Wednesday, 8 March 2017

DII 2017: metal beams having projections formed by rolling processes - our answers

How difficult was this DII? Opinions differ whether this was quite a standard DII in style and difficulty level, or whether it was much more evolved than in 2014-2016...  Again several PCTs that become, or not, Art.54(3) against others. Also non-published applications, deemed to be withdrawn applications, one grant, and one R.71(3) for which the time limit was missed. Again an application from which you can still claim priority and a competitor in China where you do not have any applications yet, so a need to file a PCT claiming priority from an earlier application to get something against your Chinese competitor. One may have been tempted to do entitlement to the ST-EP2 part of CB-PCT, but as that part is novelty-destroyed by ST-EP2 (or rather, the new application claiming priority from that), there is no need and no use. And product-by-process claims as well as product-directly-obtained-from-the-process protection. Also a transfer of an application and a priority right, supplementing the transfer of a granted patent and the transfer of an opposition in DI. Further difficulties to handle: quite a lot of claims to deal with, and priority was not valid for all claims in each application;  inventions were longer phrases written as product by process, making it more difficult to compare; there was also disclosures & application for a process; a lot of the issues were not straightforward when you looked in detail - e.g. trade fair had demonstration + test results + video; a lot of possible options to consider before you get to end - not possible to clear all of them up with certainty.

D 2017: our answers to the DI-part

The DI part of this year's D had a variety of topics and was -in our view- one of the more difficult DI papers. Scoring about 20 to 25 marks within 2 hours seems however feasible for a well-prepared candidate. How many marks one can achieve does not only depend on the legal knowledge and familiarity with the material, but also depends strongly on the strategy chosen for the D paper as a whole, especially how much time a candidate allocated for DI, how many marks were targetted, and how the candidate planned to deal with and actually dealt with difficult questions (skip or struggle, impose time limit or continue until no more ideas, ...).

We want to emphasize that our answer is not a typical answer of a candidate sitting the exam. It is the combined or at least cross-checked answer of experienced tutors, that could literally (not) sleep overnight to reconsider the answers before posting them. But even experienced tutors are not flawless, so our answer may not be fully complete, or even wrong as to certain aspects. We welcome any comments!

The outline of our answers:

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

D 2017: 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? Substantive topics in DI?
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? Patentability? Difficult priority analysis? Business situation and relevance clear? Exploitation?
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 (the D papers of the last four years 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 D?
What is your expectation of the pass rate and the average score?
How did this year's D-paper compare to the D2013, D2014, D2015 and D 2016 (assuming your practiced those) - DI and DII-wise?

How did you use the extra 30 minutes that were available? Did you work longer on the DI or on the DII? How many marks do you expect to have scored extra thanks to those 30 minutes?

The paper and our answers

Copies of the D-paper will be provided on this blog as soon as we have received copies of the papers, in all three languages here (English, French and German).

The core of our answers is given in two separate blog posts: one for the DI-questions and another post for 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!