EQE - European qualifying examination


The European qualifying examination (EQE) tests candidates' knowledge and aptitude to represent applicants in EPO proceedings. Established in 1979, it is widely regarded as one of the most demanding professional examinations. It has been passed by more than 10 000 candidates already.

About the EQE

The EQE is designed to establish whether the candidate has the requisite aptitude and knowledge to represent applicants before the EPO. Candidates need to be particularly conversant with European patent law, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the Paris Convention, EPO board of appeal case law and certain national laws in so far as they apply to European patent applications and European patents. The content of the examination only relates to legal texts which were in force on 31 October of the year preceding the examination.

The Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE 2025) its Implementing provisions (IPREE 2025) entering into force on 1 January 2025 can be found here.

The EQE, usually held once a year, comprises five papers:
- Paper F tests declarative knowledge in procedural patent law and claim analysis. F is held for the first time in 2025.
- Paper M1 assesses whether candidates can carry out tasks relating to the analysis and assessment of information and evaluate and act on instructions from a client. M1 will be held for the first time in 2026.
- Paper M2 examines whether candidates are capable of applying procedural and substantive patent law of the EPC and the PCT. It assesses whether candidates are familiar with all procedures established by the EPC and the PCT and with the procedural law. M2 will be held for the first time in 2026.
- Paper M3 establishes whether candidates possess the required skills to analyse, execute and create patent documentation and submissions. It consists of three parts, addressing the drafting of claims, the response to Office actions and opposition. M3 will be held for the first time in 2027.
- Paper M4 assesses candidates’ competence to advise the client and provide an answer in the form of a legal opinion responding to an enquiry. M4 will be held for the first time in 2027.

The timeline for the progressive introduction of the papers can be found here.

To take the five papers, candidates are required to have performed the professional activities for one year in the case of paper F, for two years in the cases of papers M1 and M2, and for three years in the cases of papers M3 and M4.

Candidates may use any books and documents they consider useful for answering the examination papers.

Transitional measures

On 1 January 2025 the regulation on the EQE will enter into force. To facilitate a seamless conversion for candidates who sat a paper under the REE 2009, transitional measures have been implemented as well as a roll-out schedule:

  • In 2025, paper F will be launched, and no pre-examination will be held.
  • In 2026 the main exam papers (A, B, C and D) will be held for the last time, alongside new papers M1 and M2.
  • In 2027 the fully-fledged EQE papers M1, M2, M3 and M4 will be in place.

Furthermore, a detailed system of exemption (with and without pre-examination) between the present and future papers and the corresponding results has been established and laid down in the REE 2025.

The Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE 2009) and its Implementing provisions (IPREE 2019) can be found here.

The notice from the Examination Secretariat concerning the enrolment for the EQEs 2025 and 2026 can be found here.

Conditions for registration and enrolment

Only registered candidates can enrol. More information can be found in the section below under "registration as candidate".

Candidates must meet the following requirements:

Qualifications

Candidates must possess a scientific or technical qualification - for example, in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, electronics, pharmacology or physics.

Decisions on qualifications are based on Article 11(1)(a) of the Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE) and Rules 11 to 14 of the Implementing provisions to the REE (IPREE).

Professional activity

At the date of the examination, candidates must have fulfilled the required period of training under the supervision of a professional representative or as an employee dealing with patent matters in an industrial company established in one of the contracting states.

The mandatory practical training is very important, since a great deal of the knowledge required by a European patent attorney is gained during this period. During this period the candidates must take part in a wide range of activities pertaining to patent applications or patents.

Only periods of professional activity completed after the required qualifications were obtained are taken into account. The training period must be completed at the date of the examination.

Registration as candidate
Registration (Rule 28 IPREE)

It is compulsory for EQE candidates to register at the beginning of their professional activities and training. Candidates who have not registered in time, cannot enrol to the EQE.

Notice from the Examination Secretariat - Registration pursuant to Rule 28 IPREE

Who has to register and by when?

All candidates who, according to Article 11(2) REE have started

- training under the supervision of a professional representative, or

- to represent their employer before the EPO, or

- to perform duties of an examiner at the EPO,

and who

- intend to enrol to the EQE for the first time or

- have requested enrolment to the EQE in the past and were not admitted,

must register.

Candidates are expected to register shortly after starting their professional training.

Deadline for compulsory registration prior to enrolment for the foundation paper F 2025 is 28 May 2024. See OJ EPO 2024, A26

Which training periods can I have recognised?

Candidates who have already been admitted to the EQE (pre- or main examination) are registered and therefore do not need to register again.

This includes candidates who have already been admitted to the EQE but have not yet sat an examination paper.

Candidates are requested to register at the start of their training or employment activities.

It will however also be possible to register periods of professional activity completed in the past.

How do I register?

The registration must be done via the EQC portal.

Candidates should have the following documents ready at hand:

- certified copy of valid ID or passport;
- certified copy of academic qualifications (ie diploma certificate and transcript of records).


Please refer to the FAQs for further details on certification of documents. A request for registration can only be submitted after all required supporting documents have been uploaded.

Enrolment

The dates of each examination paper can be found under "Schedule".  

Compulsory registration

Enrolment to the foundation paper F 2025 will only be open for candidates who have registered at the latest by 28 May 2024. See OJ EPO 2024, A26.

All information can be found under "Registration as candidate".
 

Enrolment periods

1. Foundation paper F 2025

Candidates may enrol as from 8 July 2024. Applications must be submitted no later than 23 September 2024 via the EQC portal
 

2. Main examination 2025 (Papers A, B, C and D)

Candidates may enrol as from 8 July 2024. Applications must be submitted no later than 23 September 2024 via the EQC portal.
 

Enrolment process and fees

Candidates must observe the enrolment procedure and pay the respective fees as laid down in the following document:

Enrolment process and fees for the EQE 2025.

Certain candidates can request a fee subsidy (eligibility criteria apply).

EQE online

The EQE is held online and can be taken at any suitable location chosen by the candidate. The examination system Wiseflow is used (https://europe.wiseflow.net/). Proctoring is based on image and audio recording, monitoring candidates using artificial intelligence, complemented by human invigilation.

Instructions to candidates concerning the conduct of the European qualifying examination
Code of conduct for the EQE
FAQs

Complaint concerning the conduct of the examination

Candidates wishing to lodge a complaint pursuant to point I.8. of the Instructions to candidates concerning the conduct of the examination must do so at the latest by the end of the day on which the last examination paper takes place (15 March 2024, 23:59 CET), by filling in the dedicated form:
Form for the pre-examination (available from 15.03.2024, 9:30, CET)
Form for paper A (available from 07.03.2024, 9:30, CET)
Form for paper B (available from 12.03.2024, 9:30, CET)
Form for paper C (available from 14.03.2024, 9:30, CET)
Form for paper D (available from  05.03.2024, 9:30, CET)
Surveys

Results of the survey concerning the European qualifying examination 2023

Results of the survey concerning the European qualifying examination 2022

Results of the survey concerning the European qualifying examination 2021

Results and statistics
Year Examination type Size Download
2023 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 852 KB Download
2022 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 192 KB Download
2021 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 835 KB Download
2019 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 678 KB Download
2018 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 154 KB Download
2017 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 609 KB Download
2016 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 177 KB Download
2015 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 70.9 KB Download
2014 EQE, pre-examination and main examination 59 KB Download
2013 EQE 38.4 KB Download
2012 EQE 108 KB Download
2011 EQE 65.6 KB Download
2010 EQE 41.6 KB Download
2009 EQE 166 KB Download
2008 EQE 34 KB Download
2007 EQE 33KB Download
2006 EQE 44 KB Download
2005 EQE 26 KB Download
2004 EQE 26 KB Download
2003 EQE 89 KB Download
2002 EQE 87 KB Download

Contact

 
 
 
Contact form
 
European qualifying examination - Examination Secretariat
Telephone enquiries +49 (0)89 2399 5155
e-mail: helpdesk@eqe.org
Fax +49 (0)89 2399 5140
 
Opening times:
Mon, Wed-Fri 09.00-11.00 hrs
Tue 14.00-15:30 hrs
 
Postal address:
European Patent Office
European Qualifiying Examination
Examination Secretariat
80298 Munich
Germany

 

EQC portal

To register or to enrol to the examination, please use the European Qualification and Certification Portal (EQC portal). 

Enrolment for the EQE 2025 is possible from 8 July to 23 September 2024 on the EQC portal.