council of the EPO adopted, unanimously, the new "Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives" (REE) for the New EQE (CA/D 25/23). The Implementing Regulations thereto are expected to be adapted by the Supervisory Board of the EQE in the coming week(s). The new REE enters into forms on 1 January 2025 and will supersede those of 2009. The new REE, together with the IPREE, contains details transitional provisions.

EQE 2024 will still be conducted under the current provisions, i.e., with a Pre-Exam and papers A, B, C and D.

The new papers of the New EQE will be gradually introduced as of 2025 (Art. 27 REE):
- a new Foundation paper in 2025,
- new Main exam papers M1 and M2 in 2026, and
- new Main exam papers M3 and M4 in 2027.

The EQEs of 2025 and 2026 will also still comprise the current A, B, C and D papers for those candidates eligible for those papers and wanting to take those (unless they have already enrolled for a New EQE paper, in which case they need to continue in the New EQE system).

For the current EQE, sitting the Pre-Exam requires a 2-year full-time supervised training period for patent attorney trainees (" including taking part in a wide range of activities pertaining to European patent applications or European patents") and 3 years for EPO examiners, and sitting the A, B, C and D papers requires 3-year full-time supervised training for patent attorney trainees and 4 yrs for examiners.
For the New EQE, the required training periods are the same for patent attorney trainees and for EPO examiners (Art. 11 REE):

- the new Foundation paper requires at least 1 yr of full-time supervised training,
- the new Main exam papers M1 and M2 requires 2 yrs of full-time supervised training, and
- the new Main exam papers M3 and M4 requires 3 yrs of full-time supervised training.

DeltaPatents will provide Foundation Integrated & Foundation Distance Learning courses to allow candidate to prepare thoroughly for the the legal part as well as the claims part of the Foundation paper of 2025 (see below).

Principles of the New EQE

According to the summary on the cover page of CA/87/23, "The reform is based on the principles of progressiveness, modularity and sustainability and follows a competence-based approach, laying the foundations for a complete redesign of the examination. The new modules draw on the framework for existing papers with a view to preserving excellence whilst fostering modernisation. The main objective remains promoting candidates who are fit for practice and further reinforcing the EQE's central importance for a well-functioning European patent system."

"The core principles of a competence-based examination, progressiveness, modularity and sustainability are embedded in the new REE (Articles 1(4), 1(5), and 20) and the corresponding rules of the IPREE (Rules 2, 6, 10, 22-26)" (item 17 of CA/87/23).

"The focus of the five modules of the new EQE gradually shifts from legal and procedural knowledge towards practical application of that knowledge. Candidates will be required to prove their professional skills and a broad range of competences
- over a three-year period or,
- should they prefer to do so, once this period has elapsed
(item 18 of CA/87/23; formatting added).

(Figure duplicated from item 27 of CA/87/23).

"If the papers are taken in a sequential manner in accordance with the respective minimum number of years of experience described above, then all papers are mandatory.
Alternatively, according to Rule 10 IPREE, should candidates decide to take the papers in one go after having acquired the relevant minimum number of years of experience, they will be exempted from the introductory Module F [provided they pass at least i) M1 and M2 or ii) M2 and M3; also referred to as 'Freischutz' option]."
(item 30 of CA/87/23; formatting added and clarification on exemption added].


The exam papers of the New EQE

According to item 31-37 of CA/87/23 [some clarification (provisional information) added in square brackets]:

"31. The competence-based approach and the principle of progressiveness are embodied in the modular framework. The five modules proposed capture the elements of declarative, procedural and strategic knowledge embedded in the competences.

32. The assessment sequence begins with the testing of candidates' factual knowledge, and complex competences are not introduced until subsequent modules. Candidates can therefore focus on declarative and procedural matters before grappling with the in-depth practical tests.

33. An introductory Module F, or foundation paper F, tests declarative knowledge in procedural patent law and claim analysis (Article 1(5)(a) REE and Rule 22 IPREE). [further development of Pre-Exam; computer-marked; 2 parts of 2 hours; requires pass in both parts in one sitting]

34. Module 1, or main paper 1 [M1], assesses whether the candidate can carry out tasks relating to the analysis and assessment of information and evaluate and act on instructions from a client (Article 1(5)(b) REE and Rule 23 IPREE). [new; computer-marked and free-text; 2 x 90 minutes]

35. Module 2, or main paper 2 [M2], examines whether the candidate can apply procedural and substantive patent law of the EPC and the PCT. It assesses whether the candidate is familiar with all procedures established by the EPC and the PCT and with the procedural law (Article 1(5)(c) REE and Rule 24 IPREE). [further development of D1 part of paper D; at least half are open questions; 2 parts max 90 minutes, total 2,5-3 hours]

36. Module 3, or main paper 3 [M3], establishes whether a candidate possesses the required skills to assess and to draft and develop patent documentation and submissions. It consists of three parts, addressing the drafting of claims, the response to Office actions and opposition (Article 1(5)(d) REE and Rule 25 IPREE). [further development of papers A, B and C; free-text; 3 parts of 2-3 hours, total 7,5 hours; requires pass in all three parts in one sitting]

37. Module 4, or main paper 4 [M4], assesses the candidate's competence in advising a client and providing an answer in the form of a legal opinion responding to an enquiry (Article 1(5)(e) REE and Rule 26 IPREE)." [further development of D2 part of paper D; free-text; 2-2,5 hours]

(Figure duplicated from item 38 of CA/87/23).

"Over a period of 3 years, starting in 2025, the new modules will be progressively deployed and the present papers will be phased out. This means that 2024 will see the last edition of an entirely traditional EQE. In 2025, the new Module F will be launched and no pre-examination will be held. In 2026, the present papers and the new modules will co-exist, and in 2027 the fully-fledged new EQE modules will be in place. Furthermore, Article 25 REE establishes a detailed system of equivalence between the present papers and future modules [and transitional provisions/exemptions]." (item 45 of CA/87/23).

Art. 25 REE provides, amongst other things, that examination papers sat and passed before the entry into force of the new Regulation, i.e., before 1 January 2025, provide exemptions "if candidates have passed [one or more of the current exam papers; note that a compensable fail is not sufficient]:
(a) the pre-examination, they are exempted from sitting foundation paper F and main examination paper M1;
(b) Paper A, they are exempted from sitting part 1 of main examination paper M3;
(c) Paper B, they are exempted from sitting part 2 of main examination paper M3;
(d) Paper C, they are exempted from sitting part 3 of main examination paper M3;
(e) Paper D, they are exempted from sitting main examination papers M2 and M4."
(f)-(h) as well as in some specific situations given in Art. 25(2)(f)-(h) REE, in particular relating to candidates that passed A, B, C or D when the pre-exam did not yet exist or when no pre-exam was held in the year before they passed A, B, C or D (i.e., when they sat and passed A, B, C or D in 2021 after the cancellation of EQE 2020 incl pre-exam 2020).

Further, under Art. 25(6) REE, "candidates eligible for the pre-examination on the date of the 2025 examination will be exempt from the pre-examination". Hence, these candidates can sit the (last) ABCD papers, in 2026 without having passed a pre-examination. Note that to sit A, B, C or D in 2025, passing the Pre-Exam in 2024 (or earlier) is mandatory.

Also, under Art. 25(7) REE, "Once candidates have enrolled for a paper under this Regulation, they can no longer enrol for a paper under the Regulation of 2009." Hence, candidates that take the new foundation paper in 2025, cannot sit A, B, C or D in 2026 but need to continue in the New EQE system.

Preparation for EQE 2025

DeltaPatents will provide an extensive legal/claims analysis course for the Foundation paper of 2025, building on and replacing our current Pre-Exam Integrated and Pre-Exam Distance Learning course, but adapted for the change in syllabus, exam format and any other relevant differences between the Pre-Exam and the Foundation paper. As our Pre-Exam courses for EQE 2024 and before, our Foundation Integrated & Foundation Distance Learning courses will comprise a series of bi- or tri-weekly sessions (full days sessions on-site in NL; 1,5 hour sessions Distance via video conference; in-house on request), starting in May (provisional). These courses will be announced on our website once the new IPREE has been adopted and published. 

DeltaPatents will of course also continue to provide courses for the A, B, C and D papers of 2025.

For EQE 2026, DeltaPatents will provide courses for the Foundation Paper F, the New Main paper M1 and the new Main Paper M2 of the new EQE as well as the A, B, C and D papers of 2026.


For details on the new REE, please refer to Admin Council documents CA/87/23 (proposal) and CA/D 25/23 (decision). The REE for the New EQE has been published in OJ 2024, A4.

This post will be updated when the IPREE has been adopted by the Supervisory Board and the full text of the adopted IPREE are available - expected soon.

Update 19/1/2024:
The EPO and epi press releases, and the New EQE information on the EQE website, indicated that the IPREE was expected to become available in December 2023, but that has now changed into Q1 2024.

Update 29/2/2024:
The IPREE for the New EQE has been published today in
OJ 2024, A25.
Further, the annoucement of EQE 2025 has been published today in OJ 2024, A26 including registration and enrolment deadlines.

Note: The information given by us in this blog and in the comments thereto below is based on our understanding of all available information. Although we believe it is correct, we cannot guarantee that is correct in full and it may contain ambiguities, errors or omissions. Neither DeltaPatents nor the author accept any liability for the correctness or completeness of the information given. If the reader believes that correction or clarification is needed, the reader is invited to contact us via email or to give a comments to this blog - it is checked regularly by us for new comments. For any formal or official information, the reader is referred to the New REE itself, the information on the EQE website, and the EQE secretariat. 


  1. The transitional provisions seem to be quite unfair to the ones of us elegible to take Papers A, B, C and D in 2026.

    If we take all the old EQE papers in 2026 and pass all but one paper we will need to take all parts of the new examination (M1-4) in 2027, as the exemptions of Art 25 only apply to papers passed before 2025.
    Alternatively, if we sit the new EQE starting from F in 2025 we will only be able to take the final exams (M3-4) in 2027 anyways.
    Seems like we need to take a risk and sit all old EQE papers in 2026 or be patient and accept that we won’t be able to qualify until we take M3 and M4 in 2027.

    Or am I understanding Art 25 wrong, and maybe we will still benefit from the exemptions of Art 25 for old EQE papers sat and passed in 2025 and 2026?

    1. Gabriele Honecker19 December 2023 at 10:33

      Where do you get your interpretation from?

      If you think about Article 25 (2)(f), I think that the reason it is there is that when the 2020 EQE was cancelled, people where allowed to write the 2021 EQE main exams without having passed any Pre-EQE (as this was cancelled in 2020, too). Thus, I understand (f) as ensuring that even if you belong to that particular group, you don't have to do F and M1 if you passed at least one of the Papers A, B, C at some point.

    2. @TS
      I think your interpretation is correct - those who pass any of the current main EQE papers in 2025 or 2026 won't benefit from the exemptions in Art.25(2) because they'd have been passed after 1 January 2025. It seems that the transition provisions are written to encourage the uptake of the new EQE.

    3. @DE I agree, they seem to want to push candidates towards the new EQE. However, I wonder why they didn’t then schedule to hold all new EQE exams in 2026, so that candidates with 3 years experience could qualify in the same year they would qualify by passing all old EQE papers.

      On the other hand, Art 25 (3) seems to specify that Papers A, B, C and D passed in 2025 and 2026 will also be grounds for the exemptions of 25(1) as they are “valid in accordance with a past regulation”.

    4. @TS It's written really badly - I assume you're referring to 25(3) and the fact that it's all talking about future exemptions in a past tense. My understanding is that old style EQE papers can be sat in 2025 or 2026 and will constitute exemptions to the relevant modules from 2026 onwards.

    5. @TS: Your understanding of Art(1) 25 as it is phrased in the New REE as adopted by the Admin Council (CA/D 25/23) is not wrong. However, we have been informed that the phrasing is not fully correct and that it will be repaired: the intention has always been that you can also benefit from the exemptions of Art 25(2)-(4) New REE for old EQE papers (A, B, C and D) sat and passed in 2025 and 2026.

  2. Am I right in my understanding that candidates elegible to take Papers A, B, C and D in 2026 do not have to write the pre-exam paper in 2025?

    1. No pre-exam will be held in 2025 so candidates eligible to sit A, B, C, D for the first time in 2026 are exempted from the pre-exam (Art.25(6)). But candidates taking that path of the old (current) main exams risk having to start again in the new system because any of A, B, C or D passed in 2026 (or 2025) won't provide exemptions from the new modules (see TS comment @ 18 December 2023).

    2. Yes, "candidates eligible for the pre-examination on the date of the 2025 examination will be exempt from the pre-examination" means that they can sit A, B, C and/or D papers in 2026 without having pass a pre-examination (provided that they satisfy the 3-yr training requirement as patent attorney trainee or 4-yr training requirement as EPO examiner acc. Art.11 old REE). It is similar as the situation in 2021, where candidates that were eligible to sit the pre-exam in 2020 (which was cancelled due to covid) could sit A, B, C and/or D - but now it is explicitly codified in Art.25(6) New REE.
      Note that to sit A, B, C or D in 2025, passing the Pre-Exam in 2024 (or earlier) is mandatory.

    3. @DE: see my reply above to TS (Roel van Woudenberg 19 January 2024 at 08:52).

  3. Thank you @Roel for this summary! If I understand correctly, even if by 2026 a candidate has completed the three years of training, they can sit only M1 and M2?

    Will Delta Patents announce preparation for the 2025 F Exam? I see only PRE Exam training.

    1. Your understanding is not fully correct:
      If by 2026 a candidate has completed the three years of training, they can sit A, B, C and D in 2026 without the need to have passed a Pre-Exam (assuming the candidate was eligible to sit the -cancelled- pre-exam in 2025). Note that you should NOT sit the Foundation Paper in 2025 if you wish to take this rote, in view of Art.25(7) New REE.
      Alternatively, they could step into the New EQE system in full: F in 2025, M1 and M2 in 2026 and M3 and M4 in 2027).

      And yes, of course DeltaPatents will provide training for the 2025 Foundation Exam, courses as well as Q&A books. We are waiting for the Supervisory Board to adopt the New IPREE before we announce. You can expect a similar offer as we had for the Pre-Exam:
      Our core program will be an Foundation Integrated Onsite (NL) and Distance course covering the full syllabus from the Foundation paper in (probably 13) sessions distributed between May until February (which you can also use in a two-stage preparation when planning to sit A, B, C and D in 2026: this course in a first round/year as if you would prepare for a pre-exam in 2025, then to be followed up by further enhancing legal knowledge and exam training in the second year towards 2026).
      We will also offer a short methodology course (between 3 and 5 days) for the Foundation Paper in December of January. We will decide on the details of that course when the IPREE is available (specifying the syllabus in legal terms) and, in view of new formats for questions, when Mock Exams are available from the EQE.

  4. The IPREE for the New EQE has been published today in OJ 2024, A25.

    Further, the annoucement of EQE 2025 has been published today in OJ 2024, A26 including registration and enrolment deadlines.

    The blog post has been updated with this information (almost at the end), including links to OJ 2024, A25 and A26.


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