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EQE: 7 Mar 2023 - D Exam - copy to try yourself and my comments

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Tuesday was the e-EQE D Exam (D1-1: 0930-1105 CET – 95 mins, D1-2: 1135-1315 CET – 100 mins, D2: 1400-1645 CET – 165 mins). If you want to try yourself, see here for three files in English: D1-1 (2023), D1-2 (2023) and D2 (2023). The text was extracted from my answers (sorry, no French or German). The EPO normally makes official copies available in the compendium in the week after the EQE.
I am reasonably confident that the D1 questions in these copies are complete. For D2, I am not so sure – the copy/paste is still not reliable.
See below for some of my comments, which include some mild spoilers. Feel free to leave comments here or in the Telegram groups.
I made the exam at the same time as candidates as a bench marker. The Examination Committees have 5 external people per exam, and the answers are used for Committee discussions. They do not directly influence the marking, but allow group discussions in the committees after the exam on what should and should not be awarded marks.
If you had any issues the exams, you must report them before the end of that day using the online form. However, it is always possible to supply additional comments as soon as possible to helpdesk@eqe.org. Nowadays most of the complaints are technical, but you can complain about any aspect that affected your time and/or concentration.

  • I did see a warning that I might need to refresh. And, when I started D1-1, there was an error fetching the assignment. Luckily I know from the past that F5 works. It amazes me that “modern” software can generate an error but not automatically retry reloading the assignment 🀬.
  • I saw many comments later that candidates did not know how to refresh:
    • the refresh icon is the “clockwise arrow” at the top left between X and (i).
    • F5 should also work (at least in Windows).
  • I thought the D1 was reasonable. They are asking more PCT questions, which I support. Not because I am the author of a PCT book πŸ˜‰, but because
    • almost 50% of EP applications are Euro-PCT applications
    • the practical PCT knowledge of many practicing attorneys is very low (luckily they are assisted in practice by highly knowledgeable and experienced Formalities Officers)
  • Sidetrack – some suggestions to improving PCT knowledge
    • Introduce Permanent Education for qualified EPA’s
    • Don’t treat PCT as an add-on to EPC during training. A lot of candidates try to pass without studying PCT in-depth (and many succeed).
    • Teach PCT International Phase before EPC because it is a generic filing and search module. It incorporates generic common aspects that are found in almost all national laws (for example, it can easily be combined with Paris Convention).
    • Improve the practical PCT knowledge of tutors
    • Formally recognise the resources used in preparation to REE Rule 22: the Euro-PCT Guide, WIPO Administrative Instructions, WIPO AG-IP, AG-NP and WIPO ISPE Guidelines.
  • Most of the subjects have been asked before in different forms.
  • There was the classic question about a “recent” G-decision – the skill is then to quickly find it in your references and then apply the headnotes to the facts from the question.
  • Q. 5 was an unusual PCT question (11 marks). This has been asked before, but I think the committee underestimates how much time this question actually takes to answer during an exam. It is relatively quick to give a top-level back-of-the-envelop draft of an answer, but some of the pieces need to be checked and it covers a lot of law – PCT filing, regional entry, EP filing (as comparison), and EP law spread out over several books and several chapters in books.
  • D2 was the shortest ever in time – 45 marks only available in 165 mins (in 2022, 55 marks were available in 200 mins).
  • I thought this D2 (2023) was very difficult to do in the time given – it seems as if the amount of subject matter was similar to 2022, but you had 35 minutes less. My feeling was that I needed at least another 20 mins.
  • The D2 2022 (200 mins) and D2 2023 (165 mins) are both 4 pages of facts requiring 5 products to be considered. I still don’t understand why the Committees thing that longer texts can be solved in less time. Particularly on D2, EVERY sentence must be read to decide what to do with it. The current D2’s have very little story elements, so every comment could be critical. In particular, non-native speakers cannot read between the lines as well as native speakers, so they are greatly disadvantaged by “just explain more”. And the whole point of D2 is that candidates get the end to advise the client – otherwise it just becomes another D1 exercise. This 2023 D2exam should have only had 3 pages of facts.
  • As far as I could see, the D2 legal issues were not too complicated, and I think I have seen most before.
  • I wasted so much time copy/pasting in WISEflow and trying to scroll backwards and forwards in my single window answer. It is like trying to write a patent application on your phone πŸ˜’. Sometimes you want to check if you have already dealt with something. And it is vital that you don’t forget to use something important that you already noticed.
    • I would like to see a video of a non-native speaker completing this exam after seeing it for the first time in WISEflow under exam conditions within 165 mins.
  • The assignment preview is still worthless because of the sizing, and blurring issues, with still no possibility to copy/paste from it or to highlight.
  • And, yes, it is now possible to highlight, but that is also not very useful because you have to switch modes so that you can copy/paste, and the highlighting that you add is not visible in other tabs. You can waste a lot of time highlighting.
  • It cannot be technically that difficult to allow 2x tabs to be placed next to each other, either different views of your own answer or your answer next to a highlightable copy/pastable pdf.
  • I like that they are now explicit in the questions about the subject matter to be dealt with in your answers.
  • But I am still amazed that they expect you to still work out most of the publication dates yourself for applications – if it is critical for the answer, they should just include it. You waste a lot of time checking your own calculations. Particularly, when you have 35 minutes less to do the same work as in 2022


D1 / D2 / EQE2023

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4 replies on “EQE: 7 Mar 2023 – D Exam – copy to try yourself and my comments”

I heard from several people who used Advanced Search during the mocks reported that the Advanced Search on the EPO website was not working. This is important because it is not possible to open the large pdf’s such as the Guidelines in WISEFLOW to allow in-browser searching (Ctrl-F). WISEflow also does not allow in-browser searching (Ctrl-F) of the web pages.

That problem brought me in some trouble because I used this search function most of the time in my preparation and was used to it – and I mostly was very quick and efficient with it to find my information. I didn’t print the EPO guidelines so it made the exams hard for me and maybe D1 was a failure. I filed a complaint but I don’t know if that gives any benefit.

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