New eEQE consultation ends 31 August 2022: Don't miss the opportunity to have your say!

The EPO and epi have joined forces to propose a radical shake-up of the examinations to become a qualified patent attorney. A consultation on the proposal ends today (31 August 2022) (IPKat). 

Full details of the proposal, together with the consultation questionnaire can be found here. The questionnaire takes approximately 25 minutes and is a mixture of multiple choice and free text questions. 


To answer the questionnaire, it is first necessary to take a look at the specifics of the proposal. Underlying the new system is a list of "competencies" that the EPO/epi have identified as necessary for qualification as a European patent attorney. These competencies are listed in the proposal and are intended to cover the technical skills and knowledge required to be a patent attorney ("specific competencies") as well as more general skills such as the ability to work with large amounts of information under time pressure ("transversal competences"). The consultation questionnaire asks whether any competencies have been missed from the list. 

The questionnaire goes on to ask about the new modular approach and the levels of difficulties in the various modules. Example papers can be found here. There are also general questions about the online format of the examinations. 

Successful reform of the European patent qualifying examinations is going to require engagement and feedback from the profession. The comments we receive here on IPKat whenever there is a post relating to the exams reveals the strength of feeling surrounding the form and structure of patent qualifying examinations. The EPO/epi proposal and the current consultation is a rare opportunity for those frustrated with the current system to contribute to radical reform. 

Further reading

EPO plans radical shake-up of EQEs 2024 onwards (13 April 2021) 

Have your say on the new EQE proposal! (19 July 2022)

New eEQE consultation ends 31 August 2022: Don't miss the opportunity to have your say! New eEQE consultation ends 31 August 2022: Don't miss the opportunity to have your say! Reviewed by Rose Hughes on Wednesday, August 31, 2022 Rating: 5


  1. i take bets that the official comment of the EPO published after evaluation of the questionnaire will be that all those having replied are fully supporting the new scheme and everything could not be more perfect!
    It is clear that the EPO would like an exam which can be auto-corrected.
    Modules F1 correspond to the present pre-exam.
    Automatic correction is also making inroads in the modules M1 to M3.
    At least some free text seems necessary in order to understand the box ticked by the candidate.
    M4 which seems to correspond to the actual paper D is the only one without automatic correction. But in the example given no legal basis has to be given. How come?

  2. Some detailed comments here. They seem supportive of the general concept, but suggest that the organization also needs to be changed:

  3. The blog post linked in the anonymous comment above is interesting, and mostly well thought out. However, I must take issue with the author's response to the common criticism that we should return to separate chemistry and physics/mechanics papers.

    The merits of having, or not having, separate papers for different disciplines is certainly open to debate, and even this chemist thinks that a unified paper could well be acceptable within the confines of the exam system, depending of course on what the purpose of the exam is supposed to be (is it a "fitness to practise" test or is it something less ambitious?). This has been debated at length elsewhere on the IPKat and we don't need to repeat that debate here.

    Where I must disagree is that the author dismisses the notion of separate papers on the basis that there is essentially no need for specialists in real-life daily practice. This flies in the face of everything I know about real-world practice. Do we really want physicists drafting vaccine patents, and biotech PhD's drafting patents for semiconductors? This seems to be a rapid path to negligence and a liability nightmare for anything other than a truly simple, exam-like scenario.

    Of course there are areas of overlap, not bright line demarcations, and it is important for (say) pharma and biotech specialists to understand at least the basics of (say) patenting computer-implemented inventions. But the idea that there is no real need for specialists in the real world seems to be completely unmoored from reality.

    In summary, there could well be a case for not dividing the exams by subject-matter. But the justification given in that blog-post is based on a supposed real-world consideration that just doesn't hold water.


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