What's hot at the EQE online forum


Activities are continued on www.eqetools.com.

Looking forward seeing you there !


New website, updated tools and a lot more ...

Activity on this Blog has been low for the last couple of .... well, almost a year basically. In the meantime, the tools available here have become somewhat outdated and moreover the EQE has changed.

I will terminate the activities on this Blog soon and will continue on an independent website running a more sophisticated content management system. 

The system will have more functionality compared to the blogspot platform (which actually is quite good for blogging). Users may (but don't have to) register for an account and may participate in a forum, start their own blog or even create other content and tools. Such functionality will be introduced over time and will not be available right away. The download section will (hopefully) be more transparent as well. 

Right now, I'm finalising the layout of the website and making all the settings needed to get started. In the meantime I will need to copy some of the content of this blog to the website and revise the currently available tools. 

So, there is still some work to be done, but at least there is some activity again. Expected launch date is September 1.


G Summary Updated

An update of the G Summary can be found here.

Some minor additions and/or corrections were made and summaries of new decisions/ opinions were added.

Download here....


Coffee Break Questions v2

I received an E-mail from the Academy about the new Coffee Break Questions that are now available.

Dear EQETools ,

We are contacting you today as you've previously subscribed to our Coffee Break EQE questions. This is a series of 50 questions & answers that were delivered to your inbox, by the European Patent Academy of the EPO.

We are pleased to announce that this year we have a 2nd version of these questions available, with 50 new questions on European (EPC and PCT) patent law and practice.

The new course is in a similar format, where you receive an email with a question every 3 days, and the answer will follow with the subsequent email.

We are please to announce that you can now receive these emails in the 3 official languages of the EPO, German, English or French.

You can also switch between languages at any time. Test yourself to see if you are capable of understanding these emails in another language.

Arrives every morning before 10am

Version 2 of the Coffee Break EQE questions has a new feature where you will recieve the emails before 10am each morning, just in time for your morning coffee break.

Some of our users had reported that these emails were arriving at times that were not suitable for coffee drinking.

To sign up visit http://www.eqe-online.org/tools/coffee.php.


EQE-online.org Team

European Patent Academy


Have fun !!


Tutor meeting 2011 : Paper D

Below a summary of the notes made during the Tutor meeting of last week. The summary is based on my interpretation of what was discussed.

This year’s paper D was considered by the EC (Examination Committee) as an average paper with the right level of difficulty.

In general the EC made several comments:

- Tutors should teach candidates the law and also teach them how to apply it. These are two separate aspects. In particular the board wants to see that the candidate realises what a patent right is, what he can do with it, what the patent law is and how it is applied. The knowledge should be in-depth.

- Candidates need to make sure that they very carefully read the question and then answer this question. Sometimes a correct answer is given to something that is not asked. Especially in D2 make sure that the question is fully understood.

- Questions like “Legal situation?” in D2 are no longer asked. Instead the EC asks more specific questions to guide the candidate towards the desired answer.

- More than 100 marks are available for a D paper, especially more than 60 marks can be scored for D2. The EC did not so say how many more.

- EC stresses that they want to see an advice based on application of the law. This is often not understood by candidates leading to loss of marks.

- Usually one citation for legal basis is sufficient. If for example a G decision is cited in the GL then there is no need to cite both the Guidelines and the G decision. Higher ranking provisions are preferred.

- There is no recipe for taking the exam. Candidates need to know the law and know how to apply it.

- The exam is setup so that a wrong turn in the argumentation is not fatal.

- There are no “negative points” in paper D.

- No marks are rewarded for knowing the EPO practice which has no legal basis.

- There are no “hidden” questions. However candidates must carefully investigate and deal with the consequences of a certain problem and are usually expected to deal with these consequences.

- Usually there are four or five issues in D2 to be dealt with. Answerring 3 correct will likely mean a candidate passes. Even with only two issues dealt with correctly and a well made D1 may result in passing the paper.

- The EC would like people to pass, but has to apply a high standard to guarantee a certain quality.

- D1 and D2 are marked seperately, but if the score of a candidate is “borderline” sometimes the paper as a whole will be looked at to make a final decision.

- Don’t submit lists of abbreviations. These will only cost time and cause confusion with the EC.

- Knowing the case law (except for the key decisions) is not an absolute requirement for passing the D paper. Of course it is preferred if a candidate has a fair knowledge of the case law.

Some Q and A

Q: Would it be possible to publish a simulation on how an actual paper is marked, preferably three different solutions good-average-bad ?
A: No, this is not possible for privacy reasons.

Q: How precise does reference to legal basis have to be?
A: That depends on the legal basis. If it is a PCT article with several paragraphs be as precise as possible.

Q: Why does the EC not indicate the amount of marks for D2 questions ?
A: Because the final “golden solution” is only defined based on the answers by the candidates. The marking scheme is only then defined.

Q: How and by whom is the exam tested?
A: By “guinea pigs”.
Q: Who are those “guinea pigs” ? 
A: People….

Q: This year the exam (D2) contained 30% more words compared to last year(s). This is disadvantageous for candidates that don’t have a mothertongue in an official language. What is your view on this ?
A: This should not be a problem. There is plenty of time to score more than 50 marks in total. Time pressure is something that is taught by tutors. The exam can be passed without having to feel severe time pressure.

Q: The D2 exam often has questions half-way the text. Is it intended that these should be answerred prior to reading the rest of the text?
A: Not necessarily. It is up to the candidate to decide how to answer the paper. The position of the questions is merely a guidance to help candidates structure their answer.

R: The EC does not take into account the time pressure of the exam.
A: If a candidate knows and understands the law he can answer each question. Moreover a candidate only needs to score 50 marks to pass. A candidate will only feel time pressure if he wants to score more than 80 marks. The time pressure is something that tutors teach their students and/or comes from a lack of thorough knowledge on the EPC.

Other remarks (also by other tutors):

- Read the question => know the answer => (always) find and check legal basis => write down the answer and cite legal basis.

- For D1 it is probably better to have an answer for each question than trying to get full marks for only part of them.

- There is no “recipe” or “standard approach” for the exam.

- Mention the date of the exam on your paper. The advice is supposed to be given on the day of the exam, which is “today”. Quote: "Today is today and there can be no doubt or discussion about that "

Hope this is of any use. 
For tutors having additional remarks or another opinion on what was said, feel free to post a comment.


Want to protect your mobile phone ? A sock might work ...

The excellent K's Law blog summarised a recent decision by the Board of Appeal. In itself the decision was not all that surprising, yet for those preparing for the EQE, in particular for the new pre-exam, the summary might be worth reading.

The Board examines (inter alia) whether or not a sock may anticipate a claim directed to a protective casing for for example a mobile phone. The decision contains an excellent summary of the "suitable for doctrine".

Read the summary here.

Some more general comments about the pre-exam (derived from last weeks tutor meeting) will follow soon...


Claiming priority more than 12 months after filing date of a first application ?

Understanding how the right to priority works is one of the basic skills of a patent attorney (trainee). Let's face it, if you don't understand how that works you better not take papers C and D yet ...

Anyway, I can imagine there may be confusion about actually obtaining the right of priority to an earlier application and the claiming of said right. For a valid priority right you need to file your priority-claiming application at the latest 12 months after you filed the priority application.

If you file a PCT application after the 12 month period, but within 2m thereof PCT time limits will still run from the priority date nevertheless. But does that mean you have a valid priority claim ?   Find the answer including legal basis here.

Check for yourself if the EPC has similar provisions ...


Updating ......

I will start updating this website/blog soon; especially the files for download. 

I may take the site off line for a while, but don't worry .....


EQE 2012 enrolment

For those wanting to enrol for the EQE 2012, take a look here.


Procedural Law under the EPC-2000, 2nd Edition, 2011


Andreas Veronese and Peter Watchhorn have updated their book "Procedural Law under the EPC-2000, 2nd Edition, 2011". The book can be purchased from their website, http://www.epc-compass.com.

Andreas and Peter write the following:

"We have updated the book to the legal changes which have entered into force over the last three years since the publication of the first edition in 2008. In particular, the "Raising the Bar" rule changes have been explained in this second edition (search limitations, time limits for filing divisional applications, provision of search results on claimed priorities, indication of amendments and their basis and mandatory response to the European search opinion or the Written Opinion prepared by the EPO in the PCT). We also dealt with the reform of the fee system (the unitary designation fee, shortened pre-payment of the renewal fees, page fees due on filing etc) which came into force in 2009 and the transitional provisions for all of these changes are also dealt with in this second edition, where relevant.

This second edition of "Procedural Law" is suitable for the study for, and for use in the EQE of 2012 (as is the second edition of our book "PCT Procedures and Passage into the European Phase" published last year)."

For those who are familiar with this book (or the book on the PCT they also wrote) please post your opinion/ review as a comment.
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