Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Training for EQE 2016

A brief overview of our training offers for EQE 2016 is given in an earlier other blog.

The first basic legal course, suitable for Pre-Exam 2016 sitters, and well as for Main Exam 2016 sitters that are not yet on solid legal ground, starts already with a first 4-day block in Eindhoven (NL) on 20-23 April 2015, addressing EPC procedural law and practice! This first block will be followed by next 2-day block on 18 - 19 June 2015 to discuss EPC substantive patent law and practice, and a last 2-day block on 14 - 15 September for PCT procedural law and practice

Details can be found on our website ("training", "webshop", general EQE training brochure, and 8-day basic legal brochure)

We also offer the course in other countries, and -for the first time- in Poland. The 8-day basic legal course in Poland is given in two blocks of 4 days, reducing travel cost and overhead of travel time. The blocks are scheduled on 8 - 11 June 2015 (EPC procedure) and 21 - 24 September 2016 (EPC substantive patent law and PCT procedure) -- refer to our other blog post and the 8-day basic legal (PL) brochure.

Hope to see you in once of our courses!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Examiner's Report and Results Pre-Exam 2015

The Examiner's Report for Pre-Exam 2015 was just put online: here.
Update - 3 June 2015: an addendum has been published to the Examiners Report

The official answers (and where we deviated in our provisional answers - see below) are:

Q.1:  T, F, T, F;
Q.2:  F, T, F, T;
Q.3:  F, T, F, T;
Q.4:  T, F, T, F;
Q.5:  F, T, F, T;
Q.6:  F, F, T, F;
Q.7:  T, T, F, T;
Q.8:  F, T, T, F;
Q.9:  T, F, T, T;
Q.10: T, T,
 F, T;

Q.11:  F, F, F, F;
Q.12:  F, T, T, F;
Q.13:  F, T, F, F;
Q.14:  T, T, T, F;
Q.15:  T, F (we had T)@, F, T;
Q.16:  T, F, T (we had F), F;
Q.17:  T, T, T (we had F)@, F;
Q.18:  T, T, F, F;
Q.19:  T, F, F, T;
Q.20:  T, "see above" (we had T), T, T.

As to 20.2, the Examiner's report indicates:
  • The statement 20.2 indicates that the material of D2 should replace the material of D1. This is not a valid argument within the framework of the problem solution approach, since D2 and not D1 is the closest prior art document. Hence, the answer to 20.2 is “False”.
    The formulation of 20.2 was however unnecessarily complex. Just by using the expression “D2 could be replaced by” instead of “D2 could replace” the solution would become “True”, since there is no teaching that solid wood could be replaced by the material of D1. For this reason, it is exceptionally decided to award marks for the answer “True” as well.
So, our (provisional) legal answers and our (provisional) claims analysis answers would have attracted all 50 marks from the legal part, and -with 3 isolated errors- 44 marks from the claims analysis part, so a total of 94. Further, for 20.2, both T and F were considered correct, which "saved us" as we deviate for 20.2 from the originally expected answer (F).

As a consequence, if you calculated a provisional score using our provisional answers, and had a different answer than we had for 15.2, 16.3, 17.3 and/or 20.2, your real score will be somewhat higher than expected, whereas your real score will be lower if you had the same answers as we for 15.2, 16.3 and/or 17.3.

The different answers to 15.2 and 17.3 relate to-what is referred to in the discussion to our claims blog- as the "cardboard issue" - the official answers to 15.2 and 17.3 rely on cardboard necessarily comprising / being made of wood fibers, whereas we considered the term cardboard to be a generic term and cardboard comprising wood fibers only one of the possible cardboard types -as we indicated in the discussion to the blog-. I refer to the earlier discussion to our claims blog for all arguments in favour of either conclusion, which were all given in the earlier discussion between various candidates and between candidates and our team.

@ = Examimer's report answered F for 15.2 and T for 17.3 -- however, appeals based on opposite answers were successful, so our answers T and F are (also) correct [comment added on 8 May].

We will discuss the differences between the Exam Committee's answers and reasoning and ours tomorrow or early next week in more detail - please feel free to already post your comments now.

Best regards, hope all of you that had a serious preparation passed this Pre-Exam and can now start preparing to sit one or more of next year's main exam papers!



Yesterday, Pre-Exam 2015 candidates received the following information from the Exam Secretariat:
  • The results of the pre-examination of the European qualifying examination 2015 will be available on the EPO website from 20 March 2015 (12:00 CET) and will remain on-line until 8 September 2015 under the following link:

    You will be able to find your results by searching in the list for your EQE Registration number (EQEReg).
    The dispatch of the result letters is foreseen for the 27 March 2015. They will be sent by registered mail. If you are not present upon delivery, please collect the letter at your post office before it is returned to the Examination Secretariat.

    Please be aware that the Examination Secretariat is unable to resend any original letters and the sending of copies will take some time. 
    Please also be informed that no information concerning results can be given over the telephone.
Surprise!!! The results came available already earlier today (20 March 2015): a bit before 11 am!

The document shows the results per EQEreg number and includes the following disclaimer:
  • Please note that we cannot accept liability for the information given. Only results as notified to you in your result letter are binding. 
    Note from the editor: unfortunately, this sentence turned out not to be an empty phrase - at some moment during the day (20 March), the results file  was replaced by another file wherein the scores were decreased by 2 marks for 346 and 1 mark for 28 candidates (out of 796 candidates that actually sat the exam, i.e., had a non-zero score) [Special thx go to to 
    Anonymous20 March 2015 at 16:01 and Rdiner20 March 2015 at 16:07 for having discovered this] - and was changed again later, back to the initial list - let's assume that that is the correct list, until other indications show otherwise.
  • Closing dates for the European qualifying examination 2016 
    The closing date for the pre-examination is 2 June 2015. 
    he closing date for the main examination is 8 September 2015.
  • All relevant information will be available in OJ EPO 3/2015.

Statistics Pre-Exam 2015 

From an analysis of the published results, we conclude:
  • # candidates enrolled:  811
  • # candidates sitting:     796 (non-zero marks)
  • # candidates passing:   591 (70 or more marks): 74,25% of # candidates sitting
  • # candidates failing:     205 (below 70 marks):    25,75% of # candidates sitting
  • average score:               75,39 marks (of candidates sitting)
  • maximum score:            96 marks
Congratulations to all of you that passed!!!!

So, the pass rate is -as we expected in view of the increased difficulty level (see our "First impressions" blog)- considerable lower than in earlier years, where it was 88-90%.
(Whether there will be any corrections to the marks in view of the cardboard issue remains to be seen)

The score distribution is, in bin sizes of 5 marks and 1 marks:


It is also interesting to see how the resitters have been doing this year:

Of which
Of which
in that
in that

The scores obtained by resitters in this Pre-Exam compare to the scores when they sat in 2014 as shown in the following figure:

I consider the statistics quite alarming: the vast majority of the Pre-Exam candidates that failed in an earlier year, failed again this time!!! 

One aim of failing an exam is to get a wake-up call and understanding that serious studying is needed. The high number of candidates failing again seems to indicate that they did not get this. Some may have failed the first or second time for other reasons, such as illness or nerves, but it seems unlikely that that holds for such a vast majority. Why do quite some candidates not improve? Did they study hard but anyhow failed again due to the increased difficulty level of this year (as indicated at least by the lower pass rate and the lower average score)? Or did they not study harder, and did they not recognize that they need to change their way of preparation and that they need to really start studying? Neither the EPC law, nor the PCT law, let alone their application to legal as well as claims analysis questions is such that you have any chance to pass by going to the Pre-Exam without a good preparation.And there is ample possibilities to prepare well: we provide good courses and good training material for candidates that do not have the level required for the Pre-Exam.
It was multiple resitters like these in the main exam that led to the introduction of the Pre-Exam!!!
And what I considers most alarmingly -and this may sound harsh...-: the resitters of 2014 are already active as trainee patent attorneys for three years or more, otherwise they could not sit the exam - or as examiners at the EPO for four or more!

The candidate that failed in 2013 and resat this year (skipped 2014), only improved his/her score from 40 to 59 - still quite far below 70. The other candidate that failed in 2013 did sit in 2014 where he or she with 89 marks: this shows that after a first  failure (which can happen to anyone, for whatever reason), taking the wakeup call serious and preparing well can thus lead to a huge improvement - it seems that this candidate decided to better be over-prepared for the Pre-Exam (looking into the future also for D, where your legal knowledge needs to be a further level up) than to just give it a try again!

As the Exam Committee indicated, the Pre-Exam is designed to give an incentive to let candidates start studying early, and with the intention to let candidates that are well-prepared (and well on track with their preparation for the main exam the year after) pass. You can study, practice and train all of this!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Deltapatents will also provide the 8-day Basic Legal Course in Poland for EQE 2016 preparation

We will provide our 8-day Basic Legal Course also in Poland for the first time, in cooperation with Patpol.

The course will be offered in Poland at a reduced course fee compared to the course fee in our training facilities in the Netherlands and as a 25% reduction compared course fee in other countries across Europe.

The course will be given in two blocks, a first 4-day block covering EPC procedural law in June and a second 4-day block covering EPC substantive patent law and PCT procedural law (including EP entry) in September. For maximal efficiency and effectiveness, the course will include the reference book "References to the EPC", updated to include the changes to the Implementing Regulations of the EPC per 1 April 2015 and to the changes to the Regulations under the PCT per 1 July 2015.

By offering the course in cooperation with Patpol in the Patpol office in Warszawa at a reduced course fee, DeltaPatents and Patpol allow candidates from Poland, as well as neighbouring countries and countries that acceded relatively recently to the EPC, to participate in our high-quality, intensive, effective and efficient legal training for EQE 2016 preparation.

For details, refer to our other post here.