IPKat co-blogmeister David has just come back from an enforced absence due to taking the European Qualification Examinations (EQEs). For those readers unfamiliar with the EQEs, these consist of three very hard days of exams, with the prospect at the end of it (after a few months for the examiners to mark the papers) of being able to call oneself a European Patent Attorney and represent others before the European Patent Office.
(right: this is how the EQEs feel)
The exams themselves are not easy. There has also been some controversy recently about the paper 'C' exam relating to opposition proceedings (see previous IPKat post here). In this Kat's considered opinion, this year's lot (at least for electromechanical-types) were not too bad, and the expected nightmares over the recent transition to EPC2000 largely failed to materialise (thankfully).
Papers A and B were pretty standard, with no shock surprises for anyone (except perhaps for those unfamiliar with weighing letters or computer joysticks). Paper D, in its two parts, was also surprisingly unsurprising, with only a couple of issues about what EPC2000 meant compared to the old law. Paper C, however, still looks like posing some troubles. This year the examiner's apparently thought that they would put the 'closest prior art' issue largely to one side and instead give candidates plenty of work to do over the 6 hours allotted. Not only was the most important document long and only available in French and German, but the attacks required were numerous, tedious and very very time consuming. This Kat has never seen 6 hours fly by so quickly, and has a troubling suspicion that he might be seeing Bristol again this time next year.
(right: IPKat David takes a well-earned rest)
The IPKat would very much appreciate (and thinks that his readers might also be interested to read) any comments from other candidates who sat one of more of the EQEs this year, or indeed from others with experience of doing them before. We know the EPO is listening...