EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE
Announcement of the European qualifying examination 2023 - Pre-examination and main examination
The current Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE) and its Implementing provisions (IPREE) are available on the European qualifying examination (EQE) website (eqe.org).
Candidates are advised that matters relating to the EQE are of a personal nature and that enrolment and payment of fees should not be entrusted to third parties. It is their individual responsibility to ensure that their application and payment are received in due time.
Candidates register and enrol for an examination via their personal "myEQE" account. Here, they can access important documents such as the communication of their EQEReg number, admission letters, copies of their answers and result letters. They can also update their postal address and change their password and security question.
Candidates are advised to regularly consult the EQE website. Please refer to the frequently asked questions (epo.org/learning-events/eqe/faq.html) before contacting the Examination Secretariat.
The EQE 2023 will be held online and can be taken at any suitable location chosen by the candidate.
1. Compulsory registration
Candidates must register once they have commenced their professional training (Article 11(2) REE).
Enrolment for the pre-examination 2023 is only possible for candidates who registered by 15 January 2022 at the latest (see Notice of the Examination Secretariat, OJ EPO 2018, A99).
Candidates who have already been admitted to the EQE (pre-examination or main examination) are already registered and therefore do not need to register again even if they have not yet sat an examination paper.
2. Dates of the pre-examination and the main examination and deadlines for enrolment
To ensure a smooth enrolment procedure for the EQE, candidates are reminded of the strict application of the closing dates for enrolment. Articles 121 and 122 EPC do not apply.
Any request under Rule 17 IPREE, including the supporting evidence, must be filed before the applicable deadline for enrolment.
2.1 Date of the pre-examination and enrolment deadline
The pre-examination will be held on 17 March 2023.
Registered candidates may enrol from 1 February until 16 May 2022. After 16 May 2022, it will not be possible to apply for enrolment for the pre-examination 2023.
2.2 Dates of the main examination and enrolment deadline
The main examination will be held on the following dates:
7 March 2023 – Paper D
9 March 2023 – Paper A
14 March 2023 – Paper B
16 March 2023 – Paper C
Candidates may enrol from 4 April until 5 September 2022. After 5 September 2022, it will not be possible to apply for enrolment for the main examination 2023.
3. Payment of fees
Fees relating to the EQE may only be paid by credit card or bank transfer. If the prescribed fees are not validly paid, the application for enrolment will be deemed not to have been filed.
Candidates are strongly recommended to pay by credit card as this will ensure swift payment. Payments by bank transfer are considered to have been made on the date on which the amount of the transfer is actually entered in the bank account held by the EPO (see Article 7 of the Rules relating to Fees). Candidates are reminded that a bank transfer may take time and it is therefore not recommended as a payment method shortly before the relevant deadline ends. Late receipt of payment will lead to the application being rejected.
It is entirely the candidates' responsibility to ensure that the fees are paid in due time. Candidates are strongly advised not to entrust the payment of fees to third parties and to proceed with the payment of the fees in due time to ensure that they are received by the EPO by the relevant closing date.
The application will not be processed until the payment has been received.
The EPO does not issue invoices relating to EQE fees. A confirmation of payment will be made available in myEQE once the application has been processed. The confirmation will be made out to the candidate's contact address.
At any time up to the official start of an individual paper, candidates may withdraw from that paper or any subsequent papers by email to email@example.com,indicating their EQEReg number.
Candidates may also withdraw from an examination paper by not taking it on the day. If an examination paper consists of several parts, only not taking all those parts will be considered a withdrawal from that examination paper. If, however, candidates log in to one or more parts of the examination paper and thereby gain access to all or parts of it (to view online or for printing), they will be considered to have taken the whole of that examination paper.
If the Examination Secretariat is informed of the withdrawal no later than 31 December 2022, the examination fees paid for taking the paper(s) concerned will be refunded. However, the enrolment fee is not refundable. No fees will be refunded in the case of a later withdrawal or a withdrawal due to not taking the examination paper on the day.
II. Enrolment process
1. Online access
Applications must be filed online via myEQE: eqe.org/EQEASy/candidate/auth/login
After submission of data, candidates will receive an acknowledgement of receipt at the email address specified and an overview of their enrolment in the form of a PDF document as proof of their application. Once the application has been processed, candidates will be informed by email that their admission letter is available on myEQE.
2. Professional activity
2.1 Required periods of professional activity
Candidates wishing to enrol for the pre-examination for the first time must have completed a total period as defined in Article 11(2)(a) REE of at least two years by 17 March 2023.
Candidates who have passed the pre-examination and wish to enrol for the main examination for the first time must at the date of the examination have completed a total period as defined in Article 11(2)(a) REE of at least three years.
With their application, candidates declare that the information they have provided is true and accurate and, in particular, that they will have completed the required period of professional activity by the date of the examination.
In this context candidates and their trainers are reminded of their duty to inform the Examination Secretariat of any changes in professional activity.
2.2 Remission of the period of professional activity – Article 11(5) REE and Rule 16 IPREE
The following courses are recognised for the purposes of Rule 16(1) IPREE:
- "Diplôme d'études internationales de la propriété industrielle ("cycle long")" from CEIPI in Strasbourg (academic years 2008/2009, 2011/2012 and subsequent years until 2021/2022).
- "Advanced Master in Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management" from Maastricht University (academic years 2010/2011 and subsequent years until 2021/2022).
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. It 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 can be filed with the application for enrolment for the main examination.
2.3 EPO examiners
Candidates who by 17 March 2023 will have performed the duties of a patent examiner at the EPO for at least three years full-time may enrol for the pre-examination.
Candidates who have passed the pre-examination and wish to enrol for the main examination for the first time, will at the date of the examination have to have performed the duties of a patent examiner at the EPO for at least four years full-time.
3. Choice of papers
Candidates must indicate which paper(s) they intend to sit (Article 15 REE). Candidates may only re-sit paper(s) which they have not passed (Article 16(1) REE). If a candidate re-sits a paper, any marks and grade previously obtained for that paper will no longer be valid (Rule 6(5) IPREE).
4. Fees - Rules 7 and 8 IPREE
The basic fee is EUR 200.
(a) Fees relating to the EQE may only be paid by credit card or bank transfer. It is not possible to pay the fees by debiting an EPO deposit account.
(b) The fee for an application for enrolment is equal to the basic fee. This fee is not refundable, even if the application is rejected.
(c) The fee for sitting the pre-examination paper and each of the main examination papers is equal to the basic fee.
(d) Fees cannot be transferred or reassigned to a future examination.
4.1 Fee increments
Pursuant to Rule 8(2) IPREE, fee increments apply as of the examination year 2010. Their calculation is based on the examination papers sat in 2010 or thereafter.
The fee increase will also apply to candidates who did not withdraw from a specific paper and were deemed to have sat that paper.
All correspondence will be conducted in electronic form only, via myEQE. Personal communications relating to the EQE are available in myEQE and can be accessed there at any time. Candidates will be informed by email when new documents become available.
Candidates must supply correct and complete contact data in order to guarantee timely communication. Candidates are advised to supply a personal email address as important information will be sent only to this email address.
Candidates must undertake to inform the Examination Secretariat without delay of any changes to the information they have provided, notably with regard to their email address and professional activity.
III. Information on data protection
All data of a personal nature that identifies candidates directly or indirectly will be processed lawfully, fairly and with due care. The data protection statement is available on the EQE website, eqe.org.