Half a century of the EPC, 44 years of the EQE

EPI - EPO - EPC 44 years of the EQE

To celebrate 50 years of the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the success of the European Qualifying Exam (EQE), the Institute of Professional Representatives before the EPO (epi) held an event at the Isar headquarters of the European Patent Office (EPO) to honour the long-standing co-operation between the two organisations and look at what the future holds.

On Friday 13 October, the epi celebrated decades of co-operation with the EPO on preparing the way for several generations of European patent professionals through the EQE, a crucial pillar of the European Patent Network's success. To date, more than 13 000 patent professionals have successfully completed the qualification. 

EPO President António Campinos delivered a speech highlighting how both the European Patent Convention and the EQE have successfully adapted to the innovation landscape, case law and emerging challenges. Speaking about the importance of continued co-operation between the epi and EPO to support the next generation of IP professionals in the digital era, he concluded: "We must ensure that young people find their place at the innovation table. Through our shared commitment to IP education. Through our shared commitment to accessibility."    

A new chapter: Continuing to uphold the highest standards in the digital era 

epi President Peter Thomsen gave a keynote speech on the creation of the European patent profession beginning with the first EQE in 1979 and some 50 candidates, up until the current time, when some two to three thousand candidates sit the EQE each year all over the world. He paid tribute to the strength of collaboration and growth to date, as the foundations for an EQE that will ensure the patent profession continues to uphold the highest standards in the digital era.  

Joint epi-EPO presentations then deep dived into the history and evolution of the EQE, particularly its digital transformation in recent years and its online elaboration. Plans to take both the EQE and the Candidate Support Programme (CSP) to the next level were also outlined, including with a view to appealing to future EQE candidates in regions that until now have been underrepresented in the profession.