Tuesday, 24 February 2015

D 2015: first impressions?

To all who sat the D-paper today:

What are your first impressions to this year's D-paper? Any general or specific comments?

Were the topics well balanced in the DI-part?
Was the balance between EPC and PCT right for you?
Which of the the DI Questions did you consider particularly difficult, and which relatively 'easy'?
Did you skip any DI-questions? if so, why? Too difficult, or allocating the time for another question?
Were the legal issues in the DII-part well doable?
Did errors with one of the legal issues or one of the patentability issues in DII have a big knock-on effect on the rest of the paper in your view (D2013 and D2014 were very well designed in this respect!)?
How much time did you allocate for DI, how much for DII?
Which part did you do first, DI or DII?
How many marks do you expect to have scored in the DI-part, in the DII-part, and for the whole
What is your expectation of the pass rate and the average score?
How did this year's D-paper compare to the D2013 and the D2014 (assuming your practiced those) - DI and DII-wise?

The paper and our answers

Copies of the D-paper are here (English, French and German if available).

The core of our answers are here: DI-questions and the DII-part.

We look forward to your comments!
Comments are welcome in any official EPO language, not just English. So, comments in German and French are also very welcome!

Please do not post your comments anonymously - it is allowed, but it makes responding more difficult and rather clumsy ("Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous of 27-02-2014 17:54"), whereas using your real name or a pseudonym is more personal, more interesting and makes a more attractive conversation. You do not need to log in or make an account - it is OK to just put your (nick) name at the end of your post.

Please post your comments as to first impressions and general remarks to the D-paper as a whole, and to the two parts (DI and DII) as whole part to this blog.
Please post substantial questions to specific DI questions to the DI thread "and DII-related questions to the DII thread. Thanks!

Roel, Pete, Jelle


  1. Definitely shorter than previous years. I repeatedly had to check the clock to see if my watch was indeed correct and the question paper to see if I had missed a page somewhere.

    1. Thinking about it now, it also happens when you know nothing. So, maybe I completely missed some reference in the questions or answered all the 8 pt questions with 4pt answers.

  2. Part I:

    A 9-mark = 27 minute question to start with as Q.1 - no easy warm-up, but immediately into the deep!

    Hopefully all candidates were aware that Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina (not a PCT state...), and not of Brazil (a PCT state since 1978), for Q.3.

    Q.4 addresses correction of translations and seems to be a rather standard DI question. But... maybe a surprise turns up when doing it in detail? You can discuss on our DI answer blog once it is up and running.

    Q.5: H E L P !!! Sequence listings!

    Part II:

    If you google a bit, you quickyl find that various European states claim to have invented the art of printing. We, the Dutch, claim it was Laurens Janszoon Coster, but he seems not to be the first...

    Subject-matter wise DII is not really a surprise: M+A in one application, M+A+B, M+A+C and M+A+B+C in other(s). So, one can immediately expect "dependent" and "dominant" rights - a challenge for many candidates usually to give the correct advice as to who can act where with doing what, and why (not).

    More interesting is a hidden feature D, that may remind candidates from the D 2005 where the foamed core of a wind mill wing was not visible from its outside.

    Also, a Chinese-made proto M+A+C gets an interesting, non-standard aspect into this DII.

    Question 1 of the DII asks about the current situation concerning the 5 classes of printing machines - as in the D 2013, this is supposedly meant to guide the candidates to clarify the scope of discussion wanted, without too much implicit aspects to the question.

    Question 2 asks about three different commercial acts that your clients wants to be free do to with his most far developed machine M+A+B+C+D: freedom to produce, freedom to sell, and freedom to use. History shows that most candidates would not discuss each of these three acts explicitly if the question would not be as specific (but rather read: Are we free to exploit M+A+B+C+D?)

    Answering question 3 requires analyzing the patent portfolios and types of printing machines of all players, and possible improvements as to the client's rights and position.

    Candidates that followed our D Methodology course and/or D Guided Course and/or D Guided Trial run should not have had too much problems with this paper!

    I hope you all did well!


  3. DI:
    9 point starter is tough but it was completely split into two seperate parts so ok.
    Funny to see sequence listings in DI - nice to have a biotech background and get these kinds of notifications all the time.

    Generally, my impression of DI is positive. Always something you cant when you are under time presure, but that is the way its supposed to be. Skipped last part of the PCT question, but got that Argentina not is PCT.

    2 hours for this part for me - and 3 for DII.

    Many applications, claims and features - but this was compensated by no priorities!

    Did catch the 2005 wing foam reference and remembered that hidden features are not disclosed (if they cannot be identified from the use of the product - and it cant here because it is ink use).

    I have a good feeling, but as one of our top attorneys say; many people who pass paper D usually identified a lot of mistakes made and felt that they would not pass immediately after the exam.

    Fingers crossed :-)

  4. While I had to be careful and even to hurry a little to stay within the time limits for the DI questions, DII was - according to my current and still lasting impression - rahter nicely drafted to be managed well within three hours.

    DI questions apepared to me rather straight forward, no nasty hidden issues; even the sequence protocol, once you had opened the right Rule in the EPC, was possible to deal with, maybe with some additional comments like a possible twofold fee for further processing (thanks to Mr Visser!)

    Few PCT related aspects appeared, but not too deep, what was rather nice. Unfortunately, geography was my weak point, but for now I now better about the location of Buenos Aires :-) But, luckily Hans solved all problems anyway.

    DII: No priorities at all was a little confusing, but well balanced by the number of applications. Going through with the DeltaPatents method was leading very nicely to the answers to the posed DII questions, so the "routine" approach practised before could be applied well. Further, DII questions were very detailed and thus helping as well.

    Though, I am still thinking if there was any point why we could not get the EP-Z via Art. 61 - otherwise the whole M+A idea would fail...

    1. I think so too, new application for EP-Z. To improve the scenario against EP-G. New EP-Z will then have the priority date of first application, thereby earlier than EP-G. So EP-G cannot be practiced without EP-Z, leading us to a better cross licensing negotiating position.

    2. To add to paracelsus' remark "DII: No priorities at all was a little confusing, but well balanced by the number of applications.":

      Art.61(1)(b) + Art.61(2) jo Art.76(1) are priority-like: the new application benefits from the filing date of EP-Z, so the patentability analysis has an aspect of non-trivial effective dates to it.
      Also, there is still time to claim priority from EP-X2 or EP-X3 is wanted / appropriate.

      So, if the paper does not describe any priority claims, priority or similar provisions may anyhow be a topic of DII!

      Refer to our DII-blog for our answer - http://eqe-d.blogspot.nl/2015/02/our-provisional-answer-to-dii-part-of-d.html

  5. A 61(1) b: Right to file new application.

    Should this not allow you to file new application with same subject-matter and get rights to M+A?

    1. my thinking as well, wasnt that the whole point of the proceedings against the applicant of EP-Z, A 61(1)b with R 16 (1) a

    2. I also chose this direction. I'm not sure now if one of the competitors had a patent to M+X, and if so, if/how to apply EP-Z or the new A 61(1) b application toward knocking its novelty. It seems some tricky issues with prior rights might arise. Since the exam, I have wondered if TIPO should be advised to seek an early publication of a 61(1) b application so that it can be used in a timely manner for an opposition. None of this I'm sure about, so I too am curious what Delta's proposed DII answer will look like.

    3. See our answer on the parallel thread http://eqe-d.blogspot.nl/2015/02/our-provisional-answer-to-dii-part-of-d.html and the comments posted thereto.

  6. Thought the paper was fair, spent a bit too much time on Q1 and Q2 of DI, but was back on track to leave three hours for DII. Think DII was ok but may have made an error with respect to protecting m+A+b+c+d machine. As suggested that D was not enablingly disclosed, you should withdraw and EP-x3 and file a new application with the supporting paragraphs for D. However, I think a new application should claim priority from Ep-x3 as the claim in ep-x3 forms directed to D forms part of the disclosure of the application to D and so might possibly support a claim to priority for feature D. Ahh well...hope I've somehow mustered 50% elsewhere.

    Oh and thanks to Deltapatents for all the online support and resources.

  7. Dear DP tutors,

    thanks for your help and for already putting some comments on DI.
    I was positively surprised by the D paper and thought that there was enough time to answer everything. To me it seemed easier than the papers of the last years that I practiced.
    DII: only 3.5 pages of text, no priority issues.
    DI: none of the legal changes of last year. I fully expected to see R164 and R. 6(3). Only one PCT question, and not a difficult one. Really surprising.
    I was however struggling with what else to write down for the questions with 9 points: according to DP information in the course that means ca. 18 statements are necessary: but how to get to that number of statements??
    In the whole paper, I only calculated one deadline falling in the weekend: the 30 or 31 month entry limit for Print L in DII (can't remember which one).
    I wonder: did they somehow end up with the back-up paper of last year?? Or did I overlook a lot??
    I feel quite confident about the DI question after seeing your answers. Now I am really curious to see your DII analysis. Do you know when you will put that on your website?

    1. I noticed that as well with the dates - only the 30m ended in a weekend
      The DII answer is on the blog now:

    2. I was also surprised to see a lack of deadlines falling on closed dates/weekends. Easy marks if they are there and you have to check them anyway.

      Overall I feel it was a fair paper. In my mind it was better to have longer but less DI questions than shorter and more of them.

    3. Our general feeling is that the paper was fair. You will always have some time issues on D, however it is made. I really liked the DII - it was quite complex due to the different parts and rights, but it is a nice paper for discussing what the client should do and how that effects the exploitation. It took some time to get through everything. The legal issues were clearly defined, and you only had to worry about how to deal with them. Legal issues are then tested in more detail in the DI part. A great D paper.

    4. Hi Tired,
      Now that you have seen our DI-answers, is your answers as to what all to write for the 9-mark questions answered?
      Kind regards, Roel

  8. What surprised me most about this year's D paper is the lack of any questions in DI, nor elements in DII, relating to recent law changes, even though there were many important changes in 2014 to the EPC Rules (and a few to the PCT Rules).
    Even more, because most of the changes related to frequently occuring D topics: divisionals, fee reduction & language privilege, new fee types -the new divisional generation fee-, fee changes, partial refund of appeal fee, ADA/AAD, non-unity and non-searched matter on entry, ...

    The pre-exam however did include a (one) question relating to amended Rule 6 / RFees 14 EPC with statement 4.2.

  9. Quite doable, I was finished 1,5h early and was shocked that I might have missed some questions or issues in D-II... I then spent another hour to check that and didn't find major things. So I keep my fingers crossed...


    1. J: as I indicated above, the DII did not have any surprises: dependent rights like here are almost always in DII, and entitlement Art.61 is also a very frequent topic.

      Candidates that practices several earlier D-papers (preferably, updated to reflect the current law, as we provide them in our courses and with our model solutions on our webshop), and especially those candidates that took our D Methodology course and/or D Guided Course and/or D Guided Trial run should not have had too much problems with this paper, and I expect that "our candidates" should be well able to score over 35 marks for the DII part.

  10. Many candidates ask use when the results and the Examiner's report will become available. We do not know - you can try with the Exam Secretariat.
    However, in 2014, the results of the main exam papers were published in the EPO website on 11 July 2014 (as a list of EQE registration number and scores), and the Examiner's Reports for the main exam papers on 23 July 2014.


  11. Hi Roel, Pete and Jelle,

    what do you think about maria5's worries on a possible harsh marking, as she posted on the EQE Forum on 26-02-15 at 12:49:

    I am quite happy with this exam... I am just a bit worried about the mark scheme, maybe they are going to penalise harsher than other years... Also this year the exam had only 5 DI-type questions, which was nice, as time is really an issue in the exam. Of course that means that the 5 questions had a higher puntuation.

    1. I expect a similar pass rate as in 2013, which was the highest since many years. (In 2014, the pass rate was back to the level it was until 2012).

      The exam committee has indicated several times that their intention is not to make an exam that candidates WILL likely fail, but that they design the exam so that candidates that are fit-to-practice can pass. The marking scheme will thus be fair.

      The 5 DI-type questions of 7-9 marks correspond to an expected time spend of 21 - 27 minutes (3 min per mark), which is well comparable to the time available for DI questions in the old-style (3h DI in the morning + 4 hour DII in the afternoon) where it was usual to have questions of 4-7 marks x 4,5 minutes = 18 - 31,5 minutes.

      So, the complexity of the DI questions is similar as in the past, whereas the marking resolution is higher - whether this means you can score more easily in view of an expected 3 min effort vs a 4,5 min effort for 1 mark, or more difficult in view of probably more, but smaller steps in your reasoning, will probably depend on your answering style.

  12. I thought the exam was fair, but the wait for the results is torture!