Thursday, 9 March 2017

C 2017: first impressions?

To all who sat the C-paper today:

What are your first impressions to this year's C-paper?
Any general or specific comments?

Was the number of claims as expected, or more, or less? And the number of prior art documents?
Were the various attack types well balanced - novelty, inventive step, added subject-matter, ...?
Was the described technology well understandable? For electronics/electricity attorneys, mechanics attorneys, chemists, biotech attorneys, ...?

How many marks do you expect to have scored?
What is your expectation of the pass rate and the average score?
How did this year's paper compare to the 2013 - 2016 papers (assuming your practiced those)

The paper and our answers

Copies of the paper will be provided on this blog as soon as we have received copies of the papers, in all three languages here (English, French and German).

The core of our answers will be given as soon as possible in a separate blog post.

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 03-03-2015 03:03"), 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 this blog.
Please post responses to our answer (as soon as available) to the separate blog post with our answer.



  1. I opposed claim 1 for lack of novelty because of A6, because I treated the spring as the part having pitch size different from the spiral part. However, I discussed with people after exam. They tend to believe this feature is disclosed not in A6, but in A2.

  2. I did :
    C1: A6+A2
    C2: A5+A6+A2
    C3(1): A6+A2
    C3(2): 123(2)
    C4: A6+A2+A3
    C5: not new A4
    C6: A4+A2
    C7: A4+A2

    1. I completely agree.

      Was a fair C part, but it was impossible to do with the CEIPI-Way. I was writing the full 5,5 hours. In the end my attacks became a bit thin due to the lack of time. I didn´t a full argumentation in regard of partial probles of C2 and C4 ... to time consuming ...

      C4 was a bit tricky, because you had to argue that the aesthetic design does not contribute, only the the technical features.

    2. I did exactly le the same, i feel better

    3. Same! Feeling better about this paper now.

      Another exam though where I was writing flat out right up to the final second. Those two partial problem arguments involved a lot of writing.

      Would have been very tough without the extra half hour!

    4. I really needed the extra 30 mins. I attacked the C2 and C4 with the correct documents but, did not argue in terms of partial problems, just the features are known from the other documents and the same problem is solved - no synergy discussion etc.
      I have no idea how many points will this cost, but I see a good chance that this was the first and last C paper I wrote.

    5. Exactly my solution.

    6. I did same but did C2 - A6+A2+A5. I'm not sure that the fact that C2 embodiment is described as requiring metal in A1 is relevant. I argued replacement of the spring of A6 with the arms of A5 which have the same purpose of reducing the pulling force required to remove the cork.

    7. I did 4 papers at home and ended writing to the last second with all of those. Today I was finished 7 min before end, just enough time to find all those hidden pages in the pile. For me, it was 7min extra time :)

    8. Hi
      The date of A4 is questionable. Many things that are disclosed in A4 were not viewable by the public. An example is
      the polyfluorocarbon coating.
      So A4 can only be seen as general knowledge. This would imply that A4 cannot be the CPA for an inventive step attack.
      Bur A4 can only be the second part of a combination of documents.

  3. Effective Dates
    Claims 1 to 4 are contained in the first priority document and thus entitled to the first priority date of April 8, 2010.

    Claims 5 to 7 are only contained in the second priority document and thus entitled to the second priority date of April 8, 2010.

    Lack of payment of the fees is irrelevant (A-III, 6.1 third §).

    Claim 3+ 2 has added subject matter (see below), and no date is assigned.

    List of Evidence
    A2, A3 and A5 are published before the earliest priority date and are prior art under 54(2). A6 is prior art under A.54(2) only for claims 5 to 7.

    Document A4 requires a discussion of the date.

    Claim 1: Inventive step A6 + A2

    There are two candidates for closest prior art: A5 and A6. Of these two A6 is the best choice. A6 is a device for removing corks and shares the purpose of providing an easier to use corkscrew. Moreover, A6 has many structural features in common; in particular it is the only document that discloses the housing providing an enclosed chamber having a generally cylindrical shape.

    Starting from A6 there is one distinguishing feature: the two different pitch sizes.

    The effect of this feature is to avoid cork breaks ([11], A1). The problem is thus to avoid cork breaks.

    A6 contains an incentive to this problem as it states that development of corkscrews is focused on optimising the helical element to optimise cork extraction ([1], A6).

    A2 is the only document disclosing the solution and the effect ([9], A2). Combination is easy as the extraction element is in metal in both cases.

    Claim 2: Inventive step A6 + A2 + A5

    This one is the hard one.

    Both A5 and A6 could be used as CPA. Both lack some important structural feature (housing with A5 as CPA and side arms with A6). With both CPA, a technical effect could be found for the distinguishing feature (less effort to remove the cork [5] with A6 as CPA and minimising the risk of injuries [6] with A5 as CPA).

    Distinguishing features are features of claim 2 (+ the one of claim 1, partial problems) which provide the effect of requiring less effort.

    Even if it leads to a slightly harder structural combination to start with A6, I have chosen this solution because A6 contains a pointer to the problem : [9] of A6 mentioning the issue of providing an easier removal of the cork. A5 does not contain such pointer.

    Claim 3: Inventive step A6 + A2

    Feature already disclosed by A6.

    Claim 4: Inventive step A6 + A2 + A3

    The flower form has an aesthetic and technical function (G-II, 3.4). A3 was the only document disclosing the effect ([9]).

    Claim 5: Novelty A4

    A2 ([6]) was disclosing that the Polyfluorocarbons are friction reducing compounds.

    Claim 6: Inventive step A4 + A2

    A2 is the only document disclosing the effect ([5][6]).

    Claim 7: Inventive step A4 + A2

    A2 is the only document disclosing the solution ([5]).

    1. I don't agree fo C2, since A6 is not in metal and C2 has to be metallic. I chose A5

    2. For C2, a pointer for A5 as closest prior art would be easier lifting of the cork (or any other effect related to the presence of the side arms). A combination with A6 I made based on the indication in both A1 and A6 that a housing providing an enclosed chamber prevents injury.

  4. The Person that sold the corkscrew of A4 was the Inventor of A1. That didn´t matter (no application, no effect on priority). I didn´t realize this and thus saved time - this seems odd, normaly ýou are punished if you miss something.

    1. I noticed that as well. The only way I could see it as being relevant is that it probably wouldn't be a great idea to call him as a witness? I used Mr Crysta instead and noted that it being the inventor in Oporto lent weight to the disclosed corkscrew being the same as in the priority document filed the next day.

    2. yep, I offered the inventor as witness and went "ouch" afterwards.
      the anon of above.

    3. Well, I did bother to put some arguments why I would not consider the fair as harmless disclosure. In order to be non-prejudicial, a few conditions would have to be fulfilled.

      First of all, the one making the disclosure must be somehow related to the applicant of A1.
      But actually the only thing we knew for sure is that the fair guy mentioned in A4 is male (Mr.) and had the same surname as A1's inventor. No proof that it's actually the same guy. The surname seems to be like Miller or Smith in Portugal... so that one is at least doubtable.

      Second, the fair must be less than 6 months before filing. This one would be fulfilled.

      But third, some fair certificate should have been provided by the applicant. And the documents did not contain any hint that this was done. And therefore I stated that I count the fair as regular prior art under 54(2).

  5. I was unsure about the flower: in A1 it is the plurality of petals that have a technical effect, but those are not in the claim. The claim states flower-like and there also those weird red or white one petal flowers (name unknown) that certainly would not have a better grip. Therefore I argued twice, once for lack of technical effect (but not very deep) and the other with technical effect using A3.

  6. For Claim 1 i chose A6 for novlety attack. Though two sized of pitches not literally disclosed, the fact that A6 did mention in [0001], that during recent years the development of corkscews has focused on optimizing the helical element (A1 [0002]). By modifying existing shapes is sought to optimize cork extraction, I argued that modifying existing shapes can be construed as routine testing wherein two different pitches will neccessarily occur (modifying existing shapes) and thus claim 1 is not novel over A6. - It was the sole attack I could figure out, as A2 was not referring to at leat two different pitch sizes.

    Hope this will work

    1. I'd say that while not literally having two different pitch sizes, A2 did at least say that the upper half had fewer windings than the lower half, and if "half" is taken to mean "half of the total length", that means two equally-long halves have a different number of windings, i.e. the windings are spaced-apart further in the bit with the fewer windings, but closer in the bit with more windings.

  7. I did for c2 A6+A2+A5 but also A5+A6+A2 which I think is the correct one but I realized later and kept for the end. I presented the second attack as alternative to the first one: will they penalize me?

  8. From the comments above I am not reassured. My attacks were:

    C1: Novelty A2. Novelty A6
    C2: A5+A2
    C3+1: Novelty A6. I.S. A5+A6+A2
    C3+2: A123
    C4: A2+A3
    C5: Novelty A4, Novelty A5 (if I remember right.
    C6: A4+A2
    C7: A2+A4

    Anyone have anything similar?

  9. This was an unusual paper C. Just one novelty attack (claim 5), no Art 54(3) prior art (IMHO). However, I ask myself: Was it *really* necessary to put floral ornaments into the figure of A2? This cost me at least 10 minutes in the exam, pondering a possible novelty attack. Is Examination Committee II mocking us?

  10. I dont remember all of mine (and didn't want to go and get my stuff from the car after reading the above) but I had novelty of c1 with a2 and a6 (well I think I did inventive step over a2 as I thought a2 disclosed straight or helical, not straight and helical).
    I started off not feeling too bad as I read the stuff and made notes.. I thought there were some pointers, but then coming to choose the CPA I couldn't choose between them! I did additional brief attacks where I could, which might have made it worse and highlighted that I didn't know the CPA! Argg!

    1. Was the clover of a3 supposed to be the cover leaf, which is lobed.. Or the cover flower which is not.. And then if it's the leaf it's not a flower, so not quite so easily to take across to the other document

  11. my handwriting became pretty messed up at the end of the exam. Has anyone an idea how they dead with it in terms of missing points.

    1. I've heard EPO will send the parts of the exam to you that they don't find legible, and ask you to re-write before marking.


    2. This is surely not going to happen. If your writing is not legible, they will try to find out what you wanted to write, but if it's truly not legible, it'll be zero points.

  12. Claim 2 a conundrum - did A5 +A2 and argued that the arms/rims of the A5 corkscrew (5a,b & c)surrounding the spiral extraction element can be interpreted as an enclosed chamber (this term is not defined anywhere so took the broadest interpretation). Any comment ?

    1. did the same; I argued that the two rings and the two side parts together form a roughly cylindrical chamber, so A5+A2 killed claim 2. Actually because claim 1 is broader than claim 2, I used the same combination A5+A2 against claims 1 and 3(1). To be on the safe side (and because there are no negative points), I also argued A6+A2 against claims 1 and 3(1). But I had no second attack against claim 2. Hope it'll be worth a few points at least.