EQE FAQ

Questions

EQE 2020 / 2021

Registration (Rule 28 IPREE)

General information

EQE 2020 on computer

Answers

EQE 2020 / 2021


I was enrolled for the pre-examination 2020 when the decision was taken to postpone the EQE 2020 (4 March 2020). What does the new decision of the Supervisory Board dated 20 April 2020 mean for me?

Fees paid for the pre-examination 2020 (enrolment and examination fee) will be reimbursed to the account/credit card from which they were paid. The process for refunding candidates has started but may still require some time to complete.

Provided you continue your professional training, you do not have to sit the pre-examination 2021 and can enrol directly to the main examination 2021 via the enrolment portal myEQE.

Your right to be admitted to the main examination will only remain valid if you enrol for the EQE 2021. If you do not enrol, you will forgo this right and be required to sit the pre-examination at a later date.

Should you enrol to the main examination and then withdraw or fail the attempted papers, your right to enrol to a future main examination will remain valid.

If you withdraw by the 30 September 2020, all fees apart from the enrolment fee will be reimbursed. After the 30 September it will no longer be possible to claim any refund.


I was enrolled for the pre-examination 2020 but withdrew before the decision of 4 March 2020 to postpone. Will I get full reimbursement of the fees?

Fees paid for the pre-examination 2020 will not be reimbursed. However, if you continue your professional training, you may be eligible to enrol directly to the main examination. Please contact the Examination Secretariat as soon as possible.

I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 and my enrolment has now been automatically transferred to the main examination 2021. Do I need to do anything?

No. You will receive confirmation of your enrolment for the main examination 2021.

I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 but only for 2 papers. I now wish to sit 3 or 4 papers. Can I still enrol for these papers?

Yes, but by the enrolment deadline of 17 August 2020 and upon payment of the respective fees. Please contact the Examination Secretariat as soon as possible.

I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 for all 4 papers but wish to withdraw from 1 or more papers. Will my fees be reimbursed?

Yes, the examination fees for each of the papers will be reimbursed if you withdraw by 30 September 2020. After this deadline, none of the fees are refundable.

I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 but had withdrawn before the 4 March 2020 – will my enrolment be automatically transferred to 2021?

No. You will need to enrol for the 2021 main examination and fees for 2020 will not be reimbursed.

I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 – will my preferred centre be automatically taken over?

Yes. The preferred centre indicated by you when enrolling for 2020 will be kept even if it could not be taken into account in the end due to lack of capacity. We are in contact with the national patent authorities who provide the premises for the local EQE examination centres to try to ensure sufficient capacity so that all candidates can sit at their preferred centres. There is however no guarantee that this will be the case.


I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 and my enrolment has been automatically transferred to 2021 but I do not wish to sit the examination in 2021.

You may withdraw from the examination and fees including the enrolment fee will be reimbursed completely if you withdraw by the deadline of 17 August 2020. Otherwise fees for the papers only will be reimbursed if you withdraw by the deadline of 30 September 2020. If you do not withdraw by either of these deadlines, no fees will be reimbursed.

I was enrolled for the main examination 2020 and was part of the CB-EQE project. Will I automatically be part of the CB-EQE 2021?

EPO and epi strive for a paperless EQE. Your name will be kept and you will be informed, once a computer based EQE 2021 can be confirmed.

I was not enrolled for the Pre-examination 2020 but have enrolled for the pre-examination 2021 (or was about to enrol for pre-examination 2021). I will however have enough professional training for the main examination 2021. Can I enrol directly to the main examination?

Yes you can. Please contact the Examination Secretariat as soon as possible.
If you were already enrolled for the pre-examination 2021, fees will be reimbursed.

I have been furloughed by my employer due to the current crisis. Must I report any changes and could they affect my right to sit the EQE 2021 due to lack of training?

In this case the REE/IPREE applies. Therefore, if your training situation has changed you are required to submit a new training certificate for the said period. If as a result of the changes you are no longer able to complete a full-time training period according to Article 11(2) REE, it might affect your right to sit the EQE in 2021.

The decision of the Supervisory Board states that pursuant to Article 3(1) REE, anyone who so wishes will be allowed to enrol for the 2021 main examination, provided that the conditions laid down in Article 11 REE are fulfilled. If I have completed my training according to Art. 11(2)(i)-(ii) but did not register my activity as stipulated in Rule 28 IPREE by the deadline of 15 January 2020, can I still enrol ?

No. Candidates who have not registered or registered after the deadline of 15 January 2020 are not eligible to enrol for any of the 2021 examinations.

Registration (Rule 28 IPREE)


What is changing, and how do I benefit from registration?

Candidates’ academic qualifications and professional activities are checked at the start of training and, where appropriate, recognised.

The Examination Secretariat will send all EQE-relevant information to registered candidates by email. In addition, they may benefit from training opportunities offered by epi and other providers.


Who needs to register?

Candidates who must register:

  • Candidates intending to enrol for the European qualifying examination (EQE) for the first time
  • Candidates, who have applied for the pre- or main examination of the EQE, but were not admitted

Candidates who do not need to register:

  • Candidates, who have already been admitted to the EQE (pre- or main examination)

I am an EPO examiner – do I have to register?

Yes. All candidates have to register (see “Who needs to register?”).
Patent examiners at the EPO must submit a certificate available on the EPO intranet.

EPO examiners cannot be epi student members.


When do I have to register?

Shortly after starting their training, candidates must register.

Only candidates duly registered will be able to enrol for the pre-examination.

Candidates who wish to enrol to the pre-examination 2021 must register by 15 January 2020.


When is my registration deemed to be received?

A request for registration will not be deemed to have been filed until all relevant supporting documents have been received.


Which supporting evidence must be provided?

Candidates need to submit the following documents:

  • certified copy of valid ID or passport
  • certified copies of academic qualifications (diploma certificate(s) and transcript of records)
  • certificate of training signed by the trainer and candidate
  • the signed registration summary available at the end of the registration process
  • where applicable, proof of epi student membership
  • any other relevant documentation e.g. concerning remission of the training period

How can I register?

Candidates must register via myEQE on the EQE web site.


I am registered. Do I have to enrol for the pre-examination and main examination?

Yes, absolutely. Registration does not replace enrolment for the pre-examination. Candidates have to enrol separately both for the pre-examination and for the main examination.

The specific deadlines for enrolment are published on the EQE website and in the Announcement of the EQE.


How do I know that my registration is being processed?

Candidates will automatically be sent a confirmation of receipt.

Only complete registration requests are deemed to be filed and can be processed. The Examination Secretariat will contact candidates by email if documents are not complete.


How long will processing of my registration request take?

On average, requests will take 4 weeks to process. During the enrolment phase for the pre-examination, registration may take longer.


How do I prove activity according to Article 11(2)(a)ii) REE and to what extent can national patent applications be taken into account?

A list of activities should be uploaded together with your enrolment documents. Please use our example.

The Secretariat may take activities in proceedings relating to national patent applications and national patents into account. However, the majority of a candidate's activities must pertain to European patents or patent applications.


Is Rule 28 of the implementing provisions to the Regulation on the EQE (REE) already in force?

Yes, amended Rule 28 entered into force on 13 February 2017. Candidates may request any previous period of professional activity as defined in Article 11(2) REE to be taken into account without limitation. Registration is free of charge until further decision of the Supervisory Board.

For candidates successfully enrolled for the European qualifying examination, registration is not necessary since their periods of professional activity are already known.


General information


What should I take into account when choosing an examination centre?

The European Qualifying Examination is held in examination centres at venues appointed by the EPO in Munich, The Hague and Berlin. At these centres, set standards such as room temperature between 19-21ºC, a reasonable table size, low noise level, good accessibility are adhered to. Other EQE venues (examination centres) are made available by the national central industrial property offices of member states to the European Patent Convention. It is recommended to these offices to follow the EPO standards. However, it is ultimately their decision at which centre the examination takes place.

Before choosing an examination centre, candidates are advised to read the comments made in the survey for the different centres concerned.

During the enrolment procedure for the EQE, candidates may always opt to sit the examination at one of the EPO centres, subject to availability. Whilst the EPO makes every effort to ensure that prescribed standard conditions are upheld, it cannot guarantee that this will be the case in other examination centres.


I have recently changed my address/name/nationality. Do I need to inform the secretariat?

Address changes can be made by candidates themselves via myEQE.

For changes of the email address, please inform the Examination Secretariat in writing preferably by email to helpdesk@eqe.org indicating the EQEReg number.

In case of change of name or nationality a certified copy of the supporting document (e.g. marriage certificate or passport) is necessary.


Can the required supporting evidence be certified by a professional representative, and if so, what form should the certification take?

In accordance with Rule 1(3) IPREE it is possible to have supporting evidence certified by a professional representative (Art. 134 EPC). This is usually the quickest and easiest way to have documents certified. The certification should be written on a copy of the document and must include:

  • a statement that the certified copy corresponds with the original
  • the date and place of certification
  • the signature of the professional representative and his/her name in block capitals

How can I pay EQE-related fees?

Fees relating to the EQE may only be paid by credit card or bank transfer. It is not possible to pay the fees by debiting an EPO deposit account.

Candidates are strongly recommended to use a credit card as their method of payment as this will ensure swift payment. Payments by bank transfer are considered to have been made on the date on which the amount of the transfer is actually entered in the bank account held by the EPO (see Article 7 of the Rules relating to Fees).

Candidates are reminded that a bank transfer may take time and it is therefore not recommended as a payment method shortly before the relevant deadline. Late receipt of payment will lead to the application being rejected.


Can I receive an invoice for the fees paid in relation to the EQE?

No, the Examination Secretariat only issues a confirmation of payment. This can only be issued to the candidate and not to any third parties.


What is the latest date that I can withdraw from the EQE and still claim a refund?

Any examination fees paid will be refunded if you inform the Examination Secretariat of your withdrawal until the deadline for refunds as stipulated in the Announcement of the EQE. Fees for registration and enrolment, however, are non-refundable.


If I withdraw after the deadline, can I get a refund if I file a medical certificate?

No, a reimbursement after this date is not possible under any circumstance.


Am I allowed to take my mobile phone into the examination room if it remains switched off in my suitcase or bag?

No, it is strictly prohibited to take electronic devices of any kind, be it mobile phones, cameras, digital watches or clocks into the examination hall (see Instructions to candidates concerning the conduct of the European qualifying examination, Supplementary publication 2 - Official Journal EPO 2017, p. 36 and f.). Non-compliance may lead to disqualification from the examination.


Do I have to be a national of one of the contracting states to register for the EQE?

No, you do not have to be a citizen of one of the contracting states to register for the EQE. However, in order to be included in the list of professional representatives, you must meet the conditions of Article 134 EPC.


Where can I get a copy of the compendium of past EQE papers?

You can download past papers as PDF documents from the website:


How long are my old results valid and is the modular system still relevant?

There is no limitation in time for valid results. It is not necessary to enrol every year to maintain the validity of these results.

The modular system ceased to exist when the new Regulation on the European qualifying examination came into force in 2009. Candidates are free to choose the paper(s) they wish to sit.


EQE 2020 on computer


Where can I see what the user interface for the computer based EQE looks like?

There is a short video available which explains how the user interface works. You can also read the user guide here.

What happens if I no longer wish to participate in the pilot?

While it is assumed that you made a conscious decision to volunteer, you are free to withdraw from the pilot. However, if you do so, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to take the EQE at your preferred centre, if that was not the centre in Munich.

What happens if I wish to withdraw from one or more papers?

You were selected to take part in the pilot because you enrolled for all four papers. In the interest of fairness to all candidates, now that you have been selected, you are expected to take all four papers. If, however, you feel it necessary to withdraw from one or more papers, you may do so and still sit the other papers in the pilot group.

Do the same time constraints apply as for the regular EQE?

Yes, the time allowed for the individual papers is the same. for the pilot group.

How will I log on to the PC?

An individual user ID and password will be provided at the beginning of each examination paper.

Will a printed version of the the exam paper also be available?

Yes, you will receive the examination paper in the three official languages in paper form like any other candidate not using a computer. As some candidates like to take hand written notes during the examination, you will also receive some scrap paper (blank sheets of A4 paper). You can use the paper copy of the examination paper and the scrap paper to highlight and make notes. However, your answer paper will consist only of the computer- written electronic answer. Handwritten notes or parts of the printed examination paper will not form part of your answer.

Will the examination paper be provided in digital format to allow cutting and pasting?

Yes, the exam paper will be available in PDF in a viewer.
You can use the standard copy-and-paste keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V respectively) to copy text in the viewer window and paste it into the text editor. For best results, text should only be copied from the PDF one line at the time. Remember to check the copied text and correct it in the text editor, where necessary.

Where do I save my electronic answer?

You do not have to save your electronic answer during or at the end of the EQE as it is saved regularly and automatically on a server during the exam and at the end. After the EQE, all candidates will be notified once their answers are available on the EQE web portal. This might take some days as the computer-based EQE is still in the pilot phase.

Will I be able to switch to writing on paper if I don't feel comfortable with the PC?

Volunteering to take part in this pilot means using a computer to write your answer. Thus, it will not be possible for candidates to switch to writing on paper.

Will the text editor be Microsoft Word? If not, what will it be?

The text editor is a simple tool for text entry and features cut-and-paste commands as well as a selection of formatting functions (see video and user guide).


Are there any size or font requirements for the exam?

There are two fonts available and your entire paper must be written in either one of them. There is no choice of font size but the text displayed on screen can be zoomed to any size. Bold/italics/underline/strike-through are available as font attributes

Will there be an opportunity to print and review my answer to check for errors before handing it in?

No, answer papers cannot be printed. However, reading and scrolling on screen is simple and you can make changes or corrections instantly.

Do I need to set aside time to allow for printing?

There will be no printing. See above.

What size is the monitor?

The laptop has a 14" screen. There is no separate monitor.

Can I bring my own keyboard and mouse?

Yes, provided these devices have a wired connection with a standard USB 2.0 Type-A connector. If you plan to use your own keyboard, you must indicate the layout you wish to use in advance, by 7 February 2020 at the latest. Otherwise, the keyboard will function like a Swiss-German keyboard (see here - link). Special keyboard features may not then be supported.

How much desk space will I have to work with the paper copies of the questions?

All candidates will have sufficient desk space to work with the paper copies, namely two tables measuring 120 x 80 cm each.

Will I be able to fill in the opposition form of paper C in PDF?

The opposition form is no longer part of paper C (see Notice from the Examination Board on the EQE website).

Is it possible to obtain a trial version of the text editor for practice purposes?

A trial version is currently not available. However, you are invited to watch the short video demonstrating the user interface. The text editor behaves like any other basic editor (Word, WordPad, etc.) with limited functions (see video and user guide).

Are there any provisions in place in the event of an extended delay due to technical problems?

The system has been tested extensively and highly reliable. In the very unlikely event of problems, as with any unforeseen events during the EQE, measures will be taken to avoid any disadvantage for candidates.

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