Thursday, 28 January 2010

Tips for the EQE

A great list and discussion of tips from last year can be found here

To see my recommendations of which material to take to the exam, see here

Monday, 25 January 2010

Pre-exam EQE 2012 - update

I have heard from some candidates preparing for EQE 2010 who have been invited to help try out a mock version of the pre-exam in Munich and London. This seems like a very smart way to test both the format and level of the pre-exam using guinea-pigs of about the right level.
Although we still have to wait until March to hear definitely what will be tested and how, we know that the mock pre-exam has:

  • multiple choice
  • four hours
  • open book (no electronic devices)
  • 20 questions
  • testing legal knowledge and the ability to analyse claims
  • the correct answers will be supplied < 4 days

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Individual correction of C2009 and DII 2009 papers

As part of our training program, we correct papers that people send us. We give individual feedback about style and any legal errors, together with a detailed marking sheet (more detailed than the standard EQE marking sheets) and our comprehensive model solution.
We have received several requests for the correction of 2009 papers, so we have added the C2009 and DII 2009 papers.

So if you want our detailed feedback:
- on your actual DII paper made during EQE2009 (please also send the marking sheet)
- on the DII2009 you made at the CEIPI sessions in Strasbourg
- on the DII2009 paper you made at home or as a mock exam
or on the C2009 paper you made at home or as a mock exam

Hand-in date will be ultimately 15 February 2010. Correction will be returned on the 24th of February 2010. Price for the C2009 correction is € 250,00.
Price for the DII2009 correction is € 200,00.

If you wish to register, please use the form in our brochure.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Other PCT things to print out and take

If there is still room in your suitcase, I would also recommend the following for PCT:

Overviews (these are in the complete Applicants Guide, but they are faster to find like this):

  • Agreement between WIPO and EPO: Version 1 March 2009
    May be referenced on EQE as: OJ 2009,206
  • Background PCT: Version 1 Dec 2009
    In particular the last section on Procedural Safeguards for International Applications

Printable PCT Applicants Guide now available for EQE 2010

Thanks to Cees Mulder (known to EQE candidates as the author of the Cross-referenced PCT) for letting me know about the latest version printable PCT Applicants Guide.
The EQE Examination Board arranges each year that the WIPO produces a printable version of the PCT Applicants Guide to take to the exam. These are large files (1600 pages). No electronic equipment is allowed at the EQE, so you have no choice - you have to print out what you want to take.

PCT Applicant's Guide (Special edition as of 31 December 2009 prepared for EQE candidates)
International Phase [PDF] (4,767 KB) - 665 pages.
National Phase [PDF] (19,867 KB) - 1023 pages.

I complained about the size at the last Tutor's meeting, and the Exam Committee admitted that some parts will never be the subject of EQE questions (like the national chapter in Ukraine ;-) However, no-one wanted to define an official minimum list.

Based on the syllabus, past questions, the largest patent office, and the most popular national entries, my minimum list would be:
1) The whole of the international phase pdf document (Applicants Guide & all annexes)
2) For the national phase pdf, only (should save about 400 pages)

- National Phase Guide: p3-p21
- National chapters for biggest offices CN, EP, JP, KR, US
- "National" chapters for other regions: AP, EA, OA 

- National chapters for all EPC members states (see below for the list - note that some have closed there national routes. For these, the EP "national" chapter applies)
- National chapters for all Extension states (AL, BA, RS)
- National chapters for top 15 dO/eO's not yet mentioned: AU, BR, CA, IL, IN, MX, NZ, RU, SG, ZA

To avoid printing difficulties select “Fit to Printable Area” in the “Page Scaling” options when printing.
You can reduce the amount you have to carry by printing double-side with 4 pages per A4 sheet - I think it is still readable.

EPC members and extension states

Status: 31/12/2009

Member state
1 May 1979
7 October 1977
1 July 2002
7 October 1977
1 April 1998
Czech Republic
1 July 2002
7 October 1977
1 January 1990
1 July 2002
1 October 1986
1 March 1996
7 October 1977
United Kingdom
7 October 1977
1 October 1986
1 January 2008
1 January 2003
1 August 1992
1 November 2004
1 December 1978
1 April 1980
1 December 2004
7 October 1977
1 July 2005
1 December 1991
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
1 January 2009
1 March 2007
7 October 1977
1 January 2008
1 March 2004
1 January 1992
1 March 2003
1 May 1978
1 December 2002
1 July 2002
San Marino
1 July 2009
1 November 2000

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Updated info about the EQE 2010

The EQE Board appears to be updating all the old notices regarding the exam. Usually the secretariat send this in an e-mail, but just in case you don't get it, you can find the updated instructions regarding the conduct of the EQE here

Differences I have noticed with the previous version (from Dec 2008 - see here):

- (15) electronic devices are limited to an analogue wrist watch (so presumably not one with a digital display)
- (2b& 9 & 15c) strict instructions about only being able to hand in an answer on EQE paper (except the C opposition paper). It is a regular comment that pre-prepared materials are not accepted)
- most notably, the list of advised books to bring has been deleted. The only guidance is the very broad syllabus found in Art. 13 of the REE)
- (7) instructions not to write your name or initials anywhere in your answer (to preserve anonymity)
- (15d) not stapling or pasting pages together (the answers have to be copied)
- (17) leave the hall after handing in question paper and answer (presumably this is also if you have to got to the bathroom)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Art.54(2) - When is something publicly available?

One of the problems learning the EPC is the large amount of detail presented in case law. For certain subjects, it helps to understand the general principles before you look at the details.

One such area is Art.54(2) - when is something made available to the public ?
For those doing the EQE, this is important for the C & D exams.

Terminology: A disclosure means an explanation of the invention - this does not automatically mean that it is publicly available.

Whether something is available to the public (Art.54(2)) actually means whether the invention could reach someone who could practice the invention. That someone would be the appropriate skilled person.

You therefore have to look at the form of the disclosure and the route the invention could take to the skilled person, and evaluate at any barriers. If an enabling disclosure of the invention can reach the skilled person in an understandable form by any route, then it is available to the public.
Barriers are for example, physical walls, non-disclosure agreements, insufficient understanding by a person en route, a non-enabling disclosure.

The other important aspect is the ability to prove what was made available.

For example, a new type of windmill wing is placed in a garden at a wedding party. The prototype wing is in full view of the invited guests - the guests are all employed in the field of windmills, so anything visible could be understood. There are no secrecy agreements. The guests cannot examine the wing in detail.
Therefore, each guest can pass on whatever information they can get by viewing the prototype - this depends on their own level of knowledge and what they could see.
The content of disclosure is no more than what is visible. However, the content as viewed by each guest is different depending on their level of expertise. Each guest is free to pass on the information to someone else, including the skilled person, so each guest is a route for the disclosure to get to a skilled person. The content of the disclosure has been modified by the expertise of the guest, so there are many different routes and contents by which the visible characteristics of the windmill wing have been made available to the public.
As the disclosure is in a permanent and visible form, there may be evidence available to support this - photos, delivery note for the prototype, etc.

Assuming the core of the wing is an invention. The core of the wing was encapsulated, and therefore was not visible, so none of the guests could see it. So it could not have been made available to the public by the guests viewing the prototype.

If someone explained about the core at the party, then the content of the disclosure was no more than what was said. The content of the disclosure made available to the public via each gust depends on the level of expertise of each guest, and what they could hear. Proof is a major problem with oral disclosures, because it generally does not generate any evidence.

If the information was provided in a permanent form (printed or recorded), then the own level of knowledge plays no role because it could be given to a skilled person. It is therefore also made available to the public. The content of disclosure is then only limited to what a skilled person could learn from the printed form.

If each guest was given a windmill wing to take home, then the content of disclosure is only limited by analysis techniques available to the skilled person.

So, being available to the public depends on all the circumstances. And a barrier is only a barrier if it is not breached. For example, if all the guests had signed a non-disclosure agreement, then any disclosure at the party would not have been made available to the public, even if it was in a permanent form.
However, if one person publishes the information (breaching the non-disclosure agreement), it is still made available to the public (Art.54(2). In such a case, it may be possible to exclude such a publication as a non-prejudicial disclosure under Art.55

Typically, in evaluating public availability, you look first at the route: could a disclosure reach the appropriate skilled person?
Then at the carrier(s) of the disclosure: what would the skilled person learn from the content of the disclosure?
Finally, consider what can be proved.