EQEs - Watch Out!

The IPKat spotted this morning the latest issue of the EPO Official Journal. There isn't really anything of much interest, assuming you have been paying attention to announcements such as Montenegro becoming an extension state (which the IPKat noted here), unless you have a particular interest in new fees in Sweden, the EPO's holidays in 2010 or what happened at last month's meeting of the Administrative Council (which has been written about more extensively elsewhere).

What struck the IPKat, however, was the EPO's new Instructions to candidates concerning the conduct of the European qualifying examination, which includes the following rule:
The IPKat is fairly sure the rules weren't this strict last year, otherwise he would have worried about taking his new Casio watch into the exam hall with him, but maybe he has missed out on the latest advances in digital watch technology. Given all the stuff that it is possible to legitimately take to the exam, how is it possible to cheat at the EQEs with a digital watch? Or is this perhaps about the possibility of annoying bleeps? Can anyone assist with a reasoned explanation?
EQEs - Watch Out! EQEs - Watch Out! Reviewed by David Pearce on Saturday, January 30, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. The reason most probably is that the state of the art in digital watch technology continues to evolve. What about watches comprising a mobile phone and a camera? Those might have existed last year already, but that's no reason not to be careful about allowing watches this year.

    I suppose the EPO wants to have a practical rule to decide what's allowable and what's not. Of course at some point in the future the EPO will have to ban candidates from bringing their own pens and pencils...

  2. "any electronic devices"???

    That would seem to include hearing aids, pace makers and electronic key fobs for car locks, garage doors, etc.

    Taking this examination could prove to be inconvenient indeed.

    One would have expected better drafting from the EPO.

    Or maybe not.

  3. Thank you for bringing this to my attention Jeremy. I would never have thought that my plain-vanilla (but silent) digital watch could ever bring me into trouble. I won't try to fathom the logic behind this prescription, I'll just put up with it just as much of what comes out of the EQE secretariat.

    For instance, just last week they sent out to candidates an e-mail announcing that a special edition of the PCT applicant's guide was created in collaboration with WIPO and placed online. It sounded like a good initiative until I looked at the stuff, they are more than 1600 pages in all. Even printed at 4 pages/sheet that makes almost two inches of paper.

    Now, how much of this material am I likely to need during the D1 exam? 10 lines? Will there really be a question involving filling out forms for Montenegro or determining by which month the regional phase must be entered in the People's Republic of Korea? I had already printed out the introduction part, the annexes concerning ISA/EP and IPEA/EP, as well as the instruction for entering the regional phase for a few countries. Now do they seriously expect me to print out, index, and markup all that stuff? I thought that I'd need a rucksack to bring along all possibly relevant materials (EPC, Guidelines, case law, president's notices, legal advice, a couple of handbooks, notes and cheat sheets, the PCT and its ancillary materials, etc.), now it looks that I might have to use a wheelbarrow. This is where an eBook or a Casio watch might actually come in handy, even though that would be streng verboten.

  4. Good to see the EPO keeping up with advances in technology. With one of these on your wrist


    the options for cheating are fairly wide.


  5. Did I not see the other day a Press release for a new mobile phone: in the format of a wristwatch? What if everybody in the exam hall were to wear one of those?

  6. They might be reading too much patent-sci-fi, such as this wristwatch-type mobile communication terminal or this Bible verse wristwatch or even this Examinee's Wristwatch (???)...

    After reading the preceding comments I wanted to make sure one more time that I had everything on hand for the EQE. Looking up the ancillary regulations I discovered that these were removed from the website as of just yesterday. I happened to have these decidedly obsolete regulations on paper, but I have some sympathy for the candidates who haven't retrieved them yet...

  7. The only analogue electronic wristwatch I know is the Bulova Accutron from the 1960s. I think it emitted a faint 400 Hz hum, very soothing under the circumstances. That seems to be permitted.

    Kind regards,

    George Brock-Nannestad

  8. Dan Collopy writes to the IPKat with the following comment:

    "I have been following your emails as a quiet listener from the US, but your note on the EQE strict rules brings to mind a conversation I heard years ago (more years than I want to admit) when I was taking a state bar exam. I was seated near the moderator and partway through the morning of a multiple choice section of the exam an obviously upset individual approched the moderator's desk. Before discussing the complaint, I need to point out that everyone was seated alphabetically and that the morning section had 120 questions to complete in 3 hours (the importance of these two items will become clear).

    The distraught individual complained that the person next to her had his alarm on his digital watch set to go off every 90 seconds (the calculated amount of time to spend on one question). After an hour of this repetitive alarm, the individual found that this annoying sound was becoming quite bothersome. The moderator attempted to calm the individual and agreed to go with her to ask the person to turn off his alarm. What really impressed this conversation into my memory was the parting comment--"...And he had this same alarm set during the last winter and summer testings!" Obviously, the two had sat next to each other for two previous unsuccessful testings. And it became clear to me that the alarm tactic was not a winning tactic.

    So, maybe, a similar complaint had been raised at the EQE when someone was using the digital watch's timer to judge their time spent on questions."

  9. How disappointing. Days before the new rule was published I spent €150on a Casio watch which was a reissue of the watch I had during my teens. This was my lucky watch and I aced every exam in which I wore it. Thanks very much Examination Secretariat :-(

    PS - There was a digital analogue watch which was a free gift from one of the UK petrol companies in the early 1990s. It had a LCD face about which LCD minute, hour and second hands rotated. My mate had one however it was not a patch on my lucky Casio, above.

  10. I think the IPKat has overlooked what the rules were last year. Last year the rule was:

    "9. Candidates are not permitted to:
    9.1 bring to the examination any electronic
    devices, unless express prior permission
    to use such devices has been given
    by the Examination Secretariat;"

    Have a look in the supplement to the OJ 12/2008.
    Thus the rule became less stringent?


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