Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Recently, a new book written by Cees Mulder was published entitled: A Self-Study Guide for the Pre-Examination of the EQE – Part I: The Legal questions.
The Pre-Examination is the entrance exam of the European Qualifying Examination (EQE). Only after passing the Pre-Examination, a candidate is allowed to enroll for the Main Exam: EQE Papers A, B, C and D. In the Pre-Examination, candidates are required to answer 10 legal questions and to answer 10 questions relating to an invention and patent claims which have been drafted for that invention. Each question is followed by four statements which have to be answered by filling in True or False on an answering sheet. No reasoning is required.
Since its introduction in 2012, the pass rate of the Pre-Examination has decreased. In 2014, the score required to pass the Pre-Examination was raised from 50 to 70 out of 100 points. Currently, the pass rate of the Pre-Examination is around 75%.
The preparation for the Pre-Examination starts with learning to understand the basic concepts of European patent law, including the legal and formal aspects of the patent system as well as the substantive issues such as, in particular, novelty, inventive step and priority.
More and more candidates enrolling for the Pre-Examination did not attend a basic course in European patent law, but familiarized themselves with the relevant issues. The author of the current book realized that there is no reference book for the Pre-Examination: most books are dedicated to the preparation of the Main Exam and, because of the more profound level of the questions asked in the latter exam, are as such not suitable for the Pre-Examination. Simply studying the EPC and the PCT by working through the Articles and Rules sequentially and/or by reading the Guidelines for Examination in the EPO or the PCT Applicant's Guide is also not the best manner to learn how the patent system works. This approach does not provide the required level of insight in how the different provisions of the European patent law interact with each other.
In order to enhance the level of understanding of the law, the new book provides a structured approach on which associated legal provisions should be studied together. It also gives guidance on when to study. In particular, the book focuses on the preparation for the legal questions of the Pre-Examination, although a number of substantive issues are dealt with, which are indispensable for answering the questions relating to the claim analysis part of the Pre-Examination.
Twelve main topics have been selected around which a Study Guide has been built. For each topic, the important issues are grouped in tables allowing a structured study of the topic. The content of the tables is sufficiently detailed to allow a successful self-study of the issues. In addition, a methodology for answering the legal questions of the Pre-Examination is presented.