Wednesday, 28 February 2018

DII 2018: Oliebollen - methods and appartuses

In the DII 2018, the client is a Bollebozen B.V. (BB) who is active in the food industry, both in the manufacture and design of processes and processing equipment and in the large-scale production of processed food. One of thei products is a Ducth speciality, called "Oliebollen", which are consumed at the turn of the year. They conwist of a ball of dough mixed with dried fruit, which is fried. One concern with all fried products is that they have high levels of acrylamide, a substance some studies have indicated is carcinogenic in high doses. ([001])
The client has a granted P patent that is in opposition appeal, 3 filed applications -3 EP and 1 PCT-, as well as the intention to file another PCT. A research institute offered the client a EP phase of a PCT application, which they will offer to one of the client's competitors if your client doesnot buy it. Some applications are deemed to be withdrawn because of lack of payment of fees. The PCT applications are still very early in the international phase. Some applications/patent claim priority, others donot (yet). Issues relate to genus-species with nozzle-conical nozzle-trumpet shaped nozzle, novelty of ranges and of amended (sub-)ranges, essential features, potential Art.54(3) effects, unclaimed subject-matter.
So far for the "usual" parts (even though the answer will be quite surprising). In addition to the above, the DII started with a challenging DI-like case: appeal in opposition, where the proprietor merely referred to first instance submissions than filing a complete statement of grounds, The opponent filed test results with the appeal to demonsytrate that also the patent as maintained in amended form had an insufficiency problem. Such highly legal topics have not really been part of the DII part anymore since the D-paper is a single 5-hour paper (with 30 minites additional time since last year).

Below we give our answer. We do not give a full analysis, but summarize the conclusions of all questions below. A full answer needs full discussion as to whether priority is valid or not, what all the prior art is, novelty, inventive step, provisional protection, full protection, etc.

DI 2018: our answers

The DI part of this year's D had a variety of topics. Scoring about 20 to 25 marks within 2 hours seems 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 (some may choose to use only 1,5 hours for DI to have 4 hours for DII), 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 to the DI-part of the 2018 paper:

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

D 2018: 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 D papers of 2013 - 2017 (assuming your practiced those) - DI and DII-wise?

How did you use the additional 30 minutes that were available to to the paper? 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

The D paper is available here in Englishici in French and hier in German. (Thanks for the candidates that provided us with a clean copy!)

The core of our answers will be 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!