How does the EQE work?
The EQE consists of a pre-examination. which needs to be passed before enrolling for one or more of the four papers of the main examination.
This is the first exam which needs to be passed. You can enrol for the Pre-exam after two years of working under the supervision of a European patent attorney.
The exam itself consists of two parts:
Legal questions are aimed at checking whether you can understand basic concepts relating to calculating time limits, fees and understanding various aspects of both the EPC and the PCT procedure.
Claim analysis is directed at checking whether you can analyse a short description with one or more claim sets and to give answers relating to e.g. clarity, added subject-matter, novelty, infringement or inventive step of a given claim set.
This exam is multiple choice and lasts for four hours. The results are usually posted approximately one month after the Pre-examination.
Main examination: Paper A
Paper A is directed at checking your ability to draft a set of claims with an introductory part of a description.
Your aim during this exam is to draft claims which provide the broadest possible protection for an applicant, while at the same time complying with requirements of the EPC such as novelty, inventive step or clarity.
Main examination: Paper B
Paper B is directed at checking your ability to draft a full response to a communication issued by the EPO during examination of a European patent application.
Your first task is to amend claims is such a way so that the applicant will have the broadest possible protection, while at the same time ensuring that the claims satisfy all requirements of the EPC.
Your second task is to provide reasoning why the amended claims are patentable over prior art cited in the communication.
Main examination: Paper C
Paper C is directed at checking your ability to draft an opposition to a granted European patent.
Your task is to draft a notice of opposition while complying with formal requirements for admissibility set out in the EPC.
Additionally, you have to draft grounds of opposition in order to prove that the granted patent lacks novelty, invective step and possibly has added subject-matter.
Main examination: Paper D
Paper D consists of two parts.
The first part is aimed at checking your legal knowledge about various aspects of the EPC and the PCT procedures as well as aspects of national law relating to the EPC or the PCT. A crucial aspect of this part is to provide legal basis from the EPC, PCT, etc. in your answers.
The second part aims at drafting a legal opinion in response to a letter from a client presenting a more detailed state of facts. No basis needs to be provided in your answer.