Eagle-eyed trainees and trainers may have spotted the following announcement on the EPO website regarding changes to EQE Papers A and B: “With effect from 2017, a single Paper A and a single Paper B will be set each year. As for current Paper C and the Pre-Examination, Papers A and B will be set in technical fields that are accessible to everyone.” It appears that trainees who started in the profession in Autumn 2013 and thereafter may have to sit the EQE drafting and amendment papers on a simple, mechanical invention. Currently, Papers A and B are split by technical specialism – there are separate papers for Electronics/Mechanics and Chemistry.
It appears as though the EQEs are conforming with the UK Advanced Papers P3 and P4. You may recall that IPReg launched a consultation earlier this year in which they proposed removing UK papers P3 and P4. They believed that more UK trainees sit EQE Papers A and B and then claim exemptions from the ‘equivalent’ UK exams (P3 and P4), and thus, the UK papers were redundant. (See our previous post about this here.)
The Informals have sent an email to IPReg today (16 October) informing them about this change. We note that this is an example of how we in the UK should not be so reliant on the EQEs as a means to dual-qualifying as UK and EP attorneys, because the EPO implements changes to the exams without any sort of public consultation. Moreover, it is questionable whether the EQE drafting and amendment papers test the same skills as the UK papers, particularly in recent years.
What do you all think? Are you a trainee who is affected by this change? Will your supervisors be able to train you on how to prepare for mechanical drafting and amendment papers? Or did they also only sit the Chemical EQE Papers A and B, and not P3 and P4? Feel free to comment on the blog, via Twitter (@CIPAYellowSheet) or by email.