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!


  1. Dear Joel, thank you very much!

    Though, I am somewhat confused regarding the answer to Q2.2. In the official answer, it the terms "processing and other prolongation" are used whereas the original statement of Q2.2 relates to "legal remedy". In my view, these terms do not relate exactly to the same thing...

    Regarding the cardboard issue, you had convinced me that I was wrong. Apparently, I was not. Kind of funny. However, this is not the right place for being funny...

    To be clear, this should not be any critics to you or to deltapatents, only to the EPO.

    Kind regards, Alan

    1. Dear Roel, sorry, that I misspelled your name. Alan

    2. Thx Alan.

      When reading the Examiner's Report, it looks like the Exam Committee gave a different reading to D1, [003] than what the paper actually says.

      The Examiner's Report indicates, in support of the official answers to 15.2 and 17.3:
      "As indicated in D1, [0003], cardboard comprises wood fibres."
      This is however not what the paper says. D1, [0003] reads:
      "[0003] The door leaf 100 has a first metal sheet 103 formed like a box and a second
      metal sheet 104 formed as a cover, the two overlapping on the sides 106 of the
      door leaf 100. The inner space is filled with a calcium silicate plate 105. The calcium
      silicate plate 105 is made of a cardboard that contains calcium silicate. The cardboard
      comprises wood fibres distributed within the plate 105. The calcium silicate stores a lot
      of water."
      So, it does NOT disclose what could be considered a definition of an implicit feature in the form of the phrasing "Cardboard comprises wood fibres" as used in the Examiner's Report, but it rather describes that "The cardboard comprises wood fibres", i.e., referring to the specific cardboard that was introduced in the preceding sentence; there, it was introduced as "[...] is made of a cardboard that contains calcium silicate" - in other words, the interpretation of "The cardboard comprises wood fibres" should not be "Cardboard comprises wood fibres", but "Said cardboard comprises wood fibres" .
      This sentence and the preceding sentence could grammatically even be considered equivalent to "The calcium silicate plate 105 is made of a cardboard that contains calcium silicate and that comprises wood fibres distributed within the plate 105" - this reformulation of the two sentences can in my view not at all be interpreted as that any cardboard comprises wood fibres - it only discloses directly and unambiguously that the specific cardboard of the described embodiment comprises calcium silicate and wood fibres. (If one would follow the interpretation of the Exam Committee, the combination of these two sentences would define any type of cardboard as comprising not only wood fibres but also necessarily calcium silicate).

      I fear that the discussion is indeed reopened, rather than closed by the argumentation in the Examiner's Report.

    3. To all: If you want to add more comments to the cardboard issue, please do NOT continue here.
      Instead, please add your comments as reply to the thread immediately below, started by Cardboard on 20 March 2015 at 09:03, so that the whole discussion keeps in chronological order on this page.

  2. Glad the cardboard distinction won't make a difference between passing and failing for me, but still interesting to see that the exam committee says "As indicated in D1, [0003], cardboard comprises wood fibres." This is the reasoning you reach if you know less about patent law, for instance by not understanding the general concept of antecedent basis, whereas those that know how to read patents would reach the opposite conclusion.

    It would have been more reasonable for them to explain the answer with a reference to the common general meaning of cardboard rather than with a reference to D1 ("the cardboard'). Bad exam writing is now supplemented with bad reasoning.

    1. meant to reply to Roel's post. Rather than start a new thread. sorry

    2. I fully agree with Roel's discussion above in response to Alan (Roel's post of 19th March 2015 at 11:07pm) as that is the only correct interpretation of the English phrasing used.

      I can clarify with another example. Consider the different cases below.

      Case 1
      My brother has a car. The car is black.

      Case 2
      My brother has a car. Cars are black.

      Case 3
      My brother has a car. The car is black. My sister also has a car. Her car is red.

      Case 4.
      My brother has a car. Cars are black. Motor cycles however are red.

      Case 5
      My brother has a black car.

      Case 6
      My brother has a car which is black.

      There can not be any doubt that for all four cases my brother's car is black.

      But, only case 2 and 4 define that all cars are black.

      The phrasing in the paper about cardboard is as case 1 - the phrasing in the Examiner's
      Report on which their answer is based is as case 2.

      So, the Examiner's Reports answers to 15.2 and 17.3 are based on a clearly wrong reading of the paper, whereas D1 [003] does, on a proper reading, not leave any room for any ambiguity as to whether it corresponds to case 1 or case 2.

      If this case would come to an appeal, I am very sure that the Discipl Board will take the same route as in the appeal D 3/14 to the Pre-Exam 2014 in relation to 10.4.
      Reason 6 of D 3/14: "Statement 10.4 should have been formulated differently in order to express this aim. Candidates could not be expected to make an assumption in this respect, since Rule 22(3) of the implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives (IPREE, Supplement 2/2014 to OJ EPO, 18) provides that candidates must limit themselves to the facts given in the examination paper. Consequently, the examiner's evaluation of the examination papers rests upon a question that cannot, upon an objective reading, be derived from statement 10.4 of the pre-examination 2014."
      Reason 8:"As a result, the examiners of Examination Committee IV have based their evaluation of the pre-examination 2014 on an incorrect premise, since the Examiner's Report for that examination was based with respect to statement 10.4 on a different question from that inferable from said statement on an objective reading. Therefore, the contested decision is based on serious and obvious mistakes which can be established without reopening the entire marking procedure. The appeal is thus well founded and allowable. According to Article 24(4) REE, the contested decision has to be set aside and the appeal fee reimbursed."

    3. Nice cases - clarifies exactly my point. Thx.

      But one comment to ALL candidates who use the "Anonymous" option for posting comments:
      please sign your comment with your name or a nickname if you do a post with the "Anonymous" option. We allow posting with the "Anonymous" option to lower the bar for submissions as much as possible - by not requiring a google account to be able to do so, and by giving you the possibility to not disclose your real identity but to use a nickname instead

    4. I got 66. Got the cardboard wrong.
      I had accepted the fact that I would fail because I did not do well on the exam but now I can´t let it go... I don´t like to fail on something where I strongly beleive that the examinors are wrong. I´m thinking of filing an appeal to get some peace of mind.

      I looked at the same case. The cardboard case has even better arguments so maybe it would be worth to try.

    5. If you are successful, would that change the answer or the points for the answer for everybody? i have 69 point because of the cardborad issue...

    6. From other posts it sounds like you have to appeal yourself for them to change your score.
      But I havn´t checked for myself.

    7. So what are we supposed to mark as correct in the next pre-eqe in 2016, if again such a definition apears? Nice how the EPO handles legal certainty. On a side mark, such legal uncertainty is also included in the german version of question 9.1 where the cited decisions which were originally in english were translated wrong in view of the term "skill" and "Wissensstand" so that the rigth answer to this question is in line with the wording of the guidlines (as correctly stated by Roel) but in fact such a translation males no sense at all. I´m wondering if filing a request under R 139 EPC (which should still be possible) would make sense in order to clarify this issue. Same problems apear in cases of the OHIM (HABM) where sometimes the translators are not familiar enough with trademark law which in consequence leads to very funny interpretation of the law and "new" legal terms.

    8. R.139? - how does that apply here?

    9. Of course it should be R 140.

    10. EPO cant speak its own languages23 March 2015 at 19:53

      This question is really ridculous.

      I'm sorry for the Exam comittee now having to take a beating. But the translation of "skill" to "Wissenstands" is completely wrong (regardless of whether being already included in the guidelines or not). If knowing the correct original T-decisions (in English) and reading the German wording of the quesiton you HAD(!) to mark the option which is now considered incorrect according to the EPO solution. This is a complete embarressment in my view.

      Also, congratulations to the Exam committee for managing to get a German ulitility model on a method claim ;-)

    11. hahaha, good point. I also found it very funny when i read the method claim of the german utility model during the exam.

    12. I am sorry for the two of you, but there is NO method claim in the utility model:

      question 7 introduces the utility model as:
      "The German company C filed in December 2013 a German utility model application DE-C directed to a solution of the substance X in water. "
      "Die deutsche Firma C reichte im Dezember 2013 eine deutsche Gebrauchsmusteranmeldung DE-C ein, die auf eine Lösung des Stoffes X in Wasser gerichtet ist. "
      "La société allemande C a déposé, en décembre 2013, une demande de modèle d'utilité allemand DE-C portant sur une solution de la substance X dans l'eau. "

      So, it is directed to "a solution", not to "solving", so it is NOT a method, in none of the three languages.

    13. Thanks for your reply Roel. At least for the german version i can say that "Lösung" can be the action namely the solving of substance X and also the solution as in the english version. see "lösung" 4.a, "(Physik, Chemie) das [Sich]auflösen eines Stoffes in einer Flüssigkeit". In order to interpret the term as in the english version ihmo a comma would have to be placed after the term solution ("Lösung, des Stoffes...").

    14. EPCreader, as a fellow German speaker I can assure you that Roel is correct. "Eine Lösung" in this context means solution, which is common knowledge not only among those with a background in chemistry.

      In the case of alternate wordings such as "die Lösung" (with definite article), "ein Auflösen/Lösen", "das Auflösen/Lösen", you might have had a valid point. But as it stands, EPO picked a wording which is totally unambiguous.


    15. Thx.

      By the way, IF there would be differences between the various language version, the assumption in the main exam papers it that you took the version of the paper in the language that you indicated on the cover page that also has your name on it and which he need to sign (and, I assume, they will also take the language in which your answered into account).

      Do you also need to indicate that on the Pre-Exam answer sheet on the side with your name on it?

      (For the "Solution" / "Eine Lösung" it would not matter, as indicated by HopefullyHelpful - but it did play a role e.g. in C 2014)

    16. Thx.

      By the way, IF there would be differences between the various language version, the assumption in the main exam papers it that you took the version of the paper in the language that you indicated on the cover page that also has your name on it and which he need to sign (and, I assume, they will also take the language in which your answered into account).

      Do you also need to indicate that on the Pre-Exam answer sheet on the side with your name on it?

      (For the "Solution" / "Eine Lösung" it would not matter, as indicated by HopefullyHelpful - but it did play a role e.g. in C 2014)

    17. Regarding question question 9.1: In Fitzner/Lutz/Bodewig patent-commentary the exact same issue is discussed in a whole chapter, see F p125ff. (relation between Art. 56 and Art. 83...). It is argued that the person skilled having the same "wissensstand" in both cases cannot convince. The apropriate formulation in german would be that the person skilled has the same skills ("Fähigkeiten") but a different basis of knowledge ("wissensbasis").("Der Fachmann würde demnach als Wissensbasis für Zwecke des Art. 83 EPÜ die Anmeldungsunterlagen, den darin zitierten Stand der Technik sowie sein allgemeines Fachwissen zu Rate ziehen, wohingegen ihm bei der Beurteilung der erfinderischen Tätigkeit gemäß Art. 56 EPÜ der gesamte Stand der Technik zur Verfügung steht...."). Also, in the decisions of the EPA it is refered to the same skills of the person skilled (e.g. T639/95, EG 2) rather than on a "Wissensstand". Finally I want to point out that question 9.1 also deviates from the original decision text in T 60/89 where it is explicitly stated that only for "the same invention" the same level of skills for sufficient disclosure and inventive step is considered. In question 9.1 such a statement is missing, therefore the question arises what happens in case the considered application does not fullfill the requirments of unity so that a plurality of inventions are present. In such a case question 9.1 would be false. It apears to me that question 9.1 is not a question suitable for a multiple choice exam. Am I correct that before the EPO legal aid is not available? So a candidate not having enough money to file an appeal cannot validly file an appeal?

    18. Further i also see a problem with 54(3) documents which are mentioned in the application but not available on the date of filing. According to A 56 these documents shall not be considered wherein these documents can be considered for A 83 if they are publicated before or at the date of publication of the application. Even more obvious is the difference between the "wissensstand" of the person skilled in case the respective application includes a reference to a national application which is filed before the filing date but not yet publicated. Such national prior patent applications defenitely do not belong to the "wissensstand" of the person skilled when assesing inventive step but in case of sufficiency of disclosure this can be different. Therefore the person skilled cannot have the same "knowledge" (Wissensstand).

      Finally I cannot understand why "level of skill" was translated as "Wissensstand". I was not able to find any dictionary that could support such translation. The translation of Wissensstand however would be "level of knowledge".

  3. The results are online.

  4. Hi,
    I got 69 (42/50 in Legal Part and 27/50 in Claims Analysis).
    But I have the problem in question 15.2 (my answer is True) and 17.3 (my answer is False) and also 16.3 (my answer is False).

    For 15.2 and 17.3, I found this scientific paper: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2005, 44, 3358-3393. On page 3358, 1st column, it is recited that "cellulose was used in the form of wood, COTTON, and other plant fibers as an energy source". On the 2nd column, it is recited that "Wood pulp remains THE MOST (i.e., not the totality of) important raw material source for the processing of cellulose, most of which is used for the production of paper and cardboard".

    For 16.3, I have currently now clue about the issue.

    What shoud I do ? File an appeal ?

    Pierre (not anonymous)

    1. Hi Pierre,

      sorry :-/

      I would assume that appealing against the cardboard will be tricky but may be possible (see below). See if you can find others considering based on this issue filing an appeal.

      It might also be worth checking the comments posted to the legal answer post and claim analysis answer post and check how you answered the questions that were highly debated there for possible further options (if I remember correctly e.g. 2.2 and 5.2)

      Good luck!

    2. In my opinion, all legal questions and answers of this year's Pre-Exam were clear and unambiguous. I recommend to NOT spend any time on trying to discuss any of the legal questions if you consider filing an appeal.

      As Anonymous ( pointed out, 5 appeals were succesfully filed last year. The Disciplinary Board made however also very clear in their decision that they do not have the authority to review substantive matters, but only procedural ones.
      Substantive matters may only be succesfully addressed (reviewing what the correct answer to a statement shall be) by the Disciplinary Board in very exceptional cases, i.e. only if -citing from D 3/14, r.8 that Anonymous also cited- "the contested decision is based on serious and obvious mistakes which can be established without reopening the entire marking procedure".

      I donot want to take a position as to whether you shall file an appeal or not.

    3. Hi Roel,

      I do not agree with you on this matter. In fact, I do not understand why the EPO and deltapatents are of the opinion that the answer to Q2.2 is true (and I am not the only one). I have also read through the comments of this forum and have found no satisfactory answer.

      According to the official solution, the EPO's understanding seems to be that the terms "legal remedy" and "further processing and other prolongation of the proceedings" relate to the same legal concepts. However, in my view, a request of prolongation is no legal remedy, in no way. I would even say that this understanding is wrong.

      Therefore, I am of the opinion that the answer to Q2.2 must be "false", because there is the possibility to request a prolongation, which is neither a response to the Communication pursuant to Art. 94(3) EPC nor a legal remedy.

      Until now, I am not aware of any argument against this line of reasoning. Therefore, I think that an appeal with respect to Q2.2 can be successful. This could even be more successful than appealing the cardboard case, because this is a clear case.

      Please correct me, if I am wrong!

      Kind regards,


    4. Hi Alan,

      I do agree with you that the statement is not drafted as unambiguous as it could (and should) have been, and that your interpretation is certainly not wrong - so it was not correct for me to say "ll legal questions and answers of this year's Pre-Exam were clear and _unambiguous_". Your arguments are perfectly valid, there can not be any doubt about that. I do however expect that the Disciplinary Board would not consider it a so obvious and big error that they depart from their main rule of not reviewing the substance of the exams - it may be argued (as I did) that in the context of the question and the (intended) logical order of 2.1 - 2.2 - 2.3 /2.4: R.126(2) - R.131(4)/R.134(1) - FP time limit runs from notification of loss-of-rights / other option is to request extension.
      So, yes, the statement as drafted is not unambiguous (well, maybe it is, but then it differs from what was intended: taken alone and by itself, your interpretation is actually the only valid interpretation!). And it could have been drafted to be fully unambiguous by e.g. phrasing it as:
      "2.2 The 4-month time limit for replying to the communication expires on 26 May 2015"

      Now that we are discussing -let's call it for now:- unlucky statements, statement 5.4 also caused some confusion and a valid discussion (see the legal answer blog) as to the strict or liberal interpretation of the word "on". This discussion could have been prevented if the statement would have included one more word: "early":

      "5.4 One requirement for validly entering the European phase with PCT-M early on
      27 February 2015, is that a renewal fee must be paid."
      "5.4 One requirement for an effective early entry into the European phase with PCT-M on 27 February 2015, is that a renewal fee must be paid."

      In 1.3, replacement of the word "inform" by "notifies" would/could also have led to less doubt - I refer to the discussion on the blog.

      Note: in Pre-Exam 2014, 8.2 read "Regarding EP-Z: the prescribed translation shall be filed within two months of filing EP-Z.". The correct answers hereto was True, as the statement exactly follows the wording of R.6(1). However, from practice, you may know that if the translation is not filed within the 2 m period, the applicant will be invited under R.58 to file it within another 2 m, so answering False would actually have reflected the practical effect better. This shows that making a statement really unambiguous is difficult, even if the wording of the law or of a communication is strictly followed.

      Thx Alan for making your point again clear in a concise and complete manner - if you do so at the main Paper D in DI-questions, you will most likely be able to score most of the marks , if not all, also if you come with an unexpected answer. The lack of possibility for argumentation in the Pre-Exam unfortunately has the effect that even a well-argued answer that shows unambiguously that you know the EPC and know how to apply it, together with the strict marking and pass level scheme, does not het you any marks if it leads to a non-expected T/F-conclusion.

      Kind regards,


    5. Just to clear up a common misconception - the exams are made by the EPO and the epi jointly, so it is the whole profession that is responsible. The EPO also does the most of the organisation & administration. which is why everything has their logo on it.

    6. Since Roel and Alan seem to share the opinion that statement 2.2 is somehow ambigous, I would like to add my personal opposing view on this matter.

      While Roel is right that there might be a possible phrasing of 2.2 that (nearly) erases all doubts, I would still not say that statement 2.2. is ambigous.

      As already pointed out above by Roel, there is always Rule 22(3) of the IPREE. So you should limit yourself to the facts given in the question and the statement.

      In my opinion, this means for statement 2.2:

      a) no legal remedy should be considered (e.g. further processing)
      b) "extension of time limit" is not mentioned with regard to this statement (it is mentioned though in statement 2.4)

      Taking facts a) and b) into consideration and limiting oneself to those, it is - in my opinion - absolutely unambigous that the question here is whether 26 May is still within the "original" 4-month-time limit set by the communication.

      Taking into account the possibility of filing a request for an extension of the time limit would:

      1) not be "limiting yourself to the facts given in the examination paper" and
      2) be reading something into the question and the statement that is simply not there.

      My personal conclusion is therefore that statement 2.4 is not ambigous when taking into account the rules set for the pre-exam.

      It might be somehow ambigous though when you consider practical experience (e.g. some clients might even want to automatically apply for an extension of two month after receipt of the communication), but unfortunately reality does not apply here and you should leave reality behind when entering the examination room.

      Fabian (who luckily passed - 81 points)

      PS: Another interesting fact regarding question 2.2 is that in the German version the term "Rechtsmittel" is used. However, in the guidelines, the term "Rechtsbehelf" is used for further processing in the guidelines (E-VII 2.1 German version). In Germany, these two terms are not the same and "Rechtsbehelf" is the generic term for "Rechtsmittel". For example: An appeal is a "Rechtsmittel" and a "Rechtsbehelf", but further processing and re-establishemant of rights are only "Rechtsbehelfe". I heard that this also led to quite understandable confusion under German candidates.

    7. Hi Fabian,

      maybe I was not clear enough as to 2.2 due to one sentence not being complete in my comment:

      I wrote "It may be argued (as I did) that in the context of the question and the (intended) logical order of 2.1 - 2.2 - 2.3 /2.4: R.126(2) - R.131(4)/R.134(1) - FP time limit runs from notification of loss-of-rights / other option is to request extension" but that should have be followed with ", the (intention of the) statement is clear and sufficiently unambiguous to be understood as intended and that another interpretation, although legally correct, would be a bit too far-fetched".
      Taking the middle part of the sentence out, the fill sentence should have been: "It may be argued (as I did) that in the context of the question and the (intended) logical order of 2.1 - 2.2 - 2.3 /2.4: R.126(2) - R.131(4)/R.134(1), the (intention of the) statement is clear and sufficiently unambiguous to be understood as intended - and that another interpretation would be a bit too far-fetched."

      I.e., I agree with Alan that the statement can be interpreted the way he did, if you consider the statement as such / in itself, and that this could have been prevented by a slightly other phrasing. However, in the context of question 2 as a whole, I can well accept that the intention of the statement is clear and that it is hard to take Alan's reasoning -even though strictly speaking correct- as an interpretation that is likely to be expected from candidates. I tend to follow the latter, and to consider the statement in its context "sufficiently unambiguous" for allowing only one answer...

    8. Note that the text of the Art.94(3), R.71(1) communication (form 2001) reads, in standard wording (_ denoting beginning and end of boldface parts):

      _Communication pursuant to Article 94(3) EPC_

      The examination of the above-identified application has revealed that it does not meet the requirements of the European Patent Convention for the reasons enclosed herewith. If the deficiencies indicated are not rectified the application may be refused pursuant to Article 97(2) EPC.

      You are invited to file your observations and insofar as the deficiencies are such as to be rectifiable, to correct the indicated deficiencies within a period

      _of *tlim* [Guidelines: usually 4 for matters of substance] months_

      from the notification of this communication, this period being computed in accordance with Rules 126(2) and 131(2) and (4) EPC. One set of amendments to the description, claims and drawings is to be filed within the said period on separate sheets (R. 50(1) EPC).

      If filing amendments, you must identify them and indicate the basis for them in the application as filed. Failure to meet either requirement may lead to a communication from the Examining Division requesting that you correct this deficiency (R. 137(4) EPC).

      _Failure to comply with this invitation in due time will result in the application being deemed to be withdrawn (Art. 94(4) EPC)._

      Primary Examiner
      For the Examining Division

    9. Hi Roel, hi Fabian,

      Thank you for your answers. I agree with you that your interpretation makes more sense if one takes into account the logical order of the questions. However, it is very difficult to come to an unambiguous answer if the intention of the question, the whole context and the logical order of the statements has to be taken into account. I am of the opinion that the answer to each statement should be unambiguously clear, irrespective of the logical order. Btw: Regarding the cardboard issue, you can also argue that the logical order of the questions and the way the questions were formulated indicate that cardboard must comprise wood fibers ;-)

      Therefore, I chose this strict approach (which - I believe - usually should lead to the right answer in such exams). I also do not agree with Fabian that I am not limiting myself to the facts given in the question. The formulation of Q2.2 just leaves open the possibility to request the prolongation without having to respond or to request further processing.

      Have a nice evening.


    10. Hi Alan,

      I understand your position in this regard and I fully agree with you that there is the possibility to request prolongation without having to respond or request further processing. That's out of question.

      However, according to my personal experience from previous law exams during my German patent attorney training (still in progress), you should not even think as far as you did when "limiting to the facts". I learned that when something "leaves open the possibility for X" - ignore X and don't even think so far (as Roel also indicated with "far-fetched"). Therefore, I see the facts as: prolongation possible? - yes of course, prolongation requested? - not mentioned, should therefore not be taken into account. So reply HAS to be filed until timelimit set by the date of the communication plus 4 months incl. ten-day rule and holiday/sunday exceptions, etc..

      I guess you can argue back and forth with regard to statement 2.2 but I think that - unfortunately - the EPO wins here.

      Nice evening,


    11. Hi,

      I want to add to the discussion. The blog and the comments suggest that all legal questions are unambiguous and correct as well as the claims analysis questions except 15.2, 17.3 and 20.2 - which are either ambiguous questions, or the official answers maybe even wrong, or both.
      I fully agree that 15.2 and 17.3 are answered wrongly by the Exam Committee as they consider cardboard to always be made of wood fibres which is factually wrong and which is not supported by the paper itself. I think they should correct their answer and correct the answers of the candidates that did not get the marks for those.
      Only for 20.2, the Examiner's Report acknowledges its incorrectness so far.

      However, I am convinced that there is some more that are not at all unambiguous or also wrong. These were given attention in the comments posted to the claims answers blog of Deltapatent, and I cite them below. I think those comments are self-explanatory:

      Statement 16.3 (Art.123(2) violation by claim combination not derivable from claims set as filed nor from description as filed): Nico Cordes commented (

      The combination of claims I.1, I.7 and I.10 is so broad that, in addition to embodiment 1 and 2 of the client's application, an embodiment would fall under the claim which combines a sliding door with a stepped door leaf. However, according to [017] a stepped door leaf is unsuitable for a sliding door. One may thus argue that such an embodiment, and therefore the broad claim as a whole, is not supported by the description as filed.

      Also statement 16.3 (Art.123(2) violation by claim combination not derivable from claims set as filed nor from description as filed): Gemninor commented (

      The application says that stepped edges are not suitable for a sliding door. It does not say that stepped edges are not suitable for a biasing means which is something other than a lever-and-spring Arrangement.

      So, the argument for the inadmissible extension would be: "stepped edges only work with hinged doors, not with sliding doors. For hinged doors, only a lever-and-spring-type arrangement is disclosed in the application. There is no indication for the skilled person that any other biasing means than a lever-and-spring-type arrangement can be used with stepped edges."

      Statement 20.4 (teaching away): ILikeAlu commented ( extensively on 20.4. ILikeAlu said a.o.:

      D1, [003] indeed does teaches that 1300 degree melting point of steel solves all problems (withstand high temp and keep stiffness), but does NOT AT ALL teach that a lower temperature would not work at all. This, it does NOT AT ALL discourage CARRYING OUT EXPERIMENTS as to whether a lower melting point metal such a aluminium is good enough to give at least a bit of cooling (and maybe even preferred for other reasons, such as ease of handling/ tooling).


  5. (unofficial) statistics on the 2015 results :
    - total number of candidates : 811 (796 have a result >0)
    - 74,25% (not including a result = 0)
    - 72,87% (based on the total of 811 candidates)

    1. Just out of interest (given you've probably got the spreadsheet upen to do it), how many are in the range 66-69 and therefore might only have the "cardboard" questions preventing them from passing?

    2. There are also other questions that were debated so I don't think the cardboard issue is the only issue where missing points could be gathered. But I would also be interested in knowing how many failed by a few points.

      I for one belong to the lucky ones. But I still think some questions/answers are not satisfactory answered, even in view of the examiner's report. So good luck to everyone who considers filing an appeal

    3. I get the following distributions:
      82 (10.1%) in the 64-69 range
      59 (7.3%) in the 66-69 range
      132 (16.2%) in the 70-75 range
      84 (10.3%) in the 70-73 range

      My thinking is that the people with higher scores were more likely to answer opposite of the exam committee than the lower scores (as shown by the fact that delta patents appears miffed). With that assumption and the distribution above, I suspect that significantly more people passed because of the cardboard questions than failed because of them.

    4. 66: 17
      67: 12
      68: 19
      69: 11
      70: 24
      71: 18
      72: 23
      73: 19
      74: 36

    5. The numbers above are derived from the originally posted score list (the one that was published by the Examination Secretariat in the morning of March 20).

      For the corrected score list (published mid afternoon of March 20), they are:

      66 18
      67 13
      68 18
      69 12
      70 31
      71 16
      72 26
      73 16
      74 32

  6. I assume the pass rate is 74,25%, rather than the fail rate as the post currently states?

  7. I can't quite follow the examiners' reasoning in allowing either answer for 20.2. Their argument seems to boil down to "if you misread the question, you get the wrong answer". I wonder if the wording is significantly closer in the German or French versions, or whether this was in fact a misstatement in the paper and they are trying to save face?

    1. As to the first part of your comments:
      In English, the last sentence on the page before, the instructions as to the context of the statement and the statement itself read:
      "The opponent defines the objective problem with regard to D2 as to enhance the fire protection function of a fire protection door.",
      "whether the statement is a valid argument as to why it is not obvious to solve the stated objective technical problem by the features of the claim", and
      "20.2 Although D1 discloses a material that is such that it delivers moisture when heated, there is no teaching that solid wood of D2 could replace the material of D1."

      In French:
      "Selon l'opposant, le problème objectif par rapport à D2 consiste à améliorer la fonction protectrice vis-à-vis du feu d’une porte coupe-feu.",
      "si l'affirmation est un argument valable pour expliquer qu'il n'est pas évident de résoudre le problème technique objectif par les caractéristiques de la revendication", and
      "Bien que D1 divulgue un matériau qui est tel qu’il libère de l'humidité sous l’effet de la chaleur, rien n'enseigne que le bois massif de D2 pourrait remplacer le matériau de D1. "

      In German:
      "Gemäß der Definition des Einsprechenden besteht die objektive Aufgabe im Hinblick auf D2 darin, die Brandschutzfunktion einer Brandschutztür zu verbessern.",
      "...ob die Aussage ein stichhaltiges Argument dafür liefert, warum es nicht naheliegend ist, die genannte objektive technische Aufgabe durch die Merkmale des Anspruchs zu lösen", and
      "20.2 D1 offenbart zwar ein Material, das dergestalt ist, dass es bei Erhitzung Feuchtigkeit abgibt, lehrt aber nicht, dass das Massivholz von D2 das Material von D1 ersetzen könnte. "

      As to the second part: we do not know either. But, with the introductory part of the question indicating that is considered the closest prior art in this context and the statement being one that uses as the closest prior art, it looks like a misstatement to me. At least I would be highly surprised if it was the real intention of the statement to conclude False based on the -in itself correct- argument "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.". In fact, we had an elaborate discussion on this between four DeltaPatents tutors, two initially indicating False because of this argument, and two initially indicating True because they considered that the intended meaning of the statement was to test that "there is no teaching that solid
      wood could be replaced by the material of D1." (to use the wording of the Examiner's Report).

    2. In my opinion, the Examination Board and Committee may be complimented for the approach they took for 20.2, by accepting both True and False - thereby recognizing that candidates should not be adversely affected by the consequences of an ambiguous or wrong statement.

      They hereby deviate from the position they took earlier: awarding full marks for both answers is something that the Committee said in the meeting between the Committees and tutors in October(see the Report from the tutors in epi information 4/2014, page 145, last bullet -- available from

      This development is highly welcomed and appreciated, and in my view counterbalances the possible harsh side-effect of the True/False-without-comments format in that it does in itself not allow for reasonable, correct but deviating interpretation of the question and/or lines of reasoning that differ from what candidates were expected to do.
      The Committee is hereby consistent with what they already do for many years in the main exam papers, where all answers, expected as well as unexpected answers and argumentation, are marked according to their individual merits.

  8. Hello Guys,
    I'm so happy I passed. I was a defendant of the "carboard is obviously made of wood", so my score is higher than expected, regarding Delta Patent correction (6 points higher). But I would have passed without that points. Thank you Roel and all the team of Delta Patents for all you do for us.

    1. Congratulations!

      We regret that some candidates may have failed that concluded from our answers that they got 70-73 marks, but has the same answers as use for the cardboard questions 15.2 and 17.4. However, we consider a quick posting of our, motivated, answers of help to most candidates, and the discussion is also easier as long as the official answers are not yet known - as nobody can then use deliberately or unconsciously the Examiner's Report answers and arguments, and the discussion remains unbiased and free from hindsight.

      As far as the cardboard issue is concerned, I do not want to repeat the discussion here, but refer to the discussion above.
      I request all contributors to this post to post any cardboard issue comments as a further reply to the carboard threat above -- please continue with the posts by Cardboard to have a chronological order of commenting.

    2. Indeed, thanks a lot, Delta Patents Team and everyone discussing here! The discussions are interesting and made me consider different angles of several problems - that's what our job is about, after all!

  9. In my opinion the comment on the resitters passing or again failing is a bit too harsh. In fact, many of the EQE candidates do not really require the qualification for their job, i.e. many are employed in companies and represent these companies before the EPO without needing to pass EQE. For them, EQE would may be mean a salary increase but would change nothing to their daily job routine. Therefore, many show up unprepared. The pre-EQE was set up to lower the costs of EQE, because correcting A, B, C and D exams of those candidates requires a lot of time and efforts, although these candidates do not have the same motivation as candidates from law firms.

    In any event, I know quite a number of candidates that simply go there and hope for a lucky shot and I think this approach is reasonable from their perspective.

    1. I meant to just indicate that the EQE is not an exam where lucky shots may let you win any price. No preparation means no passing, and lucky shots are in my view a waste of time and money - if I were the boss of a candidate that is qualified for the job but not fit to practice despite passing the exam, I would not give him/her a salary increase; and, if I were the boss of a candidate that want to go unprepared, I would not allow him.her to go in work time as it IS a waste of time if going unprepared.
      Further, as a European patent attorney as well as as a tutor, I think everybody should take the EQE serious and prepare serious. Further, being qualified to practice because of a lucky pass or for another reason without being fit to practice is a violation of the rules of conduct from the epi that you need to comply with if are a European patent attorney ("a person entered on the list of professional representatives"). So, if there would be any lucky passers, there is a risk that they at some moment end up before the Disciplinary Board...

      Lastly, harsh comments are an effective way to get messages across, and to get the different opinions on the table -- I am aware that this is not the preferred method everywhere in Europe, but it is widely used in the Netherlands and some other countries for the reasons mentioned. Further, blog posts and comments need to be reasonably concise, leaving only little room for politeness and careful approaches. Also, most contributors, including myself, write in a language differert from their mother tongue, thereby not always being able to express themselves/myself with eacatly the intended subtleties, especially not in the limited number of words available.
      So, if anyone feels insulted or attacked, that is really not my intention - my priority is on getting key messages across, and I consider loud and clear messages therein more effective on certain topics than well-balanced, deeply overthought extensive essays (whereas I do acknowledge the need for a thorough analysis and discussion, addressing all subtleties, where it concerns the exam answers and the argumentation in their support).

      Thx for raising the item - hope I clarified my approach and you can accept it ;-)

    2. I had the same thought as Phil though I can also understand the frustration of Roel and in general about unprepared people hoping for a lucky pass.

      I'am all for clear words and constructive criticism where necessary and not a big fan of the "this was good, but you can do better" approach (Germans are usually quite direct and sometimes perceived as harsh). But I personally always dislike the use of writing that is perceived as aggressive such as several exclamation marks and capital letters.

      But maybe clear works, bold letters and one explanation mark brings the point across equally well ;-)

      Though probably not the common case of the resitters are not fully prepared, but it cannot be assumed that all of them are. Some might have severe problems with exams in general because of their nerves (though being a European patent attorney may not be a perfect choice then considering the stress of the EQE), others may have just been unlucky twice (sick, personal issues, pregnancy/ hardly any sleep before the exam because of a crying baby...). If e.g. last year I got sick, but gave it a shot anyway because I felt in general prepared, and this year something personal came up (break-up, something happened to someone close...) causing me to fail again even though I was prepared (again), I would feel taken aback by the harshness of the post. Just saying, while not the majority, there might be other who are really upset about failing again despite preparation.

      But, I want to end with a smile :-) and say thank you all from Delta Patents for the quick answers, discussions and updates.

    3. A candidate from our courses informed me:

      Hi Roel,

      I don’t know if normally people inform you directly if they passed or not the exam, but I thought that it will be nice for you to know how people that followed DP courses performed.
      I passed with 73 points.
      Actually, I am surprised that I passed because I found this exam very difficult.
      I putted a lot of energy in my preparation and I used to study 15 hours per week to be able to do the homework.
      I passed but with a low score so I can imagine that other candidates maybe prepared as me where not able to pass because they made some mistakes more.


  10. The results got changed. Two marks deducted across the board it seems.

    There will be unhappy people.

    1. Our analysis suggests that two marks were not deducted across the board. Some people seem to have lost marks some people seem to have stayed the same. We haven't yet found anyone who appears to have gained marks. It's quite impressive that they've found a new way of messing it up! Let's just hope that marks don't keep periodically dropping for no apparent reason.

    2. What change to you refer to? The Examiner's Report that is online now (20-03 16:05) is the same as that from yesterday evening (19-03 20:08).

    3. 20.2 seems to now be "true"

    4. We downloaded the results again (on a different computer) and noticed that our marks had changed by 2. It would appear that the document which appears on the results link has been changed since this morning.

    5. You're right. The 96-points-guy still has them the little bugger.

    6. I can confirm - I also downloaded the results file again just now (16:10), and did a comparison: about half of the candidates scores were reduced by 2 marks compared to the originally published version. I will do a bit of analysis asap.

      A reason that I can imagine is that -wrongly- ALL candidates were given 2 marks extra in the original results file, whereas the current results file is corrected to only give the 2 marks extra to candidates that answered 20.2 to be True (i.e., which were initially considered to have answered 20.2 wrongly) and not the candidates that answered False and already got the full marks.

      Can a candidate who answered True and a candidate who answered False confirm that their scores indeed we NOT changed between the two versions for those who answered True, but were changed for those who answered F?

    7. I confirm. I answered F, and went down 2, my colleague answered T, and stayed the same.

    8. Hi, no, there is a change. Now I've 67...instead of 69...
      Still want to go to appeal for cardboard issue...
      Pierre (not anonymous)

    9. I answered 20.2 false and have been deducted two points from what I had this morning.

      I am now 4 points lower in the EPO's results from what I calculate based on comparing the EPO's answers to those that I thought I had.

    10. We (two people) both answered False and have been deducted two marks. However based on a comparison between the answers in the Examiner's report and the answers that we gave in the exam we both agree with the mark that we were awarded this morning and disagree with the mark that we were awarded this afternoon.

    11. Re-Hi
      I answered 20.2 false and have also been deducted of 2 points.
      Pierre (not anonymous)

    12. Thx Peterm Anonymous and Rdiner, that confirms what I thought.

      The effect of the correction is:

      - 437 of 811 scores were unchanged (they must have had T for 20.2)
      - 28 were decreased by 1 (they must have had F for 20.2, and have only 1 other statement of question 20 correct )
      - 346 were decreased by 2 (they must have had F for 20.2)

    13. Well EPO, nice way of messing with people who actually got the statement correct.

      Whiskey Tango Foxtrott

      What's the new pass/fail rate?

    14. How many people does this take from pass to fail? Fortunately, I still have 84, but I would recommend that anyone who has been dropped to a fail grade due to this change to download the Examination Report online at the moment as supporting evidence for your appeal.

    15. See below:

      score 1-69: 221 candidates = 27,76% of all 796 non-zeros failed
      score 70-100 575 candidates = 72,24% passed
      average score down to 74,49

    16. Having fished my answers (as written in my notes from the pre-exam) out of the bin, I can confirm that my current score (with the 2 marks deducted) is correct. I answered F for 20.2, and was correct in all other parts of that question (which presumably means that I was marked with 5/4 correct for Q20 as a whole!).

      It seems that this is an admin error with the original results, and so unlikely to be appealable.

    17. I find this worrying, not to mention extremely unprofessional. The majority of candidates take this exam VERY seriously and pay 400 Euros for the privilege. One expects the same level of professionalism from the EPO. At the very least they should inform candidates of the change with another email. I can imagine some are out celebrating now, when in reality they have failed. Has anybody had any comment (official or unofficial) from the EPO concerning this change? Whilst the change does seem to concern question 20.2, we cannot be certain. I'm concerned my passing "buffer" may yet be eroded by a hesitant Examination Committee before the official result letters are sent out.

    18. (Please continue on this topic with posting to the thread below, where a second correction of the score list was noted - back to the original marks for all candidates)

  11. I wonder how many people will be desperate enough to appeal?

  12. Whats the new pass/fail rate?

    1. score 1-69: 221 candidates = 27,76% of all 796 non-zeros
      score 70-100 575 candidates = 72,24%
      average score down to 74,49

    2. Hello!
      Yesterday night I heard about the publication of a second list of results via this blog, is it possible to share the second list? Since my current score is 70, I would like to reassure me because I have not kept my scores for the questions 20.1 to 20.4.
      Many thanks!

    3. Hi M,

      If you read the further information on this blog, you see that the second list was removed and replaced by the list that is currently available. The current list has the same scores as the initial list, but is corrected as to the date in the footer on each page.
      We think we can safely that the second list was wrong, so we will not to share it, neither publicly, nor privately. All information shared by various people on this blog indicate that the second list was erroneous and that its publish was an unlucky event.

      It you consider having the list to serve a useful purpose, you may try via the Exam Secretariat. Maybe the Exam Secretariat can also provide you with a copy of your answers (as they do for main exam candidate May, to allow the main exam candidates to check whether the copies used for marking match what they handed in as to e.g. number of pages)?

      Regards, Roel

    4. I understand and agree with you to not give this second list... So I think I will rather wait for my letter with my true score ;-)
      Thank you

  13. I did have 80. Then I had 79. I now have 80 again.

    There will be trouble in the examining committee for sure.

    - Bond.

    1. Same here; first 82, then 80, now back to 82. I'm a bit baffled as to why they couldn't get their scoring pinned down *before* putting everything online. It makes them look rather sloppy.

    2. Our results have also increased again! Come on EPO, get your act together.

    3. I've remained on my lower (correct to the mark scheme) score

    4. My marks have not gone back up. What is going on?! I had F for 20.2. Can the change concern another question? Marc

    5. Stupid questions, where do you guys get the paper with the results from?

      The EPO directly

      or the link above$File/ExReport_Pre_2015.pdf)?

      Maybe this explains it?

    6. Hi Ela,

      The links are given in the blog post itself - but I will repeat them here for yur convenience.

      Examiner's report with the official answers: -- that links to$File/ExReport_Pre_2015.pdf

      Results:, which links to$File/2015_PreEx_ResultsOnline.pdf

    7. If you looked at the Results page on Friday, make sure to REFRESH your browser when opening the page again to be sure you have the current version of the page and not a cached version!!!

  14. Me too, back to 69.
    (Pierre, not anonymous)

  15. I have gone back up to the original mark.

    The questions I got wrong were 6.1, 9.4, 16.3. I had F for 20.2.

    I am quite confused because this morning I convinced myself the marks were correct, then this afternoon I convinced myself the (reduced by 2) mark was correct, then I am now convinced again that the first marks were correct! Maybe I should sleep on it.

  16. I had 84 and now have 80. Very odd. Matt

    1. Me simular. What a mess!!! Who is playing tricks with us at the EPO???? They say they are a high-Q organization, but this level of amateurism is too strange to be true!!!!
      Is the Secretariat fit to practice???????



    2. Me simular. What a mess!!! Who is playing tricks with us at the EPO???? They say they are a high-Q organization, but this level of amateurism is too strange to be true!!!!
      Is the Secretariat fit to practice???????
      Can somebody ask the Exam Secretariat to post on the EQE pages why the results are repeatedly changed?????!!!!!



    3. I'm sorry guys, I cannot confirm that there is again a new list of marks:
      the list is BACK TO what is was originally.

      When comparing the version that is now (22 March, 6:45 am) on, the only difference with the original list of marks is that the date in the footer on each page is corrected from 08.05.2012 to 20.03.2015.

      That leaves two puzzles still to be solved:

      1) was the original list wrong in two aspects ("20.2 correction" and date in footer) and was only the first error corrected in the first corrected list from Friday 16:00, while only the second error was corrected on the second corrected list that is online now? Or was the original list OK as to the number of marks, whereas only the date in the footer was wrong? If so, how did the first corrected list get into existence - we have been able to give a very likely cause...

      2) were do the 4 marks difference that Matt sees come from? And why did Mike C stay a the lower value (Mike: did your refresh your webpage, else it could be that the second retrieval got you the cached version and did not really do a new download).

      Note to FeelingBadAboutAllOfIt: please be a bit more careful with your words, the words you do is close to or already across the edge.... However, I do agree that the secretariat should give a message that they replaced the document if the _important (!)_ content changed, and briefly indicate what was changed, so that candidates are informed whether there is something important to check!

    4. Ah, it seems that it was a cached version, I am back at the higher (and incorrect by my count) mark.

  17. My marks were 80-->78-->80 on Friday. 80 would be in line with the Examiner's report (provided that the Examiner's report did NOT change). I had F for 20.2.

    1. The Examiner's report did not change (at least not between the one available on 19 March compared to what is on the Compendium pages now, 23 March, 9:23).

  18. I had "F" for 20.2. My current number of Marks is exactly what I expect (I saved my answers).
    After reading the comments this is my guessing on what happened:
    1. the first initially uploaded version is correct (beside the wrong date)
    2. in trying to correct the date of the first version they have uploaded a second wrong version (which I haven't seen!). In the second version they have erroneously deduced 2 (or 1) Marks for all candidates having "F" for 20.2. I guess this was a mistake of the person who filed the results in the file.
    3.there was no initial increase in the number of Marks for candidates who had "F" for 20.2. This is at least true for me because I have looked at the file at 11h35 (20/3) and have seen the current number of Marks which is the right one.
    4. the current version of the results seems to be the right one.

    1. Thx for the clarification and for checking the 20.2 situation!

      So, let's assume that the second version (with the lower marks) was wrong, and the first and current one correct!

  19. A candidate emailed me:

    --- begin quotation ---

    Hi Roel,

    Saw your post asking to double-check scores. The exam committee lists me as an 86 (originally an 86, then down to an 84 in the stealth update, and then again back to 86), but I calculate an 88 based on what I wrote down. I double-checked my answers, so I think it’s unlikely that I filled in a blank wrong, but perhaps I had an incomplete erasure that tripped the machine.

    Anyway, I’m somewhat appalled at the poor quality of this examination. Why anyone would write an examination where the cardboard issue was even an issue, and then come to the wrong conclusion on top of that, is beyond me. I hope I experience the actual EPO to be more professional and quality-focused than the examination committee.

    Have a nice weekend!

    1 – T, F, T, F
    2 – F, T, F, T
    3 – F, T, F, T
    4 – T, F, T, F
    5 – F, T, F, T
    6 – F, F, T, F
    7 – T, T, F, T
    8 – F, T, T, F
    9 – T, F, T, T
    10 – T, T, F, T

    11 – F, F, F, T 11.4 wrong
    12 – F, T, T, T 12.4 wrong
    13 – F, T, F, F
    14 – T, T, T, F
    15 – T, T, F, T 15.2 allegedly wrong
    16 – T, F, F, F 16.3 allegedly wrong
    17 – T, T, F, F 17.3 allegedly wrong
    18 – T, F, F, F 18.2 wrong
    19 – T, F, F, T
    20 – T, F, T, T

    -- end quotation --

    Interesting - I also get 88 from this, so why 86 in the list? (Will the official results letter say 86 or 88 - K: can you please update us once available?)

    1. Some perspective on your perception of "poor quality":
      - the exams are made by the EPO and the epi jointly, so it is the whole profession that is responsible, not just the EPO.
      - the exams are made by people who put a lot of time and effort into it. They are very professional and they make the best exam that they can - it is very difficult to make questions unambiguous in three languages that don't give away the answers too easily. Especially when answered by 800 people. We see that ourselves just from adapting old exams and writing new questions.
      - Every year the examination committees look for new members, and it is very difficult to find patent attorneys who will do it. If you think the exams can be improved, then please volunteer after you pass to help.

    2. Hi Pete. My comment was more overreaching than intended. I really am referring to just two issues: 1) the cardboard questions; and 2) the multiple unannounced changes to the examination results. I appreciate the difficulty in making the exam, and they did a quite good job on most of it, but these two rotten apples spoiled the whole bunch.

      I'm not saying it's an easy job, but I am saying that they did not do a good job. The amount of effort or professionalism that they have applied to the examination makes no difference. I'm sure you yourself disagree with the answers to the cardboard questions. My suspicion is that if 100 attorneys with >5 years of experience took this exam that extremely few would answer that D1 defined all cardboard. It would be one thing if they just wrote an ambiguous question, for example, if they had the same cardboard questions with the opposite answer. At least the answer would have been right but the question still poorly written (btw, you could have fixed this easily by just calling it material instead of something with a general meaning). However, to give the wrong answer with incorrect reasoning on top of it gives the perception of poor quality to the entire test.

    3. My point was to try and balance things out, and to prevent anybody just blaming the exam and the exam process because its unfair. That negative mindset actually makes it harder to pass the next time. That is also the danger of appeal - it can reinforce the negativity (even if you win). I have seen this many times.

      I teach how to interpret legal questions - it is always subjective to a degree, and you automatically read between the lines. I have seen questions which I consider unclear, but almost everybody got them right. And vice-versa.
      I have also practice questions which we practice for years until someone points out that it could be read a different way.

      I am not sure how you could prevent this - a number of experienced attorneys are already involved anyway in preparing and testing the exams. Involve the 100 attorneys maybe, but they have to do it under secrecy.

      The other thing that is sometimes surprising is how many people get such questions right. We have no statistics for how many got the questions "wrong" - so it could actually be a vocal minority of the 800 that read it differently.

    4. qualified attorney23 March 2015 at 18:07

      Regarding the number of candidates who answered this question correctly, I think that there is an aspect of the unfortunate question that has not drawn much attention which is relevant to that. Because the answer approved by the Examiners was False (meaning that claim 1.6 was anticipated) this answer could be reached by candidates who should not be getting credit for it. Candidates who did not observe that claim 1.6 was dependent on claim 1.2 would not appreciate that a disclosure of wood fibres was necessary for anticipation, so would get the allegedly correct answer because of that lack of appreciation of the dependency. It can also be got 'right' by thinking that D3 discloses wood as outer surfaces and that this meets the requirement for wood fibres, when claim 1.6 requires aluminium outer surfaces, not wood.

      So there seem to be two pitfalls designed into the question to trap candidates failing to see the dependency or failing to understand that wood and aluminium are not simultaneously disclosed as outer surfaces. These traps however only make sense if the question was designed originally to have the answer True - not anticipated.

      So perhaps some of the candidates not complaining about this got it right for the wrong reasons.

      The examiner's comments on this question were published long after the deficiencies of the question became the subject of debate and I cannot understand why this plainly wrong marking scheme was allowed to be implemented.

    5. Hi
      Sorry for coming back again with this cardboard issue, but by assuming that the disclosure of D1 (and therefore the Examiner's report is correct), it should be in contradiction with the guidelines (G-VII 3.1, paragraph 2, four first lines) which state the following :

      "A single publication (e.g. a patent document, but also the content of a technical journal) cannot normally be considered as common general knowledge (see T 475/88). In special cases, articles in technical journals can be representative of common general knowledge (see T 595/90). This applies in particular to articles providing a broad review or survey of a topic (see T 309/88). "

      Subsequently, it is difficult for me to believe that D1 was part of the common general knowledge in the question related to the cardboard composition (without even disputing the specific wording of this document). D1 is not a textbook, but is more a simple disclosure of of the kind of a technical journal. Moreover, the content of D1 is related to door leaf for fire protection door. D1 is not a technical journal related to cardboard.

      Thank you for reading and for commenting if you wish...

      The Cardboard Guy

    6. Hi Cardboard Guy,

      Good comment.

      But you have to a a bit careful: even though D1 itself can indeed for sure not be considered common general knowledge, D1 could contain definitions that are (but D1 does not!). It happens quite frequently in e.g. the C Paper that a document that is too late to be prior art has a definition of some type or that includes a common general knowledge statement like "It is well-known since the twenties that cardboard can comprises wood fibres and/or cotton fibres and/or other cellulose fibres". Such a statement has to be taken as true in the exam as it is a fact given to you.

      So, in the exam situation, all facts are to be taken to be true - but not everything that is phrased is a fact. An example of a fact is a definition or a statement informing you about common general knowledge. So, if a single document would have a statement that is unambiguously a definition, that definition is to be taken as true. However, as argued before, there is not such definition: the alleged definition of cardboard which is NOT an unambiguous definition is introduced in the paper in D1 [0003] as "The [..] plate is made of a cardboard that contains calcium silicate" and then further refined to also "The cardboard comprises wood fibres distributed within the plate 105.". There is not a single definition in these two phrases, and, when correctly read, it just defines that "The [..] plate is made of a cardboard that contains calcium silicate and that comprises wood fibres distributed within the plate 105."
      (By the way, if the "comprising wood-fibre" would be taken as a definition, then certainly also the earlier introduced characteristic of the cardboard "containing [=comprising] calcium silicate" would need to be taken into the definition -- and cardboard would then be defined as "cardboard comprises calcium silicate and wood fibres, with the wood fibres being distribited within the plate" -- such a definition would have a drastic and dramatic effect on the complete paper)


    7. Do you know why the C Exam Committee is obviously not reviewing the Pre-Exam? They would certainly have seen the issue, isn't it?

      Or, maybe they did not see it was a potential issue as they could answer without ambiguity with the same answers as the DeltaPatents guys and many on this blog, as they had no doubt from the phrasing in the paper that "cardboard comprising wood fibres" was clearly a specific embodiment of the broad class "cardboard" and NOT defined to comprise wood fibres, whereas nobody actually checked whether the T or F conclusions from the C Committe members was the same as of different from those from the Pre-Exam Committee that is now in the Examiner's Report for 15.2 and 17.3?

      And similar for the intermediate generalization of 16.3 - would the C Committee also not fully agree that that violates Art.123(2)!

  20. Another candidate's reaction in my email this morning:

    This year’s pre-exam I passed with 76 marks.

    I had only two mistakes in the legal part and therefore saved myself from the completely messed up claims analysis part. Estimating from all the mock exams I should have been between 85-95 marks.

    I studied really hard and intensively over the year and in particular also the last two months using several weeks of holidays - therefore I am quite disappointed by the formulation of the exam – I wouldn’t mind the pre-exam becoming more difficult, but introducing such ambiguity isn’t really making it more difficult but just more impossible. It’s typical engineer’s failure to expect a higher precision than the systems standard deviation of language allows for. But that’s my personal subjective point of view.

    I finished the pre-exam without any haste already after 2 h 45 min using the left over time to check my answers in the legal part not correcting any.
    In the claims part I felt save – because I knew the feeling of ambiguity from the mock-exams.
    Despite this time I wasn’t right. I had a very good sleep in the night and felt prepared. During the exam I was concentrated and principally in good mood. I began with the claims analysis part (as I always trained at home) and therefore was also freshest doing this part.

    I would like to end with saying that DeltaPatents did an excellent job ! In particular I would like to thank Roel for providing the excellent legal course over the last year and Nico also a big thank you for the claims analysis part (Therefore my greetings to him this way). I would further like to thank you for taking the enormous effort to provide the blogs along the exams and for thereby fostering the public discussion on the questions and answers. I think that has a very healthy effect.

    My kindest regards to you.

  21. He guys from DeltaPatents,

    Did you see that IPKat is also discussing the Pre-Exam in their blog "BREAKING NEWS - Uncertainty over the EQE Pre-exam results" at

    [citation start]
    Friday, 20 March 2015

    BREAKING NEWS - Uncertainty over the EQE Pre-exam results

    This Kat just learned of a most regrettable uncertainty in the issuance of the European Qualifying Examination pre-exam results today. According to the DeltaPatents blog and comments posted there, the situation, as he was informed by a concerned candidate, is as follows:


    This Kat can only imagine how distressing it must be for a candidate to be bounced backwards and forwards between pass and fail. Although he understands that this informal notification of results is not the binding outcome, (the results come with the disclaimer "Please note that we cannot accept liability for the information given. Only results as notified to you in your result letter are binding.") surely every care needs to be taken to ensure that they are correctly notified even at this stage.

    Moreover, the fact that an ambiguity of this magnitude has arisen at this stage, and the fact that Delta Patents seem to have disagreed with the official answer in a number of further questions, together suggest that perhaps the formulation of the multiple choice questions has become too complex.

    The IPKat wonders whether any readers have further news or insight into this troubling situation.

    [citation end]


  22. Hi DeltaPatent!

    I passed the exam, however with a quite low score and believe the exam was much more difficult than I expected. Since the cardboard question was very essential for me for passing I am glad that it turned out that cardboard comprises wood fibers. However, from my point of view, even though I fully understand it is tricky to put a pre-exam together, I think better safe than sorry, which means better to have clear questions without any room for interpretations, than complicate it too much and end up with questions as cardboard.

    Thank you for all support Roel, without Deltapatents courses and assistance with answering questions and so on, I believe I wouldn’t have made it. 

    See you soon in Eindhoven for the main exam preparation!

    Best Regards Caroline

  23. hey there! just something off topic
    i just read the statitstics. Does anybody know how the EQEreg number is generated?

    1. Why would you want to know? Does not change the marks. EQEreg number seems to be uniquely identifying a candidate. Or does somebody think differently?


    2. it is just for intrest. just want to know how i came to mine...
      it got something todo with the year and the number you registered...
      but why are yome with X and so on.

    3. The last digit is a check digit, presumably modulo 11. The next three digits from right seem to be consecutively numbered with some missing, perhaps withdrawals from the EQE. The first two digits from the left seem to indicate the year, with 40 for 2015 and the 24 and 23 range possibly indicating registering in 2014. That are about 80 persons, perhaps 20 did in fact not sit the pre exam in 2014. The candidate starting with 11 is likely the resitter from 2013.

    4. Hi lgk,

      interesting analysis. I come to a similar but slightly different conclusion as to the start digits:

      The vast majority of Pre-Exam 2012 candidates had EQEreg numbers starting wit 220- 2262 - so these are first time sitters in 2012.
      The vast majority of Pre-Exam 2013 candidates had EQEreg numbers starting with 2265--2369 - so all these are first time sitters, and they just continued numbering.
      All 2014 have a number starting with 23 or 24 (they ran out of 23-numbers in 2013), so they again continued numbering again for pre-Exam 2014.
      And in 2015, they no longer continued numbering, but introduced 40-numbers for the new sitters.

      Numbers typically increment with 9, but some numbers are skipped and some numbers ending with X show up in between.

      The 2013 candidate's EQEreg starts with 230, but with 11. In fact, EQEreg 112387 did not sit any earlier Pre-Exam, so could be a candidate that registered earlier for a main paper (which makes him likely qualified to sit the main exam without the pre-exam!?! -- see Art.25(4)(a) REE just requires "successfully ENROLLED for an examination before the first pre-examination is held" to be exempted from the pre-examination - and not "PASSED one or more papers before") - but it does not matter anymore, as 112387 passed (congrats!),
      Interesting -- some more inspection shows that in Pre-Exam 2014, there were 27 Pre-Exam candidates with EQEreg numbers starting with 10-13 (1 failed, 26 passed); in Pre-Exam 2013, 2 starting with 12 (both passed); in Pre-Exam 2012, 2 starting with 12 or 13 (one failed, one passed).
      The one that failed in 2012 did not resit any later Pre-Exam, nor a main exam paper of 2013-2014 -- I expect it was a 2009 or 2010 enroller. The one that failed in 2014 did not resit the Pre-Exam this year - it is a number in the EQE 2010-range.
      I can think of two reasons why a request for enrolment may be considered to unsuccessful:
      - the candidate did have the required technical qualification (Art.11(1)(a) REE, Rule 11 IPREE -- see e.g. D 8/14;
      - the candidate did satisfy the supervision requirement (Art.11(1)(b) and Art.11(2) REE - e.g. D 1/13).
      But probably not when the candidate withdrew in time to get the fee back (OJ 2014, A35, item 3), as the fee for registration and enrolment is not refunded but only the fee for sitting the respective paper(s).

      Candidates that withdrew in time will not show up in the results list. Candidate that withdrew to late but did not show up, wil show with a 0 score.

      So far for my analysis and conclusion. Now back to work! ;-)

  24. I missed the results coming in as I was on holiday, but am happy to hear that many of you passed the exam. Unfortunately, some of you did not - hopefully next time!

    As Roel already indicated in his post, we appear to have deviated from the Examiner report's intended answers in four statements (of which 20.2 has been retrospectively deemed to have been formulated unnecessarily complex, leading to the Examiner's report accepting both answers).

    With respect to 15.2 and 17.3, we are (and remain) of the opinion that D1 merely states that its cardboard comprises woodfibers and that it would be undue to conclude from the particular statement that that cardboard in general comprises woodfibers. Unfortunately, however, the Examiner's report does not to follow this reasoning. Since both sides of this issue have been extensively discussed on our blog, further words are probably superfluous at this point.

    With respect to 16.3, the Examiner's report indicates a stepped door leaf in combination with a biasing means is disclosed in the description. We are (and remain) of the opinion that the claim scope now covers an embodiment which is not directly and unambiguously derivable from the application as a whole, namely a stepped door leaf in combination with a sliding door. Our reasoning is that [017] clearly states that such a stepped door leaf is not suited for a sliding door and thus that such an embodiment would not be "directly and unambiguously" derivable from the application as a whole. As such, the amendment appears to be non-allowable under Art. 123(2) EPC.

    See also T 1363/12 discussing this "gold" standard for assessing any amendment for its compliance with Art. 123(2) EPC, which was coincidentally covered yesterday on our patent law blog

    Again, further words are probably superfluous at this point. For those of you who passed the exam, congratulations and time to celebrate! And for those of you that didn´t - don´t despair, relax for a few weeks and later on try to reflect on what went wrong so that you can hopefully pass next time.

    1. Or appeal. In my opinion, definitely appeal if you failed because of one or more of 15.2, 17.3, and also for 16.3 and some of the discussed legal questions. And you can afford the appeal fee of course (the appeal fee can be refunded if successful, see D 3/14). The EPO should not be able to get away with forcing a multiple choice test with so many ambiguous questions.

    2. The following are my reflections on 16.3, in response to an e-mail of one of the candidates (posted here as this may be of interest to others).

      Please note that this is only one line of reasoning in support of the non-allowability of the amendment. Others may exist as well (but of course ultimately one convincing reasoning is sufficient).

      1. An amendment which involves combining dependent claims, which are dependent upon each other by a chain of dependency, is allowable under Art. 123(2)

      2. However, there is no chain of dependency between claims 1, 7 and 10
      a. Claim 7 and 10 directly refer to claim 1 – claim 7 and 10 are not directly linked
      b. The combination of claim 1, 7 and 10 thus represents an non-disclosed combination of claims

      3. The proposed combination of claims 1, 7 and 10 thus represents an amendment which should be evaluated in the ‘usual’ manner
      a. G 3/89, G 11/91, CLR II E 1: the “gold standard” is that amendments are permitted within the limits of what the skilled person would derive directly and unambiguously, using common general knowledge from the application as filed
      b. The proposed amendment yields the following claim: "Door comprising a door leaf, a door frame, and a biasing means for biasing the door leaf in a predetermined position, wherein the door leaf comprises a plate including a material containing fibers, and wherein the door leaf has a stepped edge".
      c. The scope of this claim covers an embodiment where the door is a sliding door and the door leaf has a stepped edge
      i. Namely, the claim leaves open whether the door is a sliding door, a pivoting door, etc. Similarly, the claim is not limited to a particular type of biasing means.
      d. Such an embodiment is not directly and unambiguously derivable from the application as filed
      i. [0017] does allude to this embodiment, but appears to disclaim this as a non-functioning, unworkable embodiment
      ii. G-IV 5.1, G-VI 1: unworkable embodiments are not part of the application as filed
      e. Accordingly, the proposed amendment is not allowable under Art. 123(2) EPC

      The reasoning put forward in points 3c-f essentially follows T 1363/12: “The amended claim covers arrangements in which (…). Such arrangements, which were not covered by the original claims, are neither disclosed in the originally filed claims nor in the description or figures of the application” and is thus considered to be non-allowable under Art. 123(2).

      Please note that there may be other lines of argumentation. See, for example, CLR II E 1:

      “The underlying idea of Art. 123(2) EPC is that an applicant is not allowed to improve his position by adding subject-matter not disclosed in the application as filed, which would give him an unwarranted advantage and could be damaging to the legal security of third parties relying on the content of the original application (see G 1/93)”

      By now claiming (as part of the scope of the claim) an embodiment which was previously described as unworkable in the application as filed, the applicant would certainly surprise a third party and damage their legal security relying on the content of the original application.

  25. Hi everyone!
    Just a question. Last year, successful decision D3/14 has been taken on 1.09.2014 and published online on 22.09.2014. So my question is, how to register for the main exam ? Because if you become aware end of September that your appeal is successful and that you finally pass the pre-exam, you still need to validly register to the main exam...
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Patrick,

      Make sure to enrol for the pre-Exam 2016 before the end of the registration deadline.
      And then prepare for main exam enrolment, so you can submit it if possible in time after you won the appeal (if you did) - you then withdraw your pre-exam submission and get the examination fee for that refunded if I am not mistaking (and if not, than just take your loss about the pre-exam fee and be happy you can sit the main exam).

      D 3/14 was a strange case - the candidates did a conditional withdrawal in case interlocutory revision was not successful (probably to make sure to get his fee back, and/or to make sure that he would not end up in lengthily procedures that would end too late - but such condition is not allowed as the Board of Appeal said). But the appeal was settled in time for enrolment, as the Board of Appeal took the urgency into account when deciding - see the reason with number 16 that says 'Complete applications from candidates wishing to sit the main examination in 2015 must be received by the Examination Secretariat no later than 8 September 2014. The matter is therefore urgent. '. So their decision of 1 September was before the deadline (and they will surely have informed the candidate immediately in view of the urgency).

      The other appeals (not in English) were all settled earlier, as they did not have this conditional withdrawal. D 2/14, D 4/14, D 5/14 and D 6/14 were all decided on 22 July.

      That is of course still quite late, but it was so late because the Board of Appeal got the case from the Examination Board that did not decide in favour within 2 months after notification of the decision.

      Also contact the Exam Secretariat, Probably they will allow you to fill in enrollment forms for pre-exam resitting as well as for main exam sitting, so you can sit the paper(s) you are allowed to in 2016 (pre if appeal not succesul or main if appeal succesful).

      And if you appeal ask for quick procedure in view of the very nearness of the enrolment deadline. Be careful that the appeal time limit is only one month from the notification of the EQE decision for EQE appeals.


  26. Has anyone received their official results letter? I understand they were dispatched on 27th March, but mine is nowhere to be seen.


    1. Mine arrived today

    2. Received on 03/04/15.

    3. Hello,
      I have not either my letter.
      Is it the same results as the current published results?
      Thank you

    4. Date of arrival probably depends on how the various postal services of the various contries cooperate when a letter crosses one or more borders, on the local postal services, and on using private=direct address or company-address with extra delay due to in-company mail distribution?

      Delivery inside Germany was fast: I was informed earlier by a candidate from Germany that he received the results letter (all send from Munich) already on 30 March.

    5. Mine's still not arrived... might be time to contact the EPO

  27. Who of you is filing an appeal and in view of what question? Maybe we can exchange arguments to increase our chances.


    1. I have started some with an appeal. Do you want to exchange arguments over e-mail?

    2. yes of course. herbertsapps"ät"outlook [.] de

    3. I am also looking to file an Appeal in view of 17.3 and 19.3. Is anyone else thinking of appealing in view of these questions? If so, would you like to discuss arguments? I would be keen to do so- my email address is,com

    4. i have already received some arguments: Everybody considering an appeal in view of 15.2 and/or 17.3 can send me an e-mail. i will forward arguments received so far and i´m also happy to receive more arguments. see e-mail adress above.


  28. I will probably file an appeal regarding 15.2 and 17.3. I will discuss it with my boss and decide next week if I will file or not.

    1. I will also file an appeal for questions 15.2 and 17.3. I would like to contact you, can I have your email adress?

    2. I just filed my appeal today.


  29. Same as for me. It's 4 points, and right now, I'm still thinking that I deserve them, I mean, I really cannot understand why I'm not correct with these questions. It would drag me from 69 to 73.
    Btw, if I'm correct, we have until 6th of May to file the appeal...(official date of dispatch: 27.03.2015 (+10 days = 6.04.2015) + 1 month = 6.05.2015)

  30. Hi,
    I got 67 and am seriously considering filing an appeal over questions 19.2 and 20.4 (4 points). Is anyone else in the same position regarding these questions? Many thanks.

    1. I would like to contact you. How can I do this?

    2. Hi,
      Happy to be contacted:
      Thanks, Tim

  31. Hi there, I also got 67 Points and I am considering filing an Appeal because of questions 15.2 and 17.3.

    Where can I find the Appeals concerning pre eqe from last year? Thanks for your help.

    1. Go to

      Under "Case number", type /14

      Under "Decision type", tick D: Disciplinary Board of Appeal

      Under "Time - Decisions published on the EPO website", select 2014

      Press Search button

      Most decisions you then find are Pre-Exam appeals

      Or directly search for cases D 2/14, D 3/14, D 4/14, D 5/14, D 6/14 on the same page

  32. If you want to Appeal because of two questions (say 15.2 and 17.3) do i have to file two separat appeals? This rumour is going around, but noone really knows if ist just a rumour or if ist true.

    1. You need to appeal the FAIL decision, not a statement.

      The grounds and arguments should state that the FAIL decision is defective and needs to be overturned, because the FAIL decision is based on serious and obvious mistakes.

      If you scored 66 or 67 and 15.2 and 17.3 together are needed to get you from FAIL to PASS, you need to file an appeal where you argue for both.

      If you scored 68 or 69 and need either 15.2 or 17.3 (or both) to get you from FAIL to PASS (70 or more), you could best file an appeal with a main request reviewing 15.2 and an auxiliary request reviewing 17.3.

      But if you do not understand how appealing works and do not understand the auxiliary request system, going back to studying and resitting is probably a better option


  33. Hi,
    I am seriosuly considering filing an Appeal because of 20.4. Who wants to exchange and discuss arguments? Thank you.
    Best regards, Chris

    1. Just read the above - all arguments are available. I do not think the DP guys will draft your notice of appeal! And why would they - it is a thing you should do yourself to show you know the system, and with all info above and on the claims analysis answer blog (, you should be able to do so, or else...


    2. Chris - I've put my email above, happy to exchange arguments. Tim

  34. Hi all
    I have already filed an appeal in relation to questions 15.2 and 17.3, using similar arguments to those discussed on this blog. For those of you considering appealing in relation to these questions, I would encourage you to do so. The more appeals the better.
    Good luck!

  35. Hy everybody,

    I just figured out the following (relevant for the german version):

    In the exam it was defined that "Die Pappe umfasst Holzfasern...". Generally the use of the article "die" may be possible to define a general statement in the german language. This however is not common in the patent language, since there this article always refers to something already defined. For that reason "die Pappe" can only relate to the "pappe" defined in the preceding sentence.
    However, all of this arguments may be true, but consider the following:

    In german the term "Pappe" has the plural "Pappen". In order to define a general statement that every "pappe" comprises wood, the plural of the word "pappe" would mandatory have to be used!

    Therefore actually no further arguments are required since in view of the use of the word "Pappe" in singular, a general statement cannot be seen in the respective statement. Therefore there is no room for interpretation by the revisors.

    Please comment my arguments.

    Thanks a lot!


    1. Fully agree. Case closed? No, only if the Exam Board grants interlocutory revision. And, as they did last year, reverses the marks decision for all concerned, not only those that appealed, even though this is stretching their competences beyond legal limits (general principle of law: "if not challenged by a person adversely affected, decision is final and body cannot itself change at own motion" Would be a shame if they again let the Disciplinary Board tell them that they should have granted intel rev whereas they didnot in spite of of a serious and obvious errors - see above for comments by various people! Will see.. fairness? or arbitrariness? Pass level at 70 or effectively at 74%.

      GoodBut SelectiveTrueFalseIsImpossible

  36. Appeal success7 May 2015 at 17:21

    It seems that appeals based on 15.2 and 17.3 have been successful and reversed by the Examination Board themselves without the need for the intervention of the Board of Appeal - an Appellant at our firm received a letter today and it looked like a standard letter.

  37. I confirm, decision reversed fom fail to pass

  38. I also got a pass today on my appeal answer :-) thanks everyone for good input!

    1. Congratulations!

      Could you share the content of the letter with all blog readers? In particular, does the letter just give a reversed decision, or does the letter also discuss the topics in substance?

    2. The letter does not disclose any discussion:

      Full letter:

      "The Examination Board" has considered your appeal well founded and has decided to rectify its decision. Your answers to statements 15.2 and 17.3 are justifiable and an evaluation of your work on this basis would lead to your passing the pre-examination 2015.

      The decicion communicated to you with letter of 27 March 2015 stating your having failed the pre-examination 2015 is therefore withdrawn by the examination board.

      Your answer paper has been awarded the following marks: 70

      Based on the marks above and pursuant to Rule 6(2) IPREE, the examination board has decided to award the grade PASS.
      I also take this opportunity to indicate that application to the main examination (papers A, B, C, D) of the EQE 2016 will start on 14 July 2015.

      Should you have already enrolled to the pre-examination 2016, your application will be deemed null and void and the fees paid will be reimbursed."

      The e-mail with the decisions also said: "The appeal fees will be reimbursed as soon as possible."


    3. Do you think they will also change the decision for people that did not appeal? I was told they did so last year?!

      Will they also change the Examiner's Report? (They did not yet do it)

    4. I did not appeal and the decision was changed for me as well

    5. Funny that you did not appeal and you got a decision reversing your grade (I'm happy for you, don't worry)
      From my side, I did the appeal (and pay the appeal fees) in time and I did not receive anything officially now. Where is equity ???
      I guess the reversing decision should also affect me (in good) but for now, it seems that I have to be content with the reading of different blogs...
      Shouldn't EPO update the Result list for being therefore sure?
      At the end, everything which one might found on the blogs should be taken with care and might not be official. Start to be boring all this, don't you think so ?


    6. Hi Anonymous.

      I understand that the Examination Board was meeting on Monday the 27th of March (the last day to file appeals, excl. ten day rule). Accordingly, if you sent your appeal on the 27th (rather than a couple of days earlier), or if you made use of the ten day rule (which you were entitled to!) your appeal would not have been considered that day.

      If you lost marks on 15.2 and 17.3 you should have had those marks changed anyway, as it appears that they changed the marking scheme. Unless they are holding off changing your mark until they consider your appeal (not sure why they would do that...).

      Had you lost marks on those two questions? And what day did you post your appeal?


    7. Thanks for commenting.
      I understood that (and already thought about that) but really, is it so complicated to publish new official results for everybody ??? Especially because apparently, even those who did not appeal receive something (that they did not ask...)
      My appeal indeed concerned 15.2 and 17.3 and was filed during the period foreseen by the 10-day after 27.03.


    8. I also filed an Appeal concerning 15.2 and 17.3. I haven't received anything yet. I find it weird that they would let everybody know except those who appealed after 27th of March. Makes no sense to me.


  39. Congratulations, Jessica; I also got an e-mail with the same content (scan file of a registered letter signed by Bertrand Gellie, mentioning that I have passed the pre-exam).

  40. I filed an Appeal concerning 20.4. I received an E-Mail last week. The appeal has been sent to the boards of appeal.

    1. So interlocutory revision unfortunately not granted and Discipl Board will look at it. Hopefully they wil handle it quickly - last year, they handled the appeal before the main exam enrolment deadline was closed, and they explicitly mentioned in their decisions the importance of doing that. Difficult to estimate what your chance of success is, but I agree with the comments of WateringDownDeToAmbigutiesAndWrongOfficialAnswers in and of ILikeAlu in

      To quote ILikeAlu:

      "D1, [003] indeed does teach that 1300 degree melting point of steel solves all problems (withstand high temp and keep stiffness), but does NOT AT ALL teach that a lower temperature would not work at all. This, it does NOT AT ALL discourage CARRYING OUT EXPERIMENTS as to whether a lower melting point metal such a aluminium is good enough to give at least a bit of cooling (and maybe even preferred for other reasons, such as ease of handling/ tooling)."

      I agree with ILikeAlu that the Exam Committte made a serious error in their argumentation as to teaching away or not. The Discipl Board is thus competent to take on the case and look as this error and the effect of it.

      In their argumentation in the Examiner's Report, the Exam Committee seems to consider the mentioning of a disadvantage and/or a not optimal effect already to be a teaching away, but that is not at all sufficient -- see GL G-VII, 4: "As a general rule, there is an inventive step if the prior art leads the person skilled in the art away from the procedure proposed by the invention. This applies in particular when the skilled person would not even consider carrying out experiments to determine whether these were alternatives to the known way of overcoming a real or imagined technical obstacle."

      Good luck!

      What were your arguments? Could you share with the reader of this blog?

    2. I had two lines of argumentation.

      Firstly, I argued that in accordance with the task of question 20.4 only the disclosure of D1 shall be considered and no further documents and no common knowledge.

      The answer of the EPO is as follows: "D1 discloses in [0002] that the preferred metal is steel because of its high melting point above 1300°C, and it is further mentioned that this has the advantage that the metal of the door can withstand normal temperatures occuring during fire and maintains its stiffness even at higher temperature. This leads away from using aluminum in fire protection doors, which melts away in the event of fire.“

      The information that aluminum melts away in the event of fire is not containd in D1, nor aluminum itself, nor the melting point of aluminum, nor the temperatures occuring in the event of fire. But the information that "aluminum melts away in the event of fire" is exactly the information which forms a basis for evaluation. I further argued that this information is rather contained in the (0006) of the description of the client's application. In light of the task, this information should not have been taken into consideration for question 20.4. In sum/however, following the EPO's task it is not possible to arrive at the EPO's answer.

      Secondly, I argued like IlikeAlu. I further added the argument that D1 does not contain requirements which has to be met by the metal materials such as a melting point of 1300°C and more. Paragraph (0003) of D1 additionally describes that the water of the door evaporates in the event of fire thereby cooling said door. Thus, a melting point of less than 1300°C should also be suitable.

    3. So I wonder whether anybody else filed an appeal concerning question 20.4? A broad discussion was going on in this blog and a lot of arguments were posted here, in particular by ILikeAlu.

      Did anybody else appealed?


    4. Could you, please, share if you became aware of when the Board will have its meeting on your appeal for question 20.4? Thank you in advance

  41. Chris,

    Thanks for posting. I filed an appeal against a fail decision, citing questions 19.2 and 20.4 as ones that could have been validly concluded to be either true or false, depending on reasoning. Like you, I received notification that the Examination Board has not rectified its decision and my appeal has been referred to the Board of Appeal.

    My arguments for answering Q20.4 as ‘false’ are summarised as follows:

    In line with Rule 22(3) IPEE, it is submitted that there is no mention in D1 of the use of aluminium. D1 states that different metal materials can be used but steel is preferable. Thus, in light of D1, the skilled person could consider that aluminium, as a metal, could be suitable in fire protection doors and would not be dissuaded from experiments to determine the feasibility of using aluminium.

    D1 does not state that metal with a high melting point must be used, nor set a lower limit in terms of melting points to teach away from using certain metals. Indeed D1 does not state the sufficient time required for a fire door to withstand fire, the melting point of aluminium, nor how long aluminium takes to melt upon reaching this temperature.

    Furthermore, even if the skilled person was aware of the melting point of aluminium (as per client’s application), the cooling effect provided by calcium silicate, in the case of fire, may persuade the skilled person to try metals with a lower melting point than steel.

    Regards, Tim

  42. Hi, just curious about your reasoning in relation with question 19.2...thanks!
    Regards, Curiosity

  43. Hi Curiosity,

    I argued that Q19.2 can be 'true’ due to the following reasoning:

    The description of the client’s application highlights a disadvantage of the metal door disclosed in D1 i.e. its appearance and shape is limited to one of a metal door.

    The client's application discloses a door leaf which has a plate made of solid wood. The application states that ‘the plate 2 of wood can also be made in many different shapes by easy manufacturing steps known in the wood industry. Thus, for example, even very old buildings can be protected by fire protection doors imitating the appearance of ancient doors [description para 0015].

    Furthermore, although the solid plate 2 is at least partially covered by covering layers, the present application states that ‘by choosing appropriate coverings, the appearance of the door can be adapted to the building where it will be used’ [description para 0015]. Therefore, the additional presence of a covering can be used in such a way to ensure that the wood door can still take on a desired appearance e.g. that of an ancient door.

    Thus, the distinguishing feature of Claim II.2 over D1 is a door leaf that includes solid wood, rather than a metal door leaf. The technical effect of the solid wood is that the appearance and shape of the door leaf can be varied, as explicitly stated within the description, to that of ancient doors.

    Therefore it can be argued that an ELEMENT of the objective technical problem solved by the subject matter claim II.2 over D1 is to provide fire protection doors imitating the appearance of ancient doors. It was submitted that this line of reasoning is in line with ‘any effect provided by the invention may be used as a basis for the reformulation of the technical problem, as long as said effect is derivable from the application as filed’ (Inventive step section of the Guidelines).

    Regards, Tim

  44. The appeal fee has been reimbursed! The money has been received today!!!! (case of cardboard).

  45. so at the end, what's the conclusion for questions 19.2 and 20.4? Regards, Curiosity.

  46. I called the EPO in June due to postal strike. The EPO told me that the Disciplinary Board of Appeal has more important decisions to make, and a descision may be expexcted in autumn.

  47. Thanks for answering. And what about the main exam registration deadline, which was 8 September? Regards, Curiosity.

  48. Last year, the Board stated in several decisions, that appeals against the results of the pre-EQE are urgent due to EQE registration deadline, see for instance: , page 12, paragraph 12. Therefore, the decision was already made on July 22, 2014.
    Concerning my appeal, registration after said deadline was requested in case the appeal is sucessful.

    1. Hi, no decision yet for 19.2 and 20.4?

  49. I would like to update you with respect to my appeal (question 20.4):
    As I received no answer from the Board until November 2015, an acclerating request was filed. In December, a notification was issued by the Board. Said Board is of the opinion, that, firstly, the appeal is not based on an obvious mistake, and, secondly, question 20.4 has to be answered in light of the client's patent application and the infomration disclosed therein, i.e. the information that Aluminum melts away in the event of fire, as an opposition was filed against the patent application.
    Oral proceedings will take place after the pre exam 2016, i.e. after February 29, 2016, as no earlier date was unfortunately available.