EQE update, and PEB 2020 discussion

The EPO has published an update on arrangements for the 2021 EQEs. Key points to note are:

  • The exam schedule is now available, with dates and start and end times for each paper. The exams will be held during the week commencing 1st March 2021.
  • Exams will be online, using a platform with the somewhat ominous name of “LockDown Browser”. Candidates are advised to log on to the system at least 20 minutes before each paper.
  • The pre-EQE and papers C and D will be split into parts, with compulsory scheduled breaks between the parts. Information for each part will be released at the beginning of that part, and once that part is finished it will not be possible to go back to it later in the exam. In addition, candidates may take unscheduled breaks (which do not stop the exam clock) in all papers except the pre-EQE and D1. The total duration of some of the papers has been extended.
    • The pre-EQE will be split into four parts
    • Papers A and B are full papers, not split into parts
    • Paper C will be split in to two parts
    • Paper D will be split into three parts
  • More information will be released in due course.

The IPKat blog covered the update on the EQE arrangements, together with some reflection on the 2020 PEB exams. Rather than having scheduled/enforced breaks, the PEB’s approach was to extend the duration of all of the exams with a recommended time for screen breaks/uploading/printing, but ultimately it was left to the candidates’ discretion to decide whether and when to take breaks. There was a lot of discussion in the IPKat post’s comments about the 2020 PEB exams, including comments from Sarah Boxall, the PEB’s Chief Examiner, on candidates’ use of allocated time for screen breaks/uploading/printing.

If you have any feedback or concerns about the 2020 PEB exams, please email constructive comments to Joel Briscoe, our Honorary Secretary. We will respect any requests to keep comments anonymous. We will collate the comments, highlight common themes, and provide feedback to CIPA through the appropriate channels.

Wellbeing Coffee Club event report

The first Wellbeing Coffee Club meeting last week was a great success. 35 trainees attended, which was an awesome turnout for our very first event. We started with a brief introduction from Jonathan, our Welfare Officer, and answered a poll question. Then we split into small groups in zoom rooms for two short discussion sessions. We discussed the questions “What does mental health and wellbeing mean to you?”, and “What are you doing to maintain your mental health and wellbeing during lockdown?”. We came back into the main room to wrap up, and answer the same poll question again.

The poll question for last week was “How confident would you be in defining mental health and wellbeing?”. We asked the same question at the beginning and end of Coffee Club to see whether/how discussion changes the answer. The results of our highly rigorous and scientific investigation were positive – at the start of the session, 28% of respondents were “somewhat confident” in defining mental health, rising to 45% after the discussion. Please see here for our definition of mental health and wellbeing.

If you have any suggestions for poll questions or topics to discuss in Wellbeing Coffee Club, please let us know, either by commenting here or on LinkedIn or by email.

The Wellbeing Coffee Club series will run every six weeks, with the day and time changing each time, so as to allow as many different trainees to join as possible. The next one will be Wednesday 6th January at 3pm. See here for full details, and click here to get a calendar invitation for the whole series.

On a personal note, we are delighted that so many people came and enjoyed Wellbeing Coffee Club (we got some great feedback from attendees), and we are really looking forward to the next one!

Stay well, and see you soon,

Kathryn Taylor (Blog, Website & Social Media Editor)

Jonathan Foster (Welfare Officer).

Wellbeing Coffee Club starts tomorrow!

The first Wellbeing Coffee Club meeting will be tomorrow, Thursday 26th November @ 10am. Please add this to your calendars so you don’t forget! Click here to get a calendar invitation that will add the whole series into your calendar, without any hassle!

Coffee club is a very informal chance to (virtually) grab a coffee (or other suitable beverage) with other trainees around the UK. You may meet new people, you may see familiar faces – the point of this series is to help maintain old relationships, and build new ones, within the trainee community, all while promoting informal discussion around health and wellbeing.

Each Coffee Club will last just 30 minutes, with a 5min intro in a main room, followed by two 10 minute conversation sessions in breakout rooms with 2 – 3 other trainees, and a quick roundup at the end. Each Coffee Club will have a rough topic for people to discuss, such as coping with the darker days, dealing with stress, work/life balance etc, but ultimately, it’s up to each group what they want to talk about.

The Coffee Club series will run every six weeks, with the day and time changing each time, so as to allow as many different trainees to join as possible.

The full set of dates and times is as follows:

  • Thursday 26th November, 10 – 10.30am
  • Wednesday 6th January, 3 – 3.30pm
  • Tuesday 16th February, 11 – 11.30am
  • Friday 2nd April, 3 – 3.30pm
  • Wednesday 12th May, 9.30 – 10am
  • Thursday 24th June, 2.30 – 3pm
  • Monday 2nd August, 11 – 11.30am

The link to join the meeting is below, and will remain the same for the whole series:

Meeting link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82982660431?pwd=NkJPYUVQTDNBSm93QjgzcjlEYU1lQT09

Meeting ID: 829 8266 0431
Passcode: 329273

We hope to see you all there!

Jonathan Foster – Informals’ Welfare Officer

Kathryn Taylor – Informals’ Blog, Website & Social Media Editor

Upcoming IP events

Please see below for a summary of upcoming IP-related events that may be of interest, featuring webinars, social events, virtual coffees, and no less than three festive events! Click on the links for more information and to register.

Wellbeing Coffee Club: the first of a series, an opportunity to grab a coffee with other trainees while talking about mental health and wellbeing issues. Thursday 26th November 10am.

CIPA webinar: introducing the Aerotel/ Macrossan approach for computer implemented inventions at the IPO, and the assessment of technical contribution using the AT& T signposts. Thursday 26th November 12.30pm.

Applying to train as a patent or trade mark attorney: an online masterclass as part of Careers in Ideas Week aimed at university students who want to (or think they might want to) train as patent or trade mark attorneys, to help them secure their first position in the profession. Friday 27th November 4pm.

Women in IP coffee dates: the discussion topic will be “emotions in the workplace”. Tuesday 1st December 8.30am.

IP Futures Christmas event: Put on your favourite Christmas outfit, grab some Christmas-themed drinks and snacks, and join IP Futures for some Christmas spirit! This event will be fun and light hearted, featuring wacky patents, funny training experiences, and other topics. Tuesday 1st December 6pm.

International Day of People with Disabilities: a relaxed review of IP Ability‘s first year, followed by small-group discussions. Anyone working in IP is encouraged to attend, including disabled IP professionals, IP professionals with caring responsibilities for disabled people, and allies. Thursday 3rd December, midday.

CIPA Christmas Taskmaster: something different from the usual Christmas quizzes! Teams will compete over six fiendishly difficult tasks set by CIPA’s very own Taskmaster, Lee Davies. You can set your own team up to enter or join a random team. Tuesday 8th December 5.30pm.

IP Out festive social event: holiday spirit and virtual networking roulette! Wednesday 9th December 6pm.

CIPA New Student webinar series: three half-day webinars giving an introduction to the patent attorney profession including exams, regulation, professional ethics, commercial and financial aspects, wellbeing and managing stress, and pragmatic things that nobody teaches you like client care and what to do if something goes wrong. Wednesday 9th, Thursday 10th, and Friday 11th December.

Wellbeing Coffee Club: the coffee club will run every six weeks, changing day and time to enable as many people as possible to join. An opportunity to grab a coffee with other trainees while talking about mental health and wellbeing issues. Wednesday 6th January 2021, 3pm.

IP Inclusive annual meeting: virtual round table including updates from the communities and regional networks, plus a discussion about IP Inclusive’s future development. Tuesday 19 January 2021, 10-12.

Informals Buddy Scheme

The Informals buddy scheme will soon be going live!  We have had a good response to our calls for trainees willing to be a buddy and those wanting a buddy.  However, there’s always room for more!

As a reminder, the buddy scheme was conceived to help those who are in smaller firms/offices or in-house where there may not be more experienced trainees around and the idea is that buddies will be there to provide moral support and help new trainees adjust to their new life.  They will be able to ask questions that they may not wish to ask their bosses and generally receive guidance from their buddies about navigating trainee life.  However, the scheme is open to all, especially with the ‘new normal’ where a lot of us are working in smaller offices at the moment – either due to reduced numbers of people in the office or by being at home in an office of one!

Buddies can be used for any kind of support, from a quick coffee chat to information relating to different aspects of the profession such as exams, training structure, how to access resources and further support, etc.

If you would like to be involved then please get in touch. We are currently in the process of matching people who want to have a buddy to people who want to be a buddy. There is still time to sign up now for the official buddy scheme launch on 1st December, and new people can still join the buddy scheme any time after that.

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