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.
- Announcement of the European qualifying examination 2023, OJ EPO 2022, A12
- Announcement of the European qualifying examination 2024, OJ EPO 2022, A117
- Regulation on the European qualifying examination for professional representatives - Supplementary publication 2 - Official Journal EPO 2019
- Certificate of training and employment
- EQE data protection statement
- Looking for new Examination Committee members
- Calculation of time limits in paper D and pre-examination
- Instructions for answering the pre-examination paper and and marking scheme
- Abolition of opposition form
- Distribution of points Paper D
- About EQE
The EQE is designed to establish whether the candidate has the requisite aptitude and knowledge to represent applicants before the EPO.
The examination is organised and conducted by a Supervisory Board, an Examination Board, Examination Committees and an Examination Secretariat.
The current Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE) and its Implementing provisions (IPREE) can be found hereCandidates 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 examination papers are drawn up in the three official languages of the EPO (English, French and German). Candidates may be permitted to submit their answers in another official language of a contracting state.
The EQE, usually held once a year, comprises five papers:
- Pre-examination - assesses candidates' ability to answer legal questions and questions relating to the drafting of claims.
- Paper A - tests the candidate's ability to draft claims and the introductory part of a European patent application.
- Paper B - requires candidates to prepare a reply to an official letter in which prior art has been cited.
- Paper C - involves drafting a notice of opposition to a European patent.
- Paper D - assesses candidates' ability to answer legal questions and to draft legal assessments.
Candidates may use any books and documents they consider useful for answering the examination papers.To pass the EQE, it is obligatory to pass all examination papers. Candidates may not enrol for the main examination (papers A, B, C and D) until they have passed the pre-examination. There is a compensatory system in the main examination whereby under certain circumstances, low marks can be offset by good marks in other papers.
- New EQE - Proposal and consultation
- A proposal for the new EQE is now available and an open consultation is launched to enable all interested parties to give their feedback on it. As a first step, the concept of the new EQE is presented. The consultation was launched in the second half of May. To be able to access the model papers, please register via the link under "Model papers" below. Feedback was collected by means of a questionnaire until 31 August 2022. The answers to the questionnaire are under evaluation by the EPO-epi working group.
The European qualifying framework proposed for the next generation of patent attorneys is a competences-based system that builds on the existing EQE to bring it closer to today's profession, adjust it to the digital environment, refine the approach to evaluation and ensure the highest quality standards.
The proposed scheme is a joint EPO-epi endeavour that can now be enhanced via the consultation. While open to everyone, the consultation mostly targets the profession, training centres and other interested parties. The model examination papers and the overall concept draw on 40 years of experience with the current EQE, the work of EPO and epi professionals, the feedback received from training institutions and numerous discussions with a range of stakeholders over the past 18 months.
The new qualifying system builds on a competences-based analysis of the existing EQE. A modular evaluation scheme of cumulative knowledge and increasing complexity assesses whether candidates have the specific and transversal competences, and the different kinds of underlying knowledge, expected of attorneys. The outcome consists of six modules that gradually progress from acquiring legal and procedural knowledge towards its practical application.
Becoming a European patent attorney under the new scheme will require candidates to take exams amounting to 20 hours over a minimum period of three years. The new format is adapted to allow for evaluation in the digital environment. It includes parts to be autoscored and shortens time spent on the computer. In parallel, the scope of the situations assessed has been broadened to ensure preparation for all steps along the patent grant procedure.
The learning journey takes candidates from remembering and understanding the fundamental provisions of patent law to performing typical actions such as analysing claims and drafting patent applications. They then continue to acquire the more in-depth knowledge required to take decisions at specific points of the patent procedure and design patenting strategies. The journey is organised into semestral examinations, although this timetabling is optional for the main papers: candidates can either follow the sequential approach or decide to take all main exams together at the end.
The first foundation module assesses the entry level of legal knowledge needed to operate in the European patent system. The second foundation module requires candidates to implement the knowledge gained in claims analysis and applied procedural patent law. Once candidates have completed the foundation modules, they can go on to take the main modules.
The first main module focuses on assessing information and client instructions, and tests whether candidates understand the invention, the instructions received and communications from examiners and others. The second main module puts candidates’ drafting skills to the test: they must prove their expertise in drafting and amending claims, replying to Office actions and drafting notices of opposition and other documents. In the third module candidates must reason, argue and manage advanced procedural aspects of patent law, assessing various options at a given point in the procedure in order to offer advice. Finally, in the fourth module, candidates must prove that they have the skills to handle relations with the client and the competences to provide advice and build on previously acquired knowledge in the areas of information, drafting and patent prosecution.
The consultation on the future European qualifying examination (EQE) will aim at gathering feedback on the proposed format for the EQE. The material provided for the consultation will include, in addition to the concept paper, details of the proposed modules, the list of competences tested, a set of model examination papers for these modules and a questionnaire. The model papers, produced by a joint EPO-epi team, will give an idea of how the future EQE might look. Please actively contribute once the model papers and questionnaire are available.
Depending on the outcome of the consultation, a fully-fledged reform of the Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE) and its implementing provisions (IPREE) will follow. The EQE 2023 and 2024 will be conducted under the current regulations.
Model papers (modules) have been prepared to show how the new system might look. To enable you to experience the full range of digital possibilities available, we strongly recommend registering via the link below to get access to the online examination platform (Wiseflow). When registering, please indicate a valid email address that will not change for the next few months. Please register even if you already have a Wiseflow account.
For all those who have registered by 19 May 2022, user accounts will be created in the week starting on 23 May 2022. It is expected that the model papers will also be made available in the course of this week. For those who register after 19 May 2022, user accounts will be created on a weekly basis.
You will receive an automated email from Wiseflow with an activation link.Register now
All model papers are available in Wiseflow. Additionally, you have access to the pdfs of M2 and M4 here:M2 - Example A
M2 - Example B
M4 - Part 1
M4 - Part 2
- 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: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).At the date of the examination, candidates must have trained for three years (two years for the pre-examination) 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.
EPO examiners may enrol for the EQE if they have performed the duties of examiner for at least four years (three for the pre-examination).The fee payable depends on the number of papers for which the candidate enrols. The basic fee is currently 200 EUR.The EQE is usually held once a year. A notice indicating the examination dates and the closing dates for enrolment is published on this website and in the Official Journal.
- 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.
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,
- intend to enrol to the EQE for the first time or
- have requested enrolment to the EQE in the past and were not admitted,
Candidates are expected to register shortly after starting their professional training.
Deadline for compulsory registration prior to enrolment for the pre-examination 2024 is 15 January 2023. See OJ EPO 2018, A99
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.
The registration must be done via myEQE.- certified copy of valid ID or passport;
Candidates should have the following documents ready at hand:
- certified copy of academic qualifications (ie diploma certificate and transcript of records);
- certificate of training or employment signed by the trainer and candidate.
Please refer to the FAQs for further details on certification of documents. Once the process has been completed, candidates will receive an overview of the online registration as well as a link to upload all supporting documents and the signed overview.
The dates of each examination paper can be found under "EQE notices".
Enrolment to the pre-examination will only be open for candidates who have registered at the latest by 15 January of the year in which they intend to enrol for the pre-examination. See OJ EPO 2018, A99.
All information can be found under "Registration as candidate".
1. Pre-examination 2024
Candidates may enrol as from 1 February 2023. Applications must be submitted no later than 30 June 2023 via myEQE. For a first time enrolment to the pre-examination candidates must have registered at the latest by 15 January 2023. Candidates who have previously been admitted to the pre-examination are already registered.
2. Main examination 2024 (Papers A, B, C and D)
Candidates may enrol as from 3 April 2023. Applications must be submitted no later than 4 September 2023 via myEQE.
Enrolment process and fees
Candidates must observe the enrolment procedure and pay the respective fees as laid down in the following document:
- 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
Complaint concerning the conduct of the examinationCandidates 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 paper concerned takes place, by filling in the dedicated form:
Form for the pre-examination (available on 17.03.2023, 16:10 - 23:59, CET)
Form for paper A (available on 09.03.2023, 13:30 - 23:59, CET)
Form for paper B (available on 14.03.2023, 13:00 - 23:59, CET)
Form for paper C (available on 16.03.2023, 16:15 - 23:59, CET)
Form for paper D (available on 07.03.2023, 16:45 - 23:59, CET)
- 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
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