Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The results are in!

As most candidates will already know, the EPO has changed its way of communicating the results of the EQE. Instead of a secure website where every candidate can find his own results after entering a password, they decided to make all results public. On the EPO-website you can find all results of all EQE candidates of 2010. Click here for all results.

And of course, we are exploiting this opportunity to do some statistical analysis. The first results for the C paper:
  • 1490 candidates handed in an answer and scored 1 mark or more
  • 735 candidates (49.3%) scored below 45
  • 167 candidates (11.2%) scored between 45 and 49
  • 588 candidates (39.5%) scored 50 or more. Congratulations to them!
  • The average number of marks was 45.

    (statistics updated on August 4, 2011)

    1. It will certainly be very interesting to see the examiner's report. I thought I did my best C paper ever in 2010 (I scored 42 in 2008), but I ended up with 32 point this year. It will be very interesting to see what route the C comittee wanted us to follow this year... Obviously not mine...
      I am actually getting pretty fed up with the A, B and C papers, since they have absolutely nothing to do with patents. Rather, they are a test on how well you are able to foresee how the exam comittees wants you to solve them. One "false" choice of CPA (i.e. a choice of CPA not desired by the comittee), and you have wasted 6 hours and a whole year.
      D is a fair, however hard, paper to pass. The other comittees should learn from the D comittee, and start to measure actual knowledge, rather than the ability to foresee desired attacks!

    2. I can very, very well understand your disappointment because your comment is exactly what I said after I got my miserable results in 2008 and 2009 although I was so well prepared. I spent hundreds of hours of preparation. Parts A, B and C, especially part C, seemed to be a lottery to me. Once you win, once you lose.

      However, I managed to learn from my mistakes and got an excellent result (>80 points) this year. I have to withdraw my opinion that part C is a lottery. In the end, I have to say that I learnt a lot from the preparation of the EQE. Don't lose heart!

    3. Anonymous 2 - congratulations, great score;

      Anonymous 1 - sorry for you, but don't lose heart, but also try to learn from the errors for next year

      My tips to you (as someone who failed C in 2009 but passed in 2010):-

      1. Take the DeltaPatents C methodology course, or if you cannot, at least buy the book if possible? The course helped me as a resitter.

      2. Have an honest assessment of your papers, either by yourself or if possible from a tutor. Did you finish it? If not you can't expect to get marks for what you didn't do. If you only make 3/4 of the paper, then you need to get 66% correct to get 50 points. Much harder.

      Be ruthless and brutally honest with yourself. The Examiners model answer is not yet known, but there is a pretty thorough stab at one at the EQE Forum/wiki etc, look at the differences between what you did and these 'model' answers that appear soon.

      For instance, who well did you deal with the following topics in the paper?

      The priority issue + and hence effective dates
      Added matter query?
      Notice that the DIV was filed after EPC 2000?
      What effect does that have?
      Alternatives in claim 4 (and hence claim 5)
      Ranges and novel selections (or not as the case may be)

      These seemed to be the main topics to grasp, of course if you get the priority wrong, then you can screw up the whole paper.

      Then there was the bones of the paper, which although having long documents (even A1 was large) made the analysis lengthy, was not so hard really. Even ceramic was only mentioned in a single document so you knew it was either a novelty hit or the CPA for the 3 ceramic objects of claims 4-6.

      This year there was (i think) no closest prior art change, which is unusual, but if you chose the correct CPA for claim 1, it didn't change for claims 2 and 3, same for claims 4 and 5 plastics.

      Did you get the right CPA? If not why not?
      Did you see the more difficult A.54(3) novelty hit for claim 1?

      3. Thinking the C Paper is a lottery is 180 degrees incorrect. It is actually the the most forgiving paper out of them all (because D depends a lot on DII where you can make a wrong choice early and lose the whole paper; and A&B can start off on the wrong track which means you then waste your time).

      You need to treat it a bit like a puzzle, you are given every bit of information required to make 100 points.

      anyway good luck for the future

    4. Dear anonymous 3.

      This posting is from anonymous 1...

      I have taken the Deltapatents C course, and use their methodology. I finished the paper. I handled the priority issues correctly. And the added matter. I did, however, make a mistake regarding A1 being governed by EPC2000. I handled both alternatives in claims 4 and 5. And the ranges and selections.

      I did not change CPA for claims 1 to 3.

      I scored 32 points.

      My only explanation (I have not seen the Examiner's report yet)is that my choice of CPA was not correct; I used A1 as CPA. Having discussed the matter with colleagues that were awarded a "pass" grade, I know that A5 was the "correct" CPA.

      Hence, I made a one wrong early choice, and that made me loose the entire paper. In my opinion, that's a lottery (most years, all attacks starting with the "wrong" CPA are reqarded 0 marks - However, the choice of CPA is not objective; in real life, the choice of CPA is frequently discussed. Many oppositions also demonstrate inventive step attacks on different CCPA, but there is no time for multiple attacks during a C examination).

    5. Hi Anonymous 1/4

      I do feel for you, but you have to get out of the mindset of mixing real life with exams. The Examiners want ONE CPA, and only ONE, and give sufficent hints to help you make the correct choice - you have to play their game

      The exam is a puzzle, but you are given all the information needed to arrive at the correct answer.

      I think the A5 or A1 as CPA was discussed on the EQE forum/wiki in great detail, so i point you there if you are 'still' puzzled why A5 is what the examiners wanted

      If i remember, A1 was basically the same as A5, but A5 had the article made explicity from plastic, and A1 didn't. All the other salient points were the same.

      I know we are under time pressure, and in real life you may want to argue from both documents, but in the exam which doc do you think the Examiners expect as the best starting point for the skilled person? The one that in addition to everything else discloses a plastic article, the same as the claim.

      You even have a sanity check in the exam if you have time - if i go from A1 as CPA, i now have 'plastic' as an extra difference, is there a problem this solves from A1? I don't think so...Can i find it as a solution in another annex? No? then i should probably make the attack starting from the document that has the extra feature, which leads to a much more coherent attack.

      I wish you all the best for next year, maybe DeltaPatents will mark and critique your paper for you... but honestly, even with the Claims 1-3 CPA mistake, it didn't cost you 68 marks. It only cost 3 attacks out of 9

    6. Hi Anonymous1!

      Here is Anonymous2 again:

      1. Starting from a prior art disclosed in A1 is rather strange and has never been required in the EQEs of the last 15 years. I know that this is only a weak argument.

      2. What counts even more is that the prior art given in A1 could in principle be an internal prior art. There is absolutely no hint in A1 when the embodiment has been published.

      3. The next convincing argument is that there is no effect mentioned with regard to the "plastic" feature which is not disclosed in A1. Since you never have to think up an effect yourself in the EQE, how would you be able to provide an argumentation according to the P&S-approach?

      4. Finally, the most important argument is that A5 discloses one feature more than A1, namely the plastic feature.

      => As you see, there are four reasons which should have prevented your from using A1 as the CPA.
      Within the EQE, the closest prior art can indeed be determined on an objective level. So, learn the rules and follow them. Otherwise, you will fail next year again.

    7. Interesting discussion. It's true that the exam is not a real life situation, but I don't think that that is a problem. In the exam they don't try to test whether you are able to kill all claims. That is your task in a real opposition, but in the exam you already know that the claims are not patentable.

      The EQE tests whether you are able to apply the law, to find arguments and to determine which arguments are the strongest. In real life I would certainly do the attack starting from A1. However, also in real life, it is important to see that the attack starting from A5 is stronger. Your client would not like to lose the opposition because you forgot to do the strongest possible attack.

      Of course, we can have long discussion about how many marks should be awarded for an 'incorrect' but possible or nearly possible attack. Usually the exam committee has other opinions about what amount of marks would be reasonable than the candidate.

      In this situation, you will probably miss all marks for reasoning the closest prior art and arguing that it discloses a lot of claim features.
      I expect, however, that you can still get a lot of marks for this A1+A2 attack. You will probably get marks for those arguments that are the same as for the correct attack (effect of missing feature, objective technical problem, reason for reading A2, finding the feature in A2, finding the reason for combining, discussing the combination).
      For claims 2 and 3, I would probably give you all marks (provided that you use the right documents and arguments of course).

      If after reading the compendium (still not available) you have the opinion that they should have awarded you a substantial amount of additional marks for the first three attack, I would certainly be interested in correcting your work. We are continuously trying to find out how the exam committee corrects your papers. The better we know how the exam committee is thinking, the better we can help you with passing next time.