23 March 2023
This year's European qualifying examination (EQE) ran from 6 to 13 March. In total, 2 148 candidates of 58 nationalities participated and almost 40% of candidates were women. All in all, the four papers that each candidate can sit, plus the pre-exam paper, last a combined total of 24 hours and are simultaneously available in German, English and French.
Since the digital EQE was introduced in 2021, candidates have been able to write electronic exam papers from anywhere. As in previous years, a large team of invigilators oversaw the 2023 examination and addressed the queries of candidates, who also benefited from recent technical improvements to the secure digital exam environment and three levels of support. Tailored adjustments were made for any special needs. The answer papers will now be assessed by the 300 members of the joint EPO-epi examination committees.
As a requirement to represent clients before the European Patent Office, the EQE is a mark of the highest quality for the European patent system, the patent attorney profession and for all those who pass the examination, including many EPO examiners.
Currently, the EQE is undergoing an important development. After a broad consultation and consensus-building process commencing in 2021, the EPO and epi are now preparing for a new era: a revamped European qualifying examination has been designed, taking on board the contributions from industry, the profession and training institutions. Adapted for a rapidly changing digital environment, the new EQE will retain the vast expertise accumulated over the past four decades at the same time as reflecting modern work conditions and assessment methodologies.