OJ EPO 2016, A108 - Notice of the Examination Secretariat of the European qualifying examination - Registration pursuant to Rule 28 of the Implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination

I. General

By decision of the Supervisory Board of the European qualifying examination of 26 March 2016, Rule 28 of the Implementing provisions to the Regulation on the European qualifying examination (IPREE) entered into force on 1 April 2016.

In accordance with Article 11(1) of the Regulation on the European qualifying examination (REE), candidates intending to enrol for the European qualifying examination (EQE) for the first time must register once they have commenced their professional activities or employment as defined in Article 11(2) REE.

For the purposes of Article 11(2) REE, only such periods of professional activity are taken into account as have been accumulated after registration pursuant to Rule 28(1) IPREE. The maximum period of previous professional activity as defined in Article 11(2) REE which can be taken into account is limited to two months on condition that such period occurred immediately before the date of registration.

Articles 121 and 122 EPC do not apply.

The current REE and IPREE are available on the website of the European qualifying examination (www.epo.org/eqe).

1. Transitional period

During the transitional period until 31 March 2017 candidates may request any previous period of professional activity as defined in Article 11(2) REE to be taken into account without any limitation as to time.

Registration is free of charge during the transitional period.

2. Registration date

The following provisions apply after the transitional period has expired.

A request for registration pursuant to Rule 28(3) IPREE will not be deemed to have been filed until after the prescribed fees have been paid and all relevant supporting documents have been received.

The date on which both requirements are fulfilled is considered to be the date of registration. From the date of registration, a maximum of two months' professional activity as defined in Article 11(2) REE can be taken into account retroactively.

3. Payment of fees

Registration is subject to fees only once the transitional period has expired.

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. If the prescribed fees are not validly paid, the request for registration will be deemed not to have been filed.

Candidates are strongly recommended to pay by credit 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.

Payment of the fees is entirely the responsibility of the candidate. Candidates are strongly advised not to entrust the payment of fees to third parties.

The request for registration will only be processed once the payment is received.

II. Registration process

1. Web portal access

Requests for registration can only be filed via the web portal of the EQE, following carefully the instructions contained therein. This web portal is available on the EQE website: www.epo.org/eqe.

Candidates must first create a user account to be able to register.

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 registered email address of the candidates. The link will be active for ten days.

To ensure the earliest possible registration date, all documents must be uploaded 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)
  • 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, signed by the trainer and candidate
  • where applicable, proof of epi student membership
  • any other relevant documentation (e.g. concerning remission of the training period)

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.

The Examination Secretariat may request additional documents or information.

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 record 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 are recognised according to 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 2017/2018).
  • "Advanced Master in Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management" from Maastricht University (academic years 2010/2011 and subsequent years until 2016/2017).

6. 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 registration and enrolment is equal to the basic fee. This fee is under no circumstances refundable.

(c) During the transitional period registration is free of charge.

7. Communications

Candidates will be informed in writing of the decision of the Examination Secretariat concerning 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 and the payment of fees should not be entrusted to third parties. It is the responsibility of individual candidates to ensure that their complete request for registration, including payment, is received in due time.

2. Confirmation of payment

The EPO does not issue invoices relating to EQE fees. A confirmation of payment will however be sent to candidates automatically once their request for registration has been processed.

3. 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.