Monday, 6 March 2017

Pre-Exam 2017: first impressions?


To all who sat the Pre-Exam today:
What are your first impressions to this year's Pre-Exam (pEnglish, French and German)? Any general or specific comments?
Were the legal topics well balanced?
Were the various aspects of claims analysis well balanced?
Was the balance between EPC and PCT right for you?
Which of the legal questions did you consider particularly difficult, and which relatively 'easy'?
How much time did you allocate for the legal questions, how much for the claims analysis part? Did you deviate from our original plan (for example, took more time for the legal questions than planned)?
Which part did you do first, the legal part or the claims analysis?
How many marks do you expect to have scored in the legal part, in the claims analysis, and for the whole paper?
What is your expectation of the pass rate and the average score?
How did this year's paper compare to the earlier pre-exams of 2012-2016 (assuming your practiced those) w.r.t. the pre-exam as a whole, w.r.t. the legal part and w.r.t. the claims analysis part? In particular, how did it compare to 2015 and 2016?

The paper and our answers
Copies of the paper will be provided on this blog as soon as we have received copies of the paper (English, French and German).

The core of our answers is given in two separate blog posts: one for the legal questions and another post for the claims analysis 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!

Please do not post your comments anonymously - it is allowed, but it makes responding more difficult and rather clumsy ("Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous of 13-13-2017 13:13"), whereas using your real name or a pseudonym is more personal, more interesting and makes a more attractive conversation. You do not need to log in or make an account - it is OK to just put your (nick) name at the end of your post.

Please post your comments as to first impressions and general remarks to the Pre-Exam paper as a whole, and to the two parts (legal part and claims analysis) as whole parts to this blog.Please post substantial questions to specific legal questions to our post with our answers and claims analysis related questions to our post for that part

Thanks!

Note: the legal questions are discussed here, and claims analysis questions here.


(c) DeltaPatents 2017

71 comments:

  1. I answered:
    FTFT
    TFFT
    TTTT
    TTTF
    FFFT
    TTFF
    TFTF
    FFFT
    FTFF
    TTFT

    FFFF
    TTTF
    FFFF
    TTTF
    FFFF
    FFFF
    TFTF
    TFTT
    FTFF
    FFFF

    I thought it was very hard!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First part is online from DP.
      Second part very different from yours:

      TTTT
      TFFF
      TFTF
      TTTF
      FFFF
      FFTF
      TFTF
      TFTF
      FTFF
      FXXF (I forgot to note how I answered 20.2 and 20.3)

      Delete
  2. There are not that many answers up to now in the blog... Surprising! My impression was that the exam was difficult enough and no one left the room before the end. Fair enough, I had the feeling they really made an effort to eliminate the ambiguities in the questions (and mostly succeeded) which made last year's exam so special. Compared to last year, the set of questions was much better devised and more easily understandable. Also, I cannot remember any clarity questions in the claims part (I might have forgotten those).

    Kim

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    Replies
    1. Our legal answers now in a second post: http://pre-exam.blogspot.nl/2017/03/pre-exam-2017-our-answers-to-legal-part.html

      Delete
    2. And our claims answers here: http://pre-exam.blogspot.nl/2017/03/pre-exam-2017-our-answers-to-toothbrush.html

      Delete
  3. Pre-EQE designers6 March 2017 at 20:25

    We now interrupt these proceedings to design a question about interruption of proceedings.

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  4. They certainly tested a range of topics that had not been in the Pre-EQE so far. I am not sure whether everything was clear to me, but maybe it was just me trying to find a trap and being overly sensitive :-/
    I am looking forward to some more qualified solutions, I won't post mine, since it is not very qualified ;)
    Cheers, Ben

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  5. Consensus among the few people I spoke to afterwards was that it was a tough paper. The claims analysis part especially.

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  6. Any more answers to compare? :) I'm so hoping I've passed.... :| It feels like it will be a close call...

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  7. Broken toothbrush6 March 2017 at 22:08

    Definitely felt harder than the previous ones. It appears that they are still raising the bar.

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    Replies
    1. Agree, a lot more to read in the claim analysis part.

      Cheers, Patrick

      Delete
    2. I agree that the legal questions seemed harder than in previous years: interruption of proceedings, interlocutory revision, obscure opposition stuff, medical use claims, international preliminary examination... It's not a shock that *some* of those topics came up, but all of them in a single paper?

      Although the claims questions were relatively difficult, they were much more clearly worded than in some previous years.

      Delete
    3. My toothbrush plays music and vibrates and can scrub your back6 March 2017 at 23:02

      Legal questions certainly harder than previous years.

      Delete
    4. Is that you Stijn? :)

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    5. This was my second try with the pre-EQE, last year I scored 65. The legal part seemed easy for me this year, but looking at it again today I changed my mind, probably I was over-prepared due to my last year failure. I completed the legal part at 1 hour and 15-20 minutes, which was a good thing, as I chose to start with the claim analysis part (two hours and 15 minutes). I was pleasantly surprised by the more simple schemes of the invention and the reduced complexity of the claim sets (no multiple dependencies, yeah). I agree all questions were less ambiguous, but many topics were a new thing in the pre-exam. But I think that if someone can pass this hurdle, he has done a substantive work on the D-paper already.

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  8. Back-scratching toothbrush6 March 2017 at 22:59

    Best of luck for the results everyone.

    The paper was a mixed bag. A good variety of legal questions covering some of the more obscure aspects of EP prosecution and PCT prosecution, like others have pointed out. Obviously it's not possible to study all of the legal material in time for the pre-EQE, and the only solution is to become familiar with navigating either Hoekstra or Visser (and tab it up!).

    The claim analysis section was definitely worded to be less ambiguous, compared to previous years. It seems that comparing 4 prior art documents will be the norm going forward for the pre-EQE, as well as the invention having 4 different embodiments. All the more reason to rip apart your exam paper and lay the pages out on your desk when conducting the claim analysis!!

    Time for another beer.... or two. Cheers

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  9. animalusingbrush7 March 2017 at 07:31

    I felt that legal questions were a tad bit tougher than the previous years. Interruption proceedings caught me by surprise, more particularly, in the context of legal incapcitance of a professional representative. It took me more than 10 mins for a few questions. I finished the legal part well past 2.00 hrs. It could have been also because of the over-reliance on Visser. But there were not many options left out. Claim analysis was alright. Nothing dramatic there. Overall, quite a mixed feeling about this exam.

    Here|s hoping the best,
    Tiger

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  10. I thought it wasn't that hard. I actually was a bit surprised I knew most of the things even though I went in dreading the test as my level of preparation left a lot to be desired. The PCT stuff was fairly easy if you have worked with PCT applications, and even the harder legal questions were such that could be anticipated to be asked (medical use, opposition). Although now that I'm reading people's comments here, I'm starting to doubt myself. Did I get everything somehow wrong? Why was I finished in three hours even though I kept leafing through the EPC and GL to check things out? I'm not sure whether I dare to check my answers once Delta's correct answers are up...

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  11. Bertrand of Rijswijk7 March 2017 at 10:06

    As already mentioned by others in the comments above, I also find that the claims analysis part was less ambiguous than in the previous years. There was maybe a bit more to read, but overall the claims analysis part was not that tough.
    Tough was the legal part, really. So many very specific topics in one paper : I couldn't believe it !

    I expected to spend much more time on the claims analysis than on the legal part, but what happened was really the opposite.

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  12. I was also surprised by some of the topics of the legal part. Especially the topics of second medical use and interlocutory revision took me by surprise, which is not a feeling you want to have on the day of the exam. Also, I think that, compared to previous years, the answers for the legal part required much more reasoning then simply looking up an answer - take for example the question related to amendments in opposition (whether the amended claim constitutes a request for rejecting the opposition). With regards to the claim analysis part, it seemed easier to grasp the invention, the differences between embodiments and the disclosures of the prior art. Given this shift in difficulty to the legal questions (at least from my perspective), I also ended up spending more time in answering these questions than initially planned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even though the second medical use questions may have come as a surprise, it is such a key topic, of EPC Articles, not just of case law (except the first statement - Swiss-type claims no longer allowed for second medical use), that it is fair to be tested at the level it was tested.
      The 4 statements tested are the most basic versions, and should not have posed any problems to any candidate that is aware of Art.54(5) EPC, G 2/08 and/or Guidelines G-VI, 7.1: the examples are almost literally in there.

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  13. Bertrand D. (amazing there are two bertrands here! And both from rijswijk! :P) )7 March 2017 at 12:14

    I agree Andrei!! I also spent more than planned on the legal part...Luckily the claim part was easier to grasp (but I am sure I messed up at times like always :P).

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  14. In my opinion, legal part of the paper was harder than for the previous years on which I trained, and I spent more than 2 hours on it. After reading in details the claims part's documents, I spent 1h20 to answer the 10 left corresponding questions.
    But I guess that actually the real conditions of exam oblige to read and analyse and read and again in order to avoid traps and tricks and to secure our answers. This point remains difficult to evaluate and anticipate while training at home...
    C'était dur...

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  15. I started with the claims analysis and spent 1h15 on it and it seemed really easy and much clearer than previous years. I compared my answers with the DeltaPatents answers and had only 1 wrong/different answer.
    After that I did the legal part, which took me 2 hours. I had to do quite some searching (more than for previous exams), partly because of the exotic topics. The last 45 minutes I spent on correcting questions 1.2 and 1.4 wrongly, what a waste of time :). I answered 3 answers wrong/different here.
    So overall: claims analysis was easy, legal seemed harder than previous years.

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  16. Have you published this year's paper?

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    Replies
    1. Not yet, waiting for a clean copy. If someone has a clean version of the English Pre-Exam paper, please send it to me.

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    2. English version of the paper now available via the link in our blog post.

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  17. Having done the 2012, 13, 14, 15 and 16 exams easily within 3 hours and passing them all, I felt quite confident for "the real stuff".
    However, the legal part was tough and the fact that time passed while I was still struggling made me nervous. I agree with all others: so many 'new' angles to the questions, quite different from the previous exams.
    Claim a analysis was a lot of reading and the balance between reading and questions was a bit off. It would have been more comfortable (time wise) to enter some questions earlier within the claim analysis part. the moment I finally came to the question part was a relief though, the questions themselves were fairly easy.
    Now the main question: do you pass the exam with 28 + 44 points, or is a minimum of 35 required for both parts?

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    Replies
    1. I agree! I was still looking things up, filling in circles until the very end and like you had been doing past exam papers with roughly 45 minutes to spare. I barely even drank my water on Monday! I think mostly this was because of the very different topics. Claim analysis was also 'interesting' to say the least. My electric toothbrush will never be the same....

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  18. Hello to everybody, hope you all did good.

    For me failure... again. Last year i scored 65 whitout study.

    This year I studied much more and I follow an on-line course and stand on the Delta i scored much more less.. very frustrating.

    I wrongly changed few answers which last year i would probably write correctly cause training in the past days with old pre-examination text made me unsecure about lot of things.

    I found very hard too find the legal basis on the Visser. Which reference books did you used? I understood that my method to approach to the exam is wrong.

    I want to follow a Delta patent course , which hints could you give me?

    Bye and good luck

    Steve

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    Replies
    1. The 12-day integrated course could be a good option - http://www.deltapatents.com/eqe-pre-exam.html

      In the course, we use the reference book from Jelle Hoekstra, "References to the EPC" - http://webshop.deltapatents.com/references_epc

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    2. Thank you very much Roel for your advices.

      Steve

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    3. Hi there

      I scored 65 last year as well. Based on the answers of this blog this year I am at 78. For the 2016 exam I took the EPO online training course, which might had been sufficient, but working and raising a toddler with studying is a heavy burden. Still I think it was fair that I failed last year, because I was not so confident regarding my knowledge. This year I took the DeltaPatens Basic Legal Questions Book and went through all the suggested Pre-exam questions. I learned to navigate my self through all available stuff, the EPC, the EPO Guidelines, the Case Law, the Ancillary Regulations, the Euro-PCT Guide, PCT Articles/Rules and of course the PCT Applicants Guide. All these with an eye to a succesful pre-exam and a D paper to follow next year. I also made a list of all (?) time limits within the Convention, a list of clarity issues to check, and some notes on general rules for assessing closest prior art and remarks on amendments (the latter from the DeltaPatents Model Solution Book for pre-exam). If you have the option to follow a course, you probably should do it. I did not have that option and had to find my way around.

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    4. Thank you for your advices Anonymous8 March 2017 at 15:07, and congratulations for your score (unless delta mess it up :)))))

      I quote all you said. Yes the knowledge of "where i have to search what" is crucial for this exam, last time i attempted the examination whitout so much preparation and it was fair i failed.

      I took the EPO online trainig course too but, as you said, working made me hard follow VC on air and training.

      I, as the 99%, used the Visser, but both times i found very hard (too much time) find the legal basis on it. Did you used the Visser for EPC?

      Thanks and good luck!

      S.

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    5. No I didn't use Visser, though I know most people do and I actually have an older version of it. The cross-referencing that Visser provides for can be done on your own up to the level required for the pre-exam, in my opinion. I actually noted next to the most important articles and rules of the Convention, the relevant guidelines part. I also added many sticky notes with some important decisions or special implementations of the law, whenever I stumbled upon one while reading. Not a complete one, but for the pre-exam it was more than enough.
      Sort out what was your major loss. Last year I struggled with the legal, because I was not quick at "where to search what" and the 1:45 left was not enough for medium preparation of claim analysis. This year I made sure I would be faster with legal and I minimized the concentration issues on claim analysis as far as possible (plus some personal notes).

      Good luck to you too

      Delete
  19. The pre-exams of 2012 to 2015 could all be done in 2,5-3 hours, and their legal parts in 1-1,5. Last year, the legal part required 2 hours to most candidates, which seemed to be an outlier. But it was like that again this year. Is the current difficulty level the new standard? And the type of topics (a high degree ofnon-standard and even exotic topics)?

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  20. Anwering this year's pre-exam required 3:50h after having completed (and passed) the 2015 and 2016 pre-exams in 2:20h and 3:00h for training purposes. Judging by DP's provisional answers, I scored 90 points, based on preparation with the written handouts of the EPO online training (no presentations, no classrooms) and on a few books (EPC and PCT legal texts, 'EPÜ- und PCT-Tabellen', and the 'Guidelines'). For next year's EQE, I consider relying on DP's methodology books.

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  21. According to Deltapatents' provisional answers I have scored 96 points (46 legal; 50 claims). This, after I failed the 2016 pre-exam (46 legal; 22 claims). Time allocation this year was 1h20 (legal) + 2h30 (claims) + 10 min (filling in bubbles and double checking the transposing). The legal questions this year were more "exotic" but relatively easy to answer. The claims analysis part was better structured with fewer ambiguities than last year. Overall, the level of difficulty 2017 was similar if not lower than 2016, with serious improvements from the EPO (well done!) in the claims analysis. Fewer the ambiguities, easier the exam. I can only guess, but my feeling is that this year the pass rate will be higher or at least the same as in 2016.

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    Replies
    1. My experience was quite identical, great summary. I scored 90 points.

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    2. Anonymous on 9 March @ 13:38 - can I ask, did you do anything different in your preparation compared to 2016?

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    3. Yes, I took the claims analysis course with Roel at Deltapatents. I am a chemist and needed someone to help me understand the "electro-mechanical" aspects. My experience in chemistry (8 years EPO-Examiner) was rather counterproductive in the claims analysis in 2016.

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  22. Does anyone know rough timing of when the results will be available online?

    Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Last year they were published on 17.03.

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  23. ..so probably March 24, 2017.

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  24. I had this reply: "The results of the pre-examination 2017 will be made available by the end of March/beginning of April. You will be informed in due time of the exact sate"
    My opinion is that end of March/beginning of April is really too much, and at least they should publish the answers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And what if they are not sure for all the answers...? It appears that, although the Exam. Comittee did a better job this year, there are still some questions which are subject of debate. I agree it is too much, last year they gave the results on 17.03 and this year that would be 24.03. Or at least early next week.

      Tati

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    2. I did not receive any such email informing when the results will be made available. I had received an email earlier that said that EPO confirms that I had appeared for the pre-exam on 06-Mar. Did others also receive the email that Anonymous 21 March 2017 at 8:08 is referring to?

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    3. Sorry I meant email that Anonymous20 March 2017 at 16:27 is referring to.

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    4. Hi Tati, my opinion is the following:
      the logical way of preparing an exam, in particular a T/F exam, is that those who prepared the questions should also know the answers BEFORE the exam takes place, NOT AFTER!

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    5. @ JackDaniel: I sent an email, that's why I received this answer :)

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    6. Thanks for the clarification Anonymous21 March 2017 at 09:49 - I was a bit worried if I had already been put out of result process... :)

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    7. Broken toothbrush22 March 2017 at 23:53

      "You will be informed in due time of the exact [d]ate"

      To me this suggests that we will get an announcement of the date of the announcement of the results before we get an announcement of the actual results.

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  25. Broken toothbrush21 March 2017 at 09:10

    Will results be posted here

    https://www.epo.org/learning-events/eqe/statistics.html

    first?

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  26. Last year the results were published on a Thursday, so hoping it will be the same this year, which means we only have to wait a couple more days.

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  27. Fingers crossed for tomorrow - I don't think I can wait until end of March/beginning of April!!!

    Do they send an email or anything to let you know they are available online? Or you just have to constantly refresh the Results and Statistics page? ><

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  28. For the moment I constantly refresh the Results and Statistics page!!! :))

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    Replies
    1. elena me too. I feel it will not be today!

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  29. The reply I received
    "The online publication of the results will take place by the end of March/beginning of April. The result letters will follow. Candidates will receive in due time an email informing them of the exact date of publication."

    Tati

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  30. This really is a bit ridiculous. It should not take this long for the results to come out.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. Most exam boards publish the date the results will come out prior to the exam taking place. This waiting around just refreshing a page is unbelievable

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    2. Don't refresh the page in vain. We will be notified by email.

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    3. I hate my electric toothbrush27 March 2017 at 17:26

      @ anaonymous, I'm not sure we will. A colleague of mine who passed two years ago was told the same, i.e. "we will send an e-mail informing you of the intended date for publication of the results", but in the end he just received an e-mail saying the results are now available.

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  31. The Examiner's Report is available on the EQE Compendium website:

    http://documents.epo.org/projects/babylon/eponot.nsf/0/D5EAA4BE858F2350C12580F20031EB92/$File/ExReport_PreEx2017.pdf

    The answers that we posted for the legal part and the claims analysis part (see the seperate blogs) all agree with those in the Examiner's Report. Please refer to those blogs for the discussions on the various questions.

    The candidates' results are not yet available on the EQE webpages.

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    Replies
    1. Based on your experience from previous years, how long after the report are the results published?

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  32. Guys, the results are out!!!

    http://www.epo.org/learning-events/eqe/statistics.html

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!!!

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    2. See http://pre-exam.blogspot.nl/2017/03/pre-exam-2017-results.html : pass rate similar as the last two years: 76% of all 884 candidates that enrolled passed, which is 78% of all 860 that actually sat the pre-exam.

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