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Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office

An epi update about the progress towards a future e:EQE

September 06, 2021

A conference was held on 21 June 2021 to discuss the modernisation of the e:EQE and the modular approach presented in the e:EQE discussion paper of May 2021.

As explained at the conference and in the discussion paper, moving to an online examination means that shorter modules of two hours without a break are preferable to reduce the risk of cheating and to keep screen time to an acceptable level. Many of the conference attendees expressed concerns that maintaining the complexity and difficulty when moving to a system with two hour modules is likely to be challenging. For example, simply reducing the content of the current papers A, B, C and D to fit a two-hour slot is likely to reduce the complexity of each examination. Accordingly, the discussion paper presented the possibility of re-grouping the different aspects of the present papers into concept-based modules so that the level of complexity can be maintained. Merely as a possible example, it was suggested that the concept of novelty which appears in each of the papers A, B, C and D could be tested in a separate module which is short but still difficult and complex.

At the conference, everyone agreed that the high standard of the current examination which has been in place for four decades should be maintained. The feedback received at the conference and in response to the discussion paper has been presented to the EPO in the context of the exchanges of the EPO-epi EQE Working Group. In addition to maintaining standards, the epi members have noted the need to provide enough flexibility so that trainees can continue preparing for the e:EQE and a national qualification.

An in-depth analysis of the papers A, B, C and D which have been set in recent years will establish what aspects are currently tested, and differentiate several types of competences. Such an analysis typically includes a detailed mapping of all elements from the specific competencies (drafting, amendments, opposition and legal aspects) that are tested in the current EQE, generic competences and the context they are tested in.

Further information regarding the conference and the discussion paper are provided on the epi-learning website (Course: e:EQE Discussion paper (epi-learning.org) ). A more detailed report on the conference will also be included in epi information. The epi members of the working group are supported by the Professional Education Committee (PEC) and the Digitalisation Support Group (DSG) and we hope to provide further updates soon.

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