After a lot of work behind the scenes, the EPO and epi have published their extensive proposals for the new e-EQE. There are even mock exams for you to try. And they want your feedback …
The proposal documents are on the New EQE pages of the EPO website. The consultation will run from the second half of May until 15 July 2022. The mock papers will be accessible in WISEflow, but you must sign up separately, even if you already have an account.
The proposal consists of 2 foundation and 4 main modules that gradually progress from acquiring legal and procedural knowledge towards its practical application.
The new format is adapted to online exam taking – the time on the computer during the exams will be shorter, and there is a combination of autoscoring (multiple choice) and open questions. The material that can actually be tested in each exam is therefore reduced, but that is compensated by having a broader range of situations that need to be prepared. These situations have all been explicitly mentioned in the proposal, so you can see exactly what you need to know.
I am already a big fan of M4 (Advising the Client) because it includes:
- Understand and know infringing activities (in comparative patent law),
thus being capable of determining the rights conferred by a patent, their duration
and which acts need to be performed to be able to enforce them.
Feedback can be provided by questionnaire once the mock papers are available. The earliest that these changes could be introduced is EQE 2024. They have already indicated that EQE 2023 will follow the current regulations and formats.
11 replies on “Sign up to try the NEW e-EQE”
Very useful post, thank you! I wonder if they will publish a table to explain what happens to those who have started the old EQE and passed the pre-examination and one or more papers. In my case I just passed the pre-examination and I am planning to sit paper A and D only next year.
Yes, they will definitely do this once the module contents are finalised and agreed. But this proposal is so detailed and well-worked out, I cannot imagine that it will change much. I like the move more towards more practical skills than a lot of theory. And the move away from a dedicated (and artificial) opposition exam.
In general, it looks like passing the Pre-exam is equivalent to F1 and F2.
M3 seems to be 1.5xD1, but that is currently not a separate exam.
M4 seems to be 1.5xD2, but that is also not currently a separate exam.
M1 and M2 are covering the current A, B and C.
I think the likeliest scenario will be that any one allowed to do the main examination does not need to do the F1 and F2 modules. For resitters, it would be reasonable to not look for a 1:1 match, but look at what still needs to be done. So, if you need to pass 2 exams, then you will have to pass 2 of the new modules. If you only need to pass 1 exam, than again only 1 module needs to be passed. It would also be great if there were some options.
A or B not passed => take M2
AB not passed => take M1 + M2
C not passed => take M2 or M4 (not really based on content, but the level required to pass M4)
D not passed => take M3 or M4
It would also be great in the beginning if there was the freedom to take more than one – e.g. Do M3 and M4, so that you have 2x chances to pass “D”. Or do M2 and M4 to have 2x chances to pass “C”.
Just speculating 🙂
I would expect M3 and M4 to include unitary patents
I have not heard how the unitary patent is to be integrated in the EQE.
The current REE already mentions “community patents”, but that has been included since the beginning because the original treaty was expected to be implemented soon after the EPC.
REE Article 13 Examination syllabus
The examination shall establish whether a candidate has:
(a) European patent law as laid down in the EPC and any legislation relating to Community patents
Rule 26(3) Content of Paper D:
They shall be expected to demonstrate their ability to deal with a complex industrial-property law case involving fundamental issues of patentability, rights of inventors,
inventions as property and third-party rights, as defined in particular, but not solely, in Articles 52 to 89 EPC, the
corresponding articles of the PCT, any legislation relating to Community patents, the Paris Convention, and the
relevant laws of the contracting states.
I see that “Community” is also not in the new proposal, so it will be a good idea to point this out in the feedback.
But I assume the EQE will just cover the EPO part of the unitary procedure, and it will also be included in this new infringement part. But most of unitary patent will be dealt within the Patent Litigation Certificate courses.
Shouldn’t there be clear rules on the transition period? Indeed, what happens to candidates who have passed some, but not all papers. Thanks for your speculation, Mr. Pollard, and I do hope the official proposals will be made public very soon.
Don’t worry too much – during past changes to exams, they were generous in the conversion of results during the transition, and gave plenty of warning of the change.
The main uncertainty will be what they will exactly test in the new exams, but the main thing being added is the practical application of the same theory.
It will be challenging for many of the current course providers to organise as they will have to change everything within a short time, but more emphasis will be on practical skills instead of methodology. So experience gained from real life cases will be more valuable for passing. And if you have fewer real life cases, then you will learn how to deal with them for the future during your training.
This will be a problem for courses where they are mainly just covering theory. I have always included the practical part in any training, like actually filing a PCT application during the session, so I can already imagine from this proposal what the training per module will look like.
It also means fewer lectures and more active learning, which makes the learning much more interesting and motivating 🙂
This issue has come up at EPI level – in my opinion there is a strong will to povide clear and fair rules on the transitional arrangements. But, as the present proposals are under consultation, they may change. Therefore, work cannot progress on the transitional arrangements because we don’t yet know exactly what we’re transitioning towards.
I hope this makes sense!
thanks for the comment. Yes, it makes sense, but it is maybe a little too cautious. There are a lot of candidates who worry about any change at all. It would be great to add at least some general comments about how the transition will be managed and the general principles to be followed in designing the transition system. For example, would someone well-prepared for the current (more theoretical) exams be able to pass the new ones?
This also helps to give an idea of the intended levels, particularly for those modules that are new.
I also think that the resitters issue is quite important to the general acceptance of the whole proposal – there will be a lot in the system still needing to pass 1 or 2 main exams. What will they have to do to finish?
I’m quite concerned about how or whether a “compensable fail” grade under the current EQE can be used under the new EQE. Under the current scheme, I only need to retake a single paper (B). However, if “compensable fail” grades are not carried forward into the new EQE, then I will have to retake the legal paper as I received a compensable fail for paper D.
A lot will depend on whether they will keep a compensation system. I hope that they do.
The current system is very fair – there is little real difference between someone scoring 45 and 50, and most candidates are better on some exams than others, or they have some bad luck on the day which gives them a lower mark in an exam. The current system also allows you to “bank” compensable fails to try to get the rest. This is definitely valuable for the exams that require a lot of study, like the current D exam.
But I have heard negative comments before by those who think it makes passing too easy. These tend to be people who passed years ago under a different system. But I suggest that those people first retake the exams to see how “easy” they really are before commenting :-).
Yes this is indeed true. I consider how the e-EQE was thrust upon candidates with software that, to date, still has technical flaws! I appreciate that some measures were taken (mock e-exams, etc) but for me, I am pretty sure that I had a better chance passing a paper EQE than the e- variation based on the content of the 2021 and 2022 exams. For resitters in particular, they will have had to undergo 2 major changes to the EQE inclusive of a 1-year forced break (2020). Seemingly unfair the the scheme of things! Therefore a fair and transparent transition is highly due!