EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Notice from the Examination Secretariat for the European qualifying examination - Registration pursuant to Rule 28 of the Implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination
In accordance with Article 11(1) of the Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE) and Rule 28 of the Implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination (IPREE), candidates intending to enrol for the European qualifying examination (EQE) for the first time must register once they have commenced their professional activity within the meaning of Article 11(2) REE.
Candidates are expected to register in due time once they have started the relevant professional activity. It will however also be possible to register periods of professional activity completed in the past, by using the relevant form.
The current REE and IPREE are available on the EQE website (www.epo.org/eqe).
Registration is currently free of charge.
A request for registration pursuant to Rule 28 IPREE will not be deemed to have been filed until all relevant supporting documents have been received.
II. Registration process
1. Web portal access
Requests for registration can only be filed via the EQE web portal, carefully following the instructions given there. This web portal is available on the EQE website: www.epo.org/eqe.
To be able to register, candidates must first create a user account.
Before accessing the web portal, candidates should make sure that all required documents (see point 3) are readily available.
2. Upload of documents
After submission of data, candidates will receive an overview of their data in the form of a PDF document. Candidates must print and sign this overview and upload it together with all relevant supporting documents (see point 3).
For this purpose, a link will be available at the end of the registration process. The same link will be sent to the candidates' registered email address. The link will be active for ten days.
Candidates are strongly recommended to upload all documents without delay.
3. Supporting evidence
Candidates need to submit the following documents:
- the signed overview of the online registration (available at the end of the registration process)
- a certified copy of the valid ID or passport
- certified copies of the academic qualification(s) (diploma certificate(s) and transcript of records)
- certificate of training or employment, signed by the trainer/employer and candidate
- where applicable, proof of epi student membership
- any other relevant documentation (e.g. concerning remission of the period of professional activity)
The Examination Secretariat may request additional documents or information.
Where applicable, documents must be certified by a professional representative before the EPO (Article 134 EPC). They can also be certified by a competent national authority in an EPC contracting state.
All documents should be scanned and uploaded as PDF documents via the link provided. The certificate of training and employment must be signed by the relevant persons and must also be uploaded.
Where an uploaded document is illegible or incomplete, that part of it which is illegible or incomplete will be deemed not to have been received. If an uploaded document is infected with a computer virus or contains other malicious software, it will be deemed to be illegible. The EPO is not obliged to receive, open or process it.
Receipt of uploaded documents will be acknowledged automatically by email once the upload is completed. Filing of documents in paper form is not required and will not be taken into consideration.
4. Scientific or technical qualifications
Candidates are referred to Article 11(1)(a) REE and Rules 11 to 14 IPREE.
With regard to Rule 11(2) IPREE, a transcript of records for a candidate's degree must be provided to prove that at least 80% of the course hours taken were devoted to scientific and/or technical subjects. Where available, candidates should also submit an ECTS Transcript of Records.
Should a candidate possess a degree, diploma or certificate from an educational establishment in a non-contracting state, he must provide an official document from a competent authority in one of the contracting states attesting that this degree, diploma or certificate is equivalent to a degree as mentioned in Rule 11 IPREE. Candidates should be aware that obtaining such an official document may take some time.
5. Professional activity
5.1 Type of professional activity
(a) With regard to Article 11(2)(a)(i) REE, the candidate's training supervisor must have been entered on the list of professional representatives before the EPO (Article 134 EPC) for the entire duration of the candidate's period of training.
(b) With regard to Article 11(2)(a)(ii) REE, the certificate of employment alone does not fulfil the requirements. Candidates must demonstrate that they have started to actively represent their employer, within the framework of a general authorisation or single authorisations (Article 133(3) EPC), before the EPO in a wide range of proceedings relating to European patents and patent applications.
(c) The eight-month training period with the German patent authorities does not constitute a period of professional activity as defined in Article 11(2)(a) REE. This constitutes an interruption of the training period according to Article 11(2)(a) REE which must be communicated in a timely manner to the Examination Secretariat. In this case a request for remission (Rule 16(3) IPREE) is possible, which is usually filed with the application for enrolment to the main examination.
(d) Candidates who perform the duties of a patent examiner at the EPO must submit a certificate available on the EPO intranet.
(e) Only professional activity over a minimum period of three months with at least 50% part-time involvement will be considered.
In this context candidates and their trainers are reminded of their duty to inform the Examination Secretariat of any changes in their professional activity.
5.2 Remission of the period of professional activity – Article 11(5) REE and Rule 16(1) IPREE
The following courses (completed during certain academic years) are recognised according to Rule 16(1) IPREE:
- "Diplôme d'études internationales de la propriété industrielle ("cycle long")" from CEIPI in Strasbourg
- "Advanced Master in Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management" from Maastricht University
The relevant academic years are published in the Announcement of the European qualifying examination.
Candidates will be informed in writing of the Examination Secretariat's decision on their request for registration.
Candidates must undertake to inform the Examination Secretariat without delay of any changes to the information provided by them, notably with regard to their professional activity.
III. Additional information
Candidates who have already been admitted to the EQE (pre- or main examination) do not have to register.
Candidates are advised to regularly consult the EQE website. Please refer to the frequently asked questions (www.epo.org/learning-events/eqe/faq.html) before contacting the Examination Secretariat.
1. Contact details of candidates
Candidates must supply correct and complete contact data in order to guarantee timely communication. When using a business address, the company's name must be clearly indicated.
Candidates must also supply a personal email address to enable the Examination Secretariat to dispatch important information. Candidates are reminded that the acknowledgement of receipt of their registration will only be sent to this email address. Candidates are obliged to inform the Examination Secretariat of any changes in their contact details to ensure receipt of important letters.
Correspondence not received due to candidates' failure to update their contact details will nonetheless be deemed to have been received.
Candidates are advised that matters relating to the EQE are of a personal nature and that registration should not be entrusted to third parties. It is the responsibility of individual candidates to ensure that their complete request for registration is received.
2. Information on data protection
Candidates' personal data will be processed fairly and lawfully, for the sole and predefined purpose of conducting the EQE and in particular:
- registration and enrolment for the EQE
- payment of the prescribed fees for the EQE
- creation and maintenance of files
- appeal procedure
- administration of answer papers and marking procedure
- publication of EQE results and statistics.
Relevant data may be passed on to the EPO finance department and external service providers for the sole purpose of processing payments. The data will not however be passed on to any other third parties apart from those involved in the above processes.