Update to Patent Rules from 1 October 2016, impact on PEB exams

As some of you may be aware, there will be upcoming changes to the Patent Rules, some of which will take effect from 1 October 2016.  These have been covered on the IPKat Blog (http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/changes-to-cider-house-fight-club.html) as well as on the UKIPO website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-patents-rules-on-1-october-2016-and-6-april-2017).


As your education coordinators, we have sought for clarification from the PEB for the impact that this will have on this year’s Exams, due to take place in October.


For the avoidance of doubt, two changes taking effect from 1 October 2016 which are often issues which need to be addressed in PEB Examinations (especially in FD1) are:


Introduction of a new report under S18(4) giving advance notice of an intention to grant – this is effectively equivalent to a communication under R71(3) EPC, and will give applicants a chance to further amend/correct prior to grant, as well as being able to file divisional applications (though previous R19(3) will still apply, meaning that it still must be filed no later than 3 months before the end of the compliance period).


Removal of R32(2)(a) – the possible time period of 2 months from removal of non-compliance will no longer apply for applications to reinstate a terminated application.  Thus the relevant period will be a straight forward 12 months from termination.  This rule will also be retroactive, and thus some applications which could not have been reinstated may once again apply – provided all the other requirements are met.


One potential concern is that marks are often given for calculation of the requirements and relevant dates for the situation presented in FD1, and removal of a rule will have implications in that such calculations would obviously no longer be needed.


In response to our request, the Chief Examiner has simply restated:


Candidates are reminded that they will not be penalised for basing their answers on law that was enacted after 1st April 2016. Similarly, candidates will not be penalised for basing their answers on law that was in effect before 1st April 2016 and that has subsequently been amended


We understand that many of you are now deep into your revision timetables.  Thus, we would simply advise:


  • Be aware that the above laws (and others relating to minor formalities requirements) will change on 1 October 2016
  • If you are going to stick with the old law – be aware of changes to online texts (such as statute) which may occur in the weeks leading up to the Exam
  • Whichever set of laws you use, make sure you apply the law consistently through the whole of your Exam


On behalf of the CIPA Informals committee, we wish you the best of luck in the weeks ahead.


Feng Rao, Laura Jennings

CIPA Informals Education Coordinators 2016-17


More tutorials for 2016 PEB exams

More tutorials for the 2016 PEB exams have been added to the Tutorials page on the Yellow Sheet blog.  That page also includes instructions for how to sign up for a tutorial.


Remember: in general, you must organise a tutorial (e.g. by asking your supervisor or another UK-qualified colleague to lead a tutorial) in order to be eligible to take part in other tutorials.  However, if it will not be possible for you to organise a tutorial (e.g. because you work in a small firm or department with few or no UK-qualified attorneys, or because your supervisor works in a different office from you), please let the Informals Committee know your circumstances by following the instructions on the Tutorials page.

UK exam application deadline: TOMORROW

I’m sure everyone who needs to has applied for the UK exams already, but just in case, this is a reminder that the deadline is tomorrow, 29 July 2016 (by which time payment also has to have been received) http://www.cipa.org.uk/patent-examination-board/registration/.


Separately, the EQE application deadline is open now until 8 September 2016https://www.eqe.org/EQEASy/candidate/auth/login



Tutorials for 2016 PEB exams

Several CIPA Informals tutorials for the 2016 Patent Examination Board exams are now available for sign-up on the Tutorials page of the Yellow Sheet blog.  Instructions for how to sign up are provided on that page.  The currently available tutorials are also listed in the Eventbrite widget on the right-hand side of the Yellow Sheet home page.


If you have not yet organised a tutorial (or volunteered to give a tutorial, if you are a UK-qualified reader!), please email Informals Tutorial Coordinator Sophie-Beth Aylett (saylett@jakemp.com) with the following details about your tutorial:


  • Tutor’s name
  • Date and time of tutorial
  • Venue
  • Whether the tutorial is available in person, online and/or by telephone
  • Exam paper covered (e.g. ‘FD4 2015’)
  • Maximum number of tutees who can take part in the tutorial (typically 6)
  • Email address scripts for marking should be sent to (could be the tutor’s address or the address of a tutee)
  • Deadline for returning scripts

Exam enrolment and registration deadlines



EQE pre-examination

As reported in our previous post, enrolment for the 2017 EQE pre-examination closes on 2 June 2016.  If you intend to sit the 2017 pre-exam and you have not already enrolled, go to https://www.epo.org/learning-events/eqe/admission/2017.html and follow the instructions to complete your enrolment.  The EPO recommends that you pay your enrolment and exam fees by card rather than bank transfer, so be sure to have a card at the ready when you start the enrolment procedure.

PEB exams

Registration for the 2016 PEB exams is now open.  The registration form is available for download from the CIPA website:


The deadline for registering for the UK exams is 29 July 2016.  Registering sooner rather than later is advisable, to allow time for payment to be made.

CIPA Informals Foundation Lectures Timetable – Summer 2016

Thank you to all those who have been coming to the Foundation Lectures so far! We are now over halfway through the series, but there are still plenty of topics left to cover.

As always, the lectures will be taking place in CIPA Hall, starting at 5.30pm. After the lecture we will head down to the Knights Templar pub. This is an excellent opportunity to meet trainees from other firms, and if you have not yet made the trip I would encourage you to do so.

The timetable for the lectures is as follows. Any changes to this will be posted on the blog, so keep an eye out!

Foundation Lecture Organiser

Date Title Lecturer
Mon 09 May 2016 Security Provisions Mike Leaning UKIPO
Mon 16 May 2016 Company & Contract Law Simon Portman Marks & Clerk Solicitors
Mon 23 May 2016 Attacking Patents Richard Howson Kilburn & Strode
Mon 06 June 2016 IP and competition law Alison Firth University of Surrey
Tue 14 June 2016 Introduction to Trade Marks Carrollanne Lindley Kilburn & Strode
Mon 20 June 2016 Introduction to Design Rights Dan Sizer Marks & Clerk LLP
Mon 27 June 2016 US Patent Law Mark Simpson Saul Ewing
Mon 04 July 2016 PCT Jane Hollywood Olswang

Results for the October 2015 UK (PEB) exams


Trainees who sat PEB exams in October 2015 can expect to receive their results by email on Monday 7 March 2016.  Pass lists will be posted on the PEB website on Wednesday 9 March 2016.


Good luck, and well done to anyone who has just lived through the rather chilling EQE week.



Honorary Secretary 2015-2016

Improved feedback for PEB candidates

In August 2015 the Informals contacted the PEB Governance Board (GB) about the feedback PEB exam candidates receive when their results are announced.  Currently, each candidate is told whether s/he has passed or failed a paper, and given an overall mark for that paper.  The Informals suggested the following ways of improving the feedback:

  • providing each candidate with a breakdown of his/her marks for a paper (e.g. on a question-by-question or part-by-part basis), similar to the breakdowns given for EQE papers
  • providing each candidate with a marked copy of his/her script.

The GB has said that it is beyond the PEB’s resources to provide a detailed breakdown of the way marks were achieved in the 2015 examinations, but that it will give serious consideration to doing so for the 2016 examinations.  It has also said that, for the 2015 examinations, it will include breakdowns of marks awarded for each question in the “Sample Pass Script” examples published on the PEB Past Examination Materials web page.  In addition to the existing “good pass” example scripts, the PEB plans to publish examples of scripts scoring marks just above the pass/fail borderline, also with breakdowns of marks awarded for individual questions.  In the future, the PEB hopes to add commentaries to the published examples, to assist candidates and their tutors in better understanding the reasons why particular responses achieved the marks awarded.

The Informals welcomes the changes that are being made and looks forward to working with the GB to improve further the resources available to help candidates prepare for the PEB papers.

PEB Assessment Reports

Patent trainees and their trainers might be interested in reading the PEB’s Self Assessment Report (http://www.cipa.org.uk/download/PEB-Self-assessment-report-2014.pdf) and the External Validation Report (http://www.cipa.org.uk/download/External-assurance-PEB-2015.pdf).

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) was contracted to undertake the external quality assurance of the PEB’s policies, procedures and processes.  Interestingly, in the section on the examinations, the report notes that the “examination papers sat in 2014 do not take a standard form and different questions appear to require different orders of cognitive skill, despite attracting similar marks“, particularly with respect to the Foundation papers.

The Informals’ recently requested that the PEB provide a much broader spread of the ‘sample pass scripts’ for each paper, so that candidates can see the difference between the best answer and one which is awarded 50 marks.  We are pleased to note that the QAA’s report also puts forward a similar suggestion (see page 12).
The QAA report also asks the PEB to “investigate carefully the reasons why P6 should have had such a poor candidate success rate over an extended period” (page 13).  We are sure that trainees would be interested to hear PEB’s explanation for this too!
Turning now to the PEB’s report, this includes the results of the survey conducted by the PEB after the 2014 exams.  (The survey conducted by the PEB is not quite as comprehensive as that conducted by the EPO after the EQEs, but it is a good sign that the PEB is interested in gaining feedback from students.  See here for the 2015 EQE survey.
The Informals’ asked the PEB to publish more detailed and specific mark schemes, which would enable students to better understand how marks are awarded and to mark their own past paper attempts with more confidence.  As the PEB report notes, more detailed mark schemes were published for the 2014 examinations (page 10).
As mentioned above, the Informals and the PEB are working closely to put improve aspects of the UK examination process.  For example, we asked the PEB to consider reducing the time between the exams and the results, though the PEB have decided they cannot do this at present (see here https://yellowsheet.wordpress.com/2015/06/11/timing-of-peb-exam-results/).
More recently, the Informals have asked the PEB if they could provide candidates with a more detailed breakdown of their marks, in a similar manner to that provided by the EPO for the EQEs.  This could aid trainees who pass the exams as well as those who need to resit, as they can determine what they are good at and what they could improve either the next time they sit the exam or in their day-to-day work.  We will let you know the outcome of this request.
Honorary Secretary

Timing of PEB Exam Results

You may recall that the PEB conducted a survey earlier this year concerning the timing of the PEB exam results. (See our earlier post here: https://yellowsheet.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/uk-exam-results-date/)
The PEB have now decided that “whilst the PEB could issue examination results for Qualifying Examinations early, it would not be able to safely issue them a month before the EQEs. Whilst the majority wanted results early, a majority also wanted them at least a month before the EQEs and this cannot be safely delivered“. For more information and the reasons for this decision, please see the official notice from the PEB: http://www.cipa.org.uk/download/Timing-of-QE-results.pdf