Announcement of the European qualifying examination 2013 - Pre-examination and main examination

I. General

The current Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE) and its implementing provisions (IPREE) (supplement to OJ EPO 12/2011) are available on the website of the European qualifying examination (www.epo.org/eqe). The provisions of the REE and IPREE apply equally to the pre-examination.

The examination consisting of the four papers - A, B, C and D - will be referred to as "the main examination".

Candidates are advised that they must use the enrolment forms provided on the European qualifying examination (EQE) website (www.epo.org/eqe).

  • Form 51016 is for use by candidates wishing to enrol for the pre-examination for the first time. These candidates must in addition use Form 51017 as a certificate attesting the required period of training or employment (Article 11(7) REE).
  • Form 51015 is for use by all other candidates.

All forms should be addressed to the European Patent Office, Examination Secretariat for the European qualifying examination, 80298 Munich, Germany.

Candidates are reminded that matters relating to the EQE are of a personal nature and that enrolment, registration and the payment of fees should not be entrusted to third parties. It is the responsibility of individual candidates to ensure that their complete applications, including payment details, are received in due time.

1. Dates of the pre-examination and the main examination

1.1 Date of the pre-examination

The pre-examination will be held on 25 February 2013.

1.2 Date of the main examination

The main examination will be held from 26 to 28 February 2013.

2. Closing dates

To ensure a smooth enrolment procedure for the EQE 2013, candidates are reminded that the closing dates for enrolment are applied strictly.

Candidates may submit their application for enrolment for the EQE 2013 as from 1 April 2012. Candidates awaiting results from the EQE 2012 (pre-examination or main examination) may not  file their application until after their results are known.

2.1 Pre-examination

Complete applications to register and enrol for the pre-examination (Form 51015 or Form 51016 plus enclosures) must be received by the Examination Secretariat no later than 11 June 2012.

2.2 Main examination

Complete applications to register and enrol for the main exanimation (Form 51015) must be received by the Examination Secretariat no later than 5 September 2012.

3. Date of receipt

The EPO date stamp constitutes proof of receipt. Applications which are received after the relevant closing date or are incomplete will be refused. Articles 121 and 122 EPC do not apply.

4. Filing of applications

Application forms 51015 and 51016 must be filled in electronically, paying careful attention to the instructions on the forms.

If an application is filed by fax, the signed original form and the certified copies of the required enclosures must be submitted within a non-extendable period of one month from the date of the fax. Failure to provide the originals or certified copies within the one-month period may result in the application being refused. However, for candidates who have been previously admitted to the EQE (pre-examination or main examination), a fax will suffice.

Where a document transmitted by fax is illegible or incomplete, the fax will be deemed not to have been received.

It is strongly recommended that applications posted to the Examination Secretariat be sent by registered mail with advice of delivery.

Candidates may also hand in their application at one of the EPO post rooms (in Munich, The Hague or Berlin) and bring their own copy to be stamped to confirm receipt. The EPO date stamp will constitute proof of receipt.

5. Signature

Correspondence with the Examination Secretariat must be signed personally by the candidate. If a letter or fax is not signed, it may be deemed not to have been received. Candidates are again reminded that matters relating to the pre-examination and main examination are of a personal nature.

6. Withdrawal

At any time up to the official start of an individual paper, candidates may withdraw in writing from this paper or any subsequent papers.

If the Examination Secretariat is informed of the withdrawal no later than 5 September 2012, the examination fees paid for sitting the respective paper(s) will be refunded. However, the fee for registration and enrolment is not refundable.

Candidates wishing to withdraw are advised to do so by registered mail or by fax. Candidates may also withdraw by e-mail, in which case their attention is drawn to the notice dated 12 September 2000 concerning correspondence with the Office via e-mail (OJ EPO 2000, 458).

Paper(s) from which candidates do not withdraw as described above will be considered as having been sat. Candidates will be awarded a FAIL grade with a mark of zero for the paper(s) from which they did not withdraw. This mark and this grade will replace any marks or grade previously obtained for the paper(s) concerned. The fee increments as defined in Rule 8 IPREE will also apply.

II. Instructions for completing the application forms

Candidates wishing to enrol for the pre-examination for the first time must use Forms 51016 and 51017 (certificate).

Candidates wishing to enrol for the main examination or for re-sitting the pre-examination must use Form 51015.

1. Contact details of candidates

Candidates must supply correct and complete contact data in order to guarantee timely communication. When using a business address, the company's name must be clearly indicated.

Candidates must also supply a personal e-mail address to enable the Examination Secretariat to dispatch important information. Candidates are reminded that the acknowledgement of receipt of their application will only be sent to this e-mail address.

2. Scientific and technical qualifications

Candidates wishing to register and enrol for the pre-examination for the first time are referred to Article 11(1)(a) REE and Rules 11 to 14 IPREE.

With regard to Rule 11(2) IPREE, a transcript of record for the candidate's degree must be provided to prove that at least 80% of the course hours taken were devoted to scientific and/or technical subjects. Where available, candidates should also submit an ECTS Transcript of Records.

Should a candidate possess a degree, diploma or certificate from an educational establishment in a non-contracting state, he must provide an official document from a competent authority in one of the contracting states attesting that this degree, diploma or certificate is equivalent to a degree as mentioned in Rule 11 IPREE.

3. Professional activity

3.1 Period of professional activity

Candidates wishing to register and enrol for the pre-examination must have completed a total period as defined in Article 11(2)(a) REE of at least two years up to 1 March 2013.

Candidates who passed the pre-examination and who wish to enrol for the main examination must have completed a total period as defined in Article 11(2)(a) REE of at least three years up to 1 March 2013.

3.2 Remission of the period of professional activity - Article 11(5) REE and Rule 16(1) IPREE

Candidates may be granted a six-month reduction in the required period of professional activity for the following courses completed during the specified academic year indicated in brackets :

  • "Diplôme d'études internationales de la propriété industrielle ("cycle long")" from CEIPI in Strasbourg (academic year 2008/2009).
  • "Master of Advanced Studies in Intellectual Property" from Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule "ETH" Zurich (academic years 2008/2009 and 2009/2010).
  • "Advanced Master in Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management" from Maastricht University (academic year 2010/2011 and 2011/2012).

3.3 Type of professional activity

(a) With regard to Article 11(2)(a)(i) REE, the candidate's training supervisor must have been entered on the list of professional representatives before the EPO (Article 134 EPC) for the entire duration of the candidate's period of training.

(b) With regard to Article 11(2)(a)(ii) REE, the certificate of employment alone does not fulfil the requirements. Candidates must also prove that, over the relevant period of time, they have actively represented their employer before the EPO in a number of proceedings relating to a wide range of activities pertaining to European patents and patent applications. These activities must have been carried out within the framework of a general authorisation or single authorisations (Article 133(3) EPC) granted by their employers. Article 11(2)(a)(ii) REE does not apply if the representation in question was undertaken to a large extent by a professional representative before the EPO (Article 134 EPC).

(c) The eight-month training period with the German patent authorities does not constitute a period of professional activity as defined in Article 11(2)(a) REE.

(d) Only professional activity over a minimum period of three months with at least 50% part-time involvement will be considered.

4. EPO examiners

Candidates who by the date of the pre-examination have performed the duties of a patent examiner at the EPO for at least three years full-time may enrol for said examination.

When registering and enrolling for the pre-examination, they must submit a certificate issued by the personnel department of the EPO.

5. Supporting evidence

Candidates must submit all the necessary supporting evidence together with the forms, otherwise their application will be refused.

Documents may be officially certified by a professional representative before the EPO (Article 134 EPC), a competent national authority in a contracting state to the European Patent Convention, or the EPO in Munich (by prior arrangement with the Examination Secretariat only - tel. +49 (0)89 2399-5155).

6. Choice of papers

The pre-examination consists of one paper as defined in Rule 10 IPREE.

The main examination consists of the four papers, A, B, C and D as defined in Rules 23 to 26 IPREE. Candidates must indicate which paper(s) they intend to sit (Article 15 REE). Candidates may only re-sit paper(s) which they have not passed (Article 16(1) REE). If a candidate re-sits a paper, any marks and grade previously obtained for this paper will no longer be valid (Rule 6(5) IPREE).

7. Fees - Rules 7 and 8 IPREE

The basic fee is EUR 200.

(a) The fee for an application for registration and enrolment is equal to the basic fee. This fee is under no circumstances refundable.

(b) The fee for sitting the pre-examination paper and each of the main examination papers is equal to the basic fee.

7.1 Fee increments

Pursuant to Rule 8(2) IPREE, fee increments apply as of the examination year 2010. Their calculation is based on the examination papers sat in 2010 or thereafter.

150% of the basic fee must be paid for sitting a paper for a third time since 2010. The examination fee for this paper will amount to EUR 300.

200% of the basic fee must be paid for sitting a paper for a fourth time since 2010. The examination fee for this paper will amount to EUR 400.

The fee increase will also apply to candidates who did not withdraw from a specific paper and were deemed to have sat this paper.

Example:

Candidate Y sat papers  A, B, C and D for the first time in 2010.

In 2011, he re-sat paper A.

In 2012, he enrolled for papers A, B and C, but did not show up for paper C and did not withdraw his application for this paper.

In 2013, he enrols for papers A, B, C and D.

The prescribed fees for the EQE 2013 would then be as follows:

  • Registration and enrolment: EUR 200
  • Paper A: EUR 400 (paper would be sat for the fourth time since 2010; 200% of the basic fee must be paid)
  • Paper B: EUR 300 (paper would be sat for the third time since 2010; 150% of the basic fee must be paid)
  • Paper C: EUR 300 (paper would be deemed to have been sat for the third time since 2010 given that the candidate had not withdrawn in 2012; 150% of the basic fee must be paid)
  • Paper D: EUR 200 (paper would be sat for the second time since 2010; no fee increase applies).

Total: EUR 1 400

7.2 Payment of the fees

A candidate's application for registration and/or enrolment for the pre-examination or main examination is deemed to have been received on the date on which the payment of the prescribed fees is considered to have been made. If this date is after the closing date, the application will be refused. Articles 121 and 122 EPC do not apply. With regard to what constitutes the date to be considered as the date of payment, see Article 7 of the Rules relating to Fees.

Candidates are strongly advised to check whether they have filled in correctly all relevant details to enable payment of the fees in due time. Payments cannot be processed on the basis of an incorrect amount of fees or incorrect bank details. This may lead to refusal of their application.

It is entirely the candidate's responsibility to ensure that the fees are paid in due time. Candidates are strongly advised not to entrust the payment of fees to third parties and to proceed with the payment of the fees in due time to ensure that they are received by the EPO by the relevant closing date.

7.3 Examination fee subsidies

Candidates permanently resident and working in the EPO member states AL, BG, HR, CY, CZ, EE, MK, GR, HU, LV, LT, MT, PL, PT, RO, RS, SK, SI or TR may file a request for subsidised examination fees. The request form is available on the EQE website (www.epo.org/eqe). The completed form must be sent together with the candidate's application for registration and enrolment for the EQE 2013.

Requests for fee subsidies received after the relevant closing date for enrolment cannot be considered.

8. Examination centres

The EQE will be held at the EPO's sites in Munich, The Hague and Berlin, as well as at other locations to be determined by the Examination Secretariat. Whilst candidates' preferences will be taken into account whenever possible, the capacity of the centres is limited. Candidates will therefore not necessarily be allowed to sit the examination at their preferred centre.

Once a centre has been allocated, it will not be possible to change it. The date on which an application is received does not have any influence on a candidate's allocation to a particular examination centre.

9. Acknowledgment of receipt

The receipt of applications for registration and/or enrolment for the pre-examination and main examination will be acknowledged by e-mail to the e-mail address specified by candidates in their enrolment form. Candidates who have not received such acknowledgment within one month of submitting their application should contact the Examination Secretariat.

Letters of admission will be dispatched at the end of December 2012 at the latest.

10. Declaration

When signing their application, candidates must declare that they are aware that submission of incomplete, late or unsigned applications, failure to submit originals or certified copies where required, submission of documents filled out incorrectly or incompletely and/or failure to pay the prescribed fees in due time may lead to refusal of their application.

Candidates must also declare that they are familiar with the REE and the IPREE (supplement to OJ EPO 12/2011).

11. Information on data protection

Candidates' personal data will be processed fairly and lawfully, for the specific and predefined purpose of conducting the EQE and in particular:

  • registration and enrolment for the EQE
  • payment of the prescribed fees for the EQE
  • creation and maintenance of files
  • appeal procedure
  • administration of answer papers and marking procedure
  • publication of EQE results and statistics.

Relevant data may be passed on to the EPO finance department in connection with financial matters. The data will not however be passed on to any other third parties.

Candidates may at any time request access to their personal data and have it corrected if necessary.

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