Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Some statistics on EQE 2013 Paper C

Total number of candidates with a mark higher than 0: 1202

                                       #       %
Fail (1-44)                       536  44.6
Compensable fail (45-49)  142  11.8
Pass (50-100)                  524  43.6
[slight change compared to our original version where we, by mistake, had the figure of pass at 678 instead of 524].

The pass rate is significantly higher than in 2012 (went up from 33.1% to 43.6%).

Average mark: 47.0
Highest mark:   88

Distribution of marks:

Jelle Hoekstra (thanks to Joeri Beetz for supplying the data)


  1. I have scored 85. Yeah Suck on that.

  2. You have no idea on the specific conditions and circumstances of other people.
    Qualified (not in 2013)

    1. Ok, I cancle the wording "suck on that"

      But specific conditions and circumstances?

      Is it too much if the people are asked to do the former exams. With respect to the survey a lot of people write that the had less time for preparation, etc. To be honest I started more than two years in advance doing legal questions (at the beginning only half a hour a day), because I wanted to know why things are the way they are. I wanted to know what the problem solution approach is and how it works, because I need it in nearly every official action. The same also applies to the general proceedings before the EPO. Thus, I cannot understand how a person will have success in this job (before the EPO) if he or she starts to read the EPC three month before the exam for the first time. How will you have success in oral proceedings (examining division or opposition division) without knowing those basic things which are asked in the papers?

      I mean if you don't have time for this than it is better to go back to your old job. Every one of us has a technical background and it is also clear that not every technican likes writing and reading bunch of papers all day long. But I personally believe that a significant number of candidates choose this job only by its reputation and payment without having the slightest interest in solving legal problems.

      So I ask you, what should the committee do? Should the lower the bar so that every one passes who did a quick look in the law despite the fact that they may represent their own clients (not own company) in the future? If you think so, you might be happy to know that they already did that. In former years you had to understand at least two of the official languages in order to pass paper C. Twenty years ago you had to understand all three languages. In former years you had to deal with more documents in paper C which resulted in more combination possibilities. In former exams you had to choose the new distinctive feature by yourself in paper B. Now even this is done for you. And no, I was none of those straight-A students back in high school, but you can have success if you work continuously (except paper A for which you need also a lucky day).

      Thus I believe that the exam is really fair and necessary and I would even have said that if I had failed. And please don’t blame the people working for the committee. They do a really good job.

    2. I agree with some of your statements... No doubt that there should be an exam. I personally get 84 for C this time, but I failed last year.

      I think that there are several artificial difficulties that are not representative of real life work... this is mainly that each and every change in wording should be justified (i.e. Nylon is polyamide for example, or, last year, you had to justify that a three layer patch is a multilayer patch). Just by paying attention to such details I got 40 points more this year than last year. In real life, I would not justify such wording changes... Would the patentee contest that nylon is polyamide, he would loose any credibility... Examiners are human beings: they don't like you consider them as dummies!

      I successfully passed AB and D on the first try, I think C is the most artificial, and that everyday practice does not help passing this exam.

  3. From Anonymous of July 17:

    1) Congratulations are in order, 85 is a great grade in which luck had very little or no part

    2) I do not advocate dumbing down the exam - which arguably may have happened this year considering the results

    3) In particular, claim amendments are essential - these are crucial before the ED, OD or BoA, especially in OPs - and yet the EQE has now a token amendment matter - 'fit to practice' must include amendments, I'd say

    4) In particular, 2 languages in C is an equalizer for all of us who do not have an EPC mother tongue, so I strongly support having them back

    5) I have been in a couple of recent OPs where the representative resorted to attacking the technical ability of the OD - I agree with you, the EQE does (should) teach you better... (don't fight the exam, they say)

    6) The circumstances I mentioned are not those of lack of preparation - there was a mother breast feeding during my 7h D paper, a friend who just had a death in the family, a colleague who paid all the costs and courses by herself and was saving money on food...

    7) You are totally entitled to feel euphoric, you deserve so! I'll have a drink for your professional success.

  4. Confusious says:
    How can 536 candidates amount to 44.6% when 678 candidates, which is a higher number, are accounted for as 43.6% (i.e. less than 44.6%)?
    Why have 1202 candidates more than 0 Points, and why are there 1356 candidates if you add up the numbers in the three categories ?
    Confusious wonders . . .

    1. Cut-and-paste error. The 678 (536+142) is the number of candidates that scored below 50. For 50-100 the number is 524, which corresponds to 43.6%.

  5. Joeri, I hope that Marcus can forgive you for such a basic error and allow you to remain in the patent profession ;-p

    Seriously: thank you for providing your analysis of the results. I am surprised by the higher pass rate than 2012; although I failed 2012 with 41 marks with what I thought (think) was a fairly good answer paper. Having passed 2013, perhaps there is an argument that 2013 was easier. Certainly less documents and claim combinations to deal with; and less time (with which I struggled).

    Perhaps the lower pass rate in 2012 also led to an increased percentage of resitters in 2013? As a resitter I know that I prepared much better for paper C second time round.

    Although the language element of the exam would have suited me, I cannot see how this would be fairer on candidates with none of EN, DE or FR as mother tongue. Sitting the exams in one non-native language is already enough of a disadvantage. Besides, although Examiners are required to be proficient in multiple languages, patent attorneys often draft, prosecute, oppose, etc EP patents/applications in only one of EN, DE or FR. The Exams are intended for patent attorneys and I think that the previous language requirement represented an unrealistic (and unnecessary) restriction.

    The Exams are intended to ensure European Patent Attorneys are fit to practice. You do not NEED to be be proficient in multiple languages to be a good patent attorney. Yes, it can be helpful and save on translation costs and speed up some processes, but it is not necessary. I am probably no more liklely to win an opposition because I can speak French, English and German than a monolingual better patent attorney.

    I agree that the exams should not be dumbed down and that identifying amendments is an essential everyday skill that should not have been substantially removed from paper B. If there are problems with the numbers of candidates passing the EQEs, such as shortages of EPAs in particular countries, then perhaps there should be more of a focus on improving training? For example, making a training course or a Praktika Intern compulsory?

  6. I agree with another contributor, this is a very artificial exam actually and it has been transformed, years after years, in a kind of competition and not a professional exam. For example, it seems a bit weird the best candidate has only 88 marks and not almost 100, it would make more sense. I think it would be a good thing to compare the american and european system.

  7. Every year, tutors from DeltaPatents, CEIPI, epi etc meet with the EQE committees to discuss the EQE 2013 papers, and to get a sense of any changes or improvements we can expect in 2014.

    The report is available on the EQE Forum:
    Please feel free to forward it to any fellow candidates for 2014.

    Note that the comments on the EQE2013 and on the expected EQE2014 papers are combined, because the Committees more or less indicated that they will continue in this way. So it would be better to only read everything after doing the 2013 papers.

    The "Tutor's report on the EQE2013 exam papers" is also published in epi information 4/2013, page 143 ff: