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Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

epi view on EQE March 2020 cancellation: UPDATE: Letter to EPO

March 13, 2020

Last week, the Supervisory Board, which is a joint body of the EPO and epi, informed all candidates of EQE 2020 about its decision to cancel the EQE scheduled for 16.-19. March 2020 in view of the current COVID19 epidemic.

It is the first time since the EQE was initiated in 1979 that the annual exam has to be canceled. epi regrets that this unprecedented decision was necessary which deeply affects the professional future of thousands of candidates. However, we think that under the current circumstances the decision taken was logical and unavoidable.

Within these weeks Europe is faced for the first time since decades with a serious pandemic situation, which quickly and increasingly affects public life in most, if not all 38 EPC countries to a large extent. Protection of health and safety of all candidates as well as of the personnel carrying out the exam, including many volunteers, must be the highest priority of those who are deciding and organizing the EQE. Following the recommendations from international and national institutions such as WHO, ECDC, Robert Koch Institut, many governments have taken measures to prevent spreading of the COVID19 disease, amongst them prohibition of public events with a certain size up to putting certain regions under total quarantine with an absolute travel ban.

Additionally, many companies and employers have also put in place travel restrictions for their employees. It is not possible to carry out a complex pan-European EQE under those circumstances without putting at risk participants and organizers.

We all do not know, how the situation will develop within the next months. We support and encourage therefore the Supervisory Board, the EPO EQE secretariat and all other bodies involved to explore all necessary measures to carry out an EQE for the candidates who planned to sit in March 2020 as soon as the situation will allow, either still within 2020 or only in 2021.

UPDATE: Letter to EPO
The epi President sent a letter to the EPO President, requesting his support to make every possible resource at the EPO available for enabling the organisation of a postponed EQE 2020. Ideally the results of the postponed EQE 2020 should be available by the end of October 2020. Despite all the difficulties connected with additional workload and other necessary resources, the epi hopes that the EPO together with the epi will strive towards making a postponed EQE possible.

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