Thursday, 18 March 2010

DII paper - EQE 2010 - possible issue

The reference to EP1 by EPKM is a problem for enablement.Withdrawing EP1 solves this, but EP1 is the first application for the signal. 

I did the exam in the office under exam conditions, and I admit I missed the complication - I read the Guidelines, and simply suggested withdrawing EP1. To get the broadest invention patented (signal), I suggested claiming priority of EP1 with EP3.
I thought of it afterwards, so I asked a couple of knowledgeable people and they didn't know for certain either.

The Case Law book A.I.2(b) says:
In T 737/90 it was explicitly stated that a reference to another document can only be taken into account if the document referred to can be unambiguously identified and the relevant addressees have ready access to it. This depends solely on the facts of the case.
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The public must be able to find it on the publication date of EPKM - that is clear from the guidelines.

It is clear that EP1 is due to be published 1 month before EPKM - therefore, if you do nothing, EPKM will be enabled.

If you withdraw EP1 prior to publication, and do not claim priority, then the public cannot find it so that EPKM is not enabled.

If EP3 claims priority of EP1, you are in a grey area. Sure, EP3 is published then 1m before EPKM, but EPKM refers to EP1. If you type in the application number of EP1 in the "application" field in espacenet, you will get no hit. But if you type the EP1 number in the "priority" field, you will find EP3.

In the OJEPO case law supplement of 2007, you find:
T341/04: the question was whether a referenced document, which could be unambiguously identified at the date of filing of the document containing the
reference by its document number, but which document itself was "missing" in the sense that it was not available at said date of filing, could be "taken into account" for the purpose of Article 83 EPC by relying on information present in a family member of the referenced document.
In this particular case, the board answered in the affirmative. The EPO would have easily retrieved the document, as would a member of the public, availing himself, if necessary, of the professional skills of a librarian on or after the (international) publication date of the application that matured into the patent in suit.

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I have read the case and it was very similar - a published family member claimed priority from the referenced filing.
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As I said, I didn't know the sufficiency test in such detail. I suspect not many candidates knew it either. I don't like them using minute details of patent law for the exam - people can get very frustrated because they cannot figure it out in the exam. It could also be that they did not anticipate this complication when they made the exam.

However, the DII marking is usually constructed so that if you miss a couple of things, but do well on the rest, you can still get more than 30 points. Most people probably saw the issue, and got some points for discussing enablement and withdrawing EP1. If a lot of people struggle with it, they can even reduce the weighting in the marking.

D paper - EQE 2010 - possible solutions

I am not involved with the Exam Committee, so I have no inside information.

I always do the D exam in the office as soon as possible after the exam, under exam conditions - books on paper, exam timing etc. This gives me a feeling for the difficulty and any unclear parts of the papers.

When the Compendium answers are published in August, I can check my attempt to see how close I would have been. I aim to do each paper in less than official time to approach the stress felt by candidates.
Click below to see my impressions - comments are welcome
First a pep talk.
No-one knows the expected answers yet, so it is a lot of speculation. Also the exam committee does give points for more than one answer - that is why the Compendium calls it a "Possible Solution". Most candidates only think of the things they got wrong or missed - there are still a lot of things you got right.

DII paper - EQE 2010 - possible issue

The reference to EP1 by EPKM is a problem for enablement.Withdrawing EP1 solves this, but EP1 is the first application for the signal. 

I did the exam in the office under exam conditions, and I admit I missed the complication - I read the Guidelines, and simply suggested withdrawing EP1. To get the broadest invention patented (signal), I suggested claiming priority of EP1 with EP3.
I thought of it afterwards, so I asked a couple of knowledgeable people and they didn't know for certain either.

The Case Law book A.I.2(b) says:
In T 737/90 it was explicitly stated that a reference to another document can only be taken into account if the document referred to can be unambiguously identified and the relevant addressees have ready access to it. This depends solely on the facts of the case.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Thanks to patents, I work in the top Micro City in Europe !

Eindhoven scores thanks to patents
The leading British newspaper Financial Times has named Eindhoven a European City of the Future for 2010/11:
Every year, the Financial Times magazine fDI rates European cities and regions based on their respective economical achievements. After more than 6 months of researching 223 cities in Europe, Eindhoven was placed 10th in the Western European City category, and 1st in the 'Micro Cities' category for cities with less than 250.000 residents.  
Eindhoven’s performance was due to high scores for economic potential and business friendliness, based on criteria such as the number of patents, number of companies in R&D and high-tech manufacturing, employment in the knowledge-intensive sector, forecast growth rate, and innovation index.
The full article can be read here

Friday, 12 March 2010

Did any of this help ?

Please let me know if any of the posts helped you. Also if anything was wrong or misleading.
Of course, you may want to wait for the results in August ;-)

Enjoy the summer.

Opinion on DI and DII - EQE 2010

I am not involved with the Exam Committee, so I have no inside information.

I always do the D exam in the office as soon as possible after the exam, under exam conditions - books on paper, exam timing etc. This gives me a feeling for the difficulty and any unclear parts of the papers.

When the Compendium answers are published in August, I can check my attempt to see how close I would have been. I aim to do each paper in less than official time to approach the stress felt by candidates.
Click below to see my impressions - comments are welcome
First a pep talk.
No-one knows the expected answers yet, so it is a lot of speculation. Also the exam committee does give points for more than one answer - that is why the Compendium calls it a "Possible Solution". Most candidates only think of the things they got wrong or missed - there are still a lot of things you got right.

This is particularly true on DII where an inferior or unexpected solution may still get some points.

I am not going to give full answers, just comments on some things that appear to have been tested.

DI - in 2 hours 40 minutes
Generally,  it seemed a reasonable paper.Some questions were tough to do in the time, some were faster. I think it was easier than the DI of 2009.

Possible Solutions
Q1: Very similar to Q7 of 2009 - G1/91, G9/91
Q2: A chain of divisionals - G1/05, G1/06 (as predicted here as nr.2)
Q3: Tricky just reading PCT, but R.82.1 is explained in the PCT Applicants Guide or in this guide I recommended here
Q4: Filing by reference (as predicted here as nr. 15)
Q5: R.164 EPC
Q6: Art.70(3) and National Law book (recommended to take to exam here)
Q7: Art.86(2) and National Law book Table VI and IV (London Agreement as predicted here as nr. 6)
Q8: Filing by reference (as predicted here as nr. 15)
Q9: R.14

DII 2010 in 3 hours and 40 minutes
Generally, easier than DII 2009. Unusual to see two pieces - we haven't seen this for several years. It looked like the pieces could be done separately. However, you are never given the points per question, so you don't know how to plan your time.

Possible Solution (some highlights)
Q1, Q2:
- Repair EP3 using R.56
- Signal is patentable (T1194/97)
- EPKM only enabled via reference to EP1. Presumably if EP1 withdrawn before publication, EPKM not enabled

Q3, Q4:
- NO only EPC state since 1 Jan 2008 (predicted here as nr. 7)
- Make PCT-JU a prior right - R.165 - using further processing
- Oppose EPF

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

EQE 2010 papers now available on-line

The EPO has now put the EQE 2010 papers on-line

Saturday, 6 March 2010

More news on the EQE pre-exam

A new version of the REE (EQE exam regulation) has appeared on the EPO website here
I have not looked into all the differences, but some form has now been given to the EQE for 2012 and beyond.

For candidates with at least 2 years patent experience on the date the pre-exam is to be held (not yet known, but presumably in March 2012) are required to take the pre-exam in 2012. If successful, they may then take the A, B, C and D papers in 2013.

The pre-exam in 2012 and beyond

R.6(2) Pass level = 50/100. Only PASS or FAIL, no COMPENSABLE FAIL
R.8(1) Fee = 130 Euro (same as A, B, C & D papers)

Rule 10
Pre-examination
(1) A pre-examination shall be held for the first time in 2012.
(2) The pre-examination shall consist of one paper.
(3) The purpose of this paper shall be to assess candidates' ability to answer legal questions and questions relating to the drafting of claims


The duration of this paper shall be four hours.

To compensate for this extra exam, the B, C & D exams are to be shortened (in total by 4 hours) - see below.

Rule 10
Pre-examination
(4) The paper shall consist of:
(a) legal questions relating to the candidates' knowledge of the documents referred to in Rule 22(1)

and
(b) questions on at least one technical proposal from a client, at least one draft
claim in respect of that technical proposal and at least one relevant prior art
document.

Candidates will be expected to answer questions on the allowability of the claim(s) under the European Patent Convention (hereinafter "the EPC") and as to whether the claim(s) provide(s) the broadest possible protection under the EPC. When answering the questions, candidates shall bear in mind the requirements of the EPC, in particular regarding novelty and inventive step, and the recommendations contained in the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO (hereinafter "the Guidelines").

No mention of multiple choice answers, as was used in the mock pre-exam
No mention of whether there will be chemical and electro/mechanical options. For the mock pre-exam, there was only an electro/mechanical question



The A, B, C & D papers in 2013 and beyond:

Rule 23
Content of the examination – Drafting paper (Paper A)

No major changes

Rule 24
Content of the examination – Reply paper (Paper B
)
A 3 hour paper instead of 4 hours

The paper shall include ... a draft set of claims to be filed with the candidates' response to the official communication
New
The response shall be in the form of a letter ... accompanied by the claims supplied by the client, amended as appropriate to meet the requirements of the EPC.
New

Rule 25
Content of the examination – Opposition paper (Paper C)

5 hours instead of 6 hours

Rule 26
Content of the examination – Legal paper (Paper D)

A single paper of 5 hours instead of DI:3 hours + DII:4 hours