Friday, 27 February 2015

EQE Paper C 2015 - Carving out a solution


After the ski of paper B we get snowboards with paper C (English, French, German). Candidates faced claims with different dates, admissibility problems, added subject matter, multiple novelty attacks and the usual agonizing over the closest prior art.

Claim 1

This claim is a very broad, and gives little information on the relationship between the various elements. This should be used to do no less than three novelty attacks: a novelty attack on 54(3) document A6, a novelty attack based on A5 and a novelty attack based on the trade show Ski, Hop and Jump as evidenced by A2.

The novelty attack based on A2 is quite weak, as we hardly have evidence for the disclosure. The answer should make this clear, by presenting what little evidence we have now and offering to present additional evidence.

Claim 2

The novelty attacks of Claim 1 do not extend to Claim 2. Note, that the snow board of A2 is not unidirectional.

This leaves us with inventive step attacks. There are two potential closest prior arts: A2 and A3.

Starting from A3 would lead to a conventional inventive step attack with A4 as combining document.

Starting from A2 we have a number of problems. In theory we could finish this attack starting from A2 and combining with common general knowledge to change to board from freestyle to unidirectional. However, there are several drawbacks for this approach. First of all, evidentiary A2 is a weak document. Second, changing from freestyle to unidirectional may be quite a change. As the core determines the shape of the board, the entire board has to be thrown away and one has to start again from scratch.

Between these two options, the attack A3+A4 seems stronger, so we opt for this one.

Claim 3

There are no novelty attacks. Candidates for closest prior art are A2 (which for this claim is much stronger, as Claim 3 has a later effective date), and A3. Both documents miss the matrix, but A3 misses much more. Moreover, with A3 we have the problem of starting with the wrong type of snow board (unidirectional instead of freestyle). The attack based on A2 + A6 seems to work fine.

Claim 4

This is an 'or' claim because it refers back to two different claims: claims 2 and 3. These two variants should be attacked separately. Claim 4(3) was added during prosecution but does not have support. It can be attacked under A. 100(c). Claim 4(2) refers back to Claim 2 for which we already have an inventive step attack. Fortunately, the new feature of Claim 4 is part of the closest prior art, so the attack for claim 2 can be extended to claim 4(2).

Claim 5

This claim introduces a claimed object, a damper instead of a sports article. We find dampers in A2, A3, and A5. A2 is a weak document here, and misses the sensing, the filtering, and the frequencies. We discard this option. A3 shows sensing, but not together with dampening. A3 shows filtering but only for sensing not for dampening. A5 on the other hand has all features except the correct frequency. Moreover, A5 explains that the frequency can easily be changed, and that the damper may be used for other sports articles. It appears that A5 is thus the better closest prior art, A3 is then used as the combining document. A potential weak point of an attack based on A5+A3 is that A5 is only concerned with longitudinal waves whereas A3 needs damping for torsional waves. In the end the combination A5+A3 seems easier to make then the reverse one, so we opt for this.

Claim 6

There are two potential closest prior arts for this claim: A2 and A3. Although, easy to miss, A2 actually has every feature of claim 6 except the measuring step. A3 on the other hand, has the measuring step but also a teaching away against the piezoelectronic damper. The combination A2+A3 works thus much better than starting from A3.

In summary, our attacks are:

Claim 1: Novelty A2, A5, A6
Claim 2: Inventive step A3+A4
Claim 3: Inventive step A2+A6
Claim 4(2): Inventive step A3+A4
Claim 4(3): Added subject matter
Claim 5: Inventive step A5+A3
Claim 6: Inventive step A2+A3


Sander, Jelle, and Joeri

Here now also our unique analysis sheet, used in our methodology courses and model solution for all papers. Also this year it lead to the solution in a straightforward way, but the exam was a lot of work.

© Copyright DeltaPatents, 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this answer may be reproduced, used in any way for generating further course material or updates, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written consent of DeltaPatents.
The answer is made available for personal use only.

57 comments:

  1. I HATE PAPER C!!!!27 February 2015 at 11:05

    UGH!

    For claim 5:
    The main purpose of A5 is a damper system for skis which are only concerned about longitudinal modes (A5:0001). I thought having A5 as the CPA was a stretch since the range of 30-80 was for torsional modes. I used paragraph 0006 as an argument that the modification of A3 could be easily made.

    I hate this paper....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does the damper of A5 includes the electronic device ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, conjunction of "[005] Steuerschaltung 85 and [006] Steuerschaltung kann ein integrierter Schaltkreis sein" which is a "electronic device" (see [016] in A1)

      Delete
  3. Knackered candidate27 February 2015 at 11:44

    Is it only my impression or this year's paper was way too long for the 5 hours that we were given?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fortunately I did most attacks as proposed (7 out of 9), but due to lack of time I was not able to do the attack on claim 6. Could someone please tell the exam committee that skipping legal questions while decreasing the time for the exam with one hour is not realistic (i.e. it makes the exam tougher). Taking into account all the hustle with the prior art and the effective dates costs a lot of time. In my point of view 5 is way too short!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knackered candidate27 February 2015 at 12:33

      Totally agree!

      Delete
  5. Regarding claim 6: Is it possible that the C committee wanted an attack based on A2 +A3 but with the conclusion that claim 6 - which measures the amplitudes, not the mechanical stress - is not inventive because it does not actually solve the technical problem. Otherwise, the last paragraphs of A3 seem to teach away from combining it, since the method of measuring amplitudes as an approximation doesn't actually work.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the previous contributions.
    Re claim 6:
    I skipped A2 as CPA because it addresses the finding of the ideal location in §6/A2. So, there's just A3 left as CPA. Since A3 addresses the finding of the ideal point in contrast to A2 I regarded that finding step as a 'key feature'. Although §11/A3 uses the term 'incompatible' at first glance, a second glance reveals that said incompatibility is related only to a certain type of dampers since the ideal spot is already occupied by the couplers/sensors (§5/A3 in view of §10 & §11/A3). Thus, I combined A3 with A2 since §5/A2 mentioning that a location 'close' to the ideal spot will suffice for suppressing the undesired vibrations. That led to the product of a sensor according to A3 on the ideal spot and a sensor according to A2 attached proximate, i.e. next to the former but not on the ideal point. Unfortunately, I had to add A4 in addition for fixing the drawback that the A3-core has a different height and having to tackle that deficiency by the partial problem attack. Since the thickness variation formed a minor aspect entirely decoupled from the vibration damping throughout the A1 I've chosen to kill claim 6 by i.s.(A3+A2+A4).
    Please give it a thought and let me know - any feedback is appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I skipped using A2 entirely, although I cited it as a potential prior art document.

      I argued that in claim 6, there was no nexus between the recited "location" and "position." I was rather rushed. I too used A3 as a starting point for IS attack of claim 6, and, again rather rushed, I thought the only thing lacking was the uneven core (because of the lack of nexus between position and location), which is made up for in another document (don't have this on hand). I don't have a copy of the C paper on hand to see how close/far from reasonable this argument could be.

      The CPA can be selected, I argued, is in view of solving a similar problem CLBoA I.D.3.3, in regard to increasing comfort of the user, by reducing chatter for instance.

      I had thoughts spinning around like you have mentioned (anon 27 Feb. 12:59), a partial problem approach, but I saw this avenue and it was less writing, so I took it.

      "Santry"

      Delete
  7. The solution presented above was made by three experienced tutors. Getting all these attacks right is not needed to get a passing score. On the other hand, even if you have all the attacks, the marks are in the argumentation.

    Although I think that an attack starting from A3 for claim 6 is not optimal, I am sure that this is exactly what many candidates have done. This may be reflected in the marking scheme. And what do I know, perhaps we have it wrong after all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What is your idea about the total amount of work that needed to be done in these 5 hours? E.g. No straight-forward state of the art situation; No straight-forward Effective dates for all the claims. Is asking 3 Novelty Attacks; 5 Inventive Step Attacks and 1 Added Subject Matter attack still reasonable or did the exam committee become a bit ‘over-enthusiastic’?

      Delete
  8. Thank you for providing your solution - I have the same solution, but missed timewise the I.S. attack for 4(2) and did the I.S. attack on claim 6 hastely without giving basis for the definitions but with arguments for CPA, the OTP and why to combine...
    Went for this attack rather then for that on 4(2) because I was not 100% sure if this was not also added sjm.
    I agree with most people that this paper was way too long - how can you argue 9 attacks, 5 of them I.S. with almost always different CPA which means that you have to argue the full problem-solution from scratch in 5 hours?
    Seems to me that paper C only gets longer and harder from year to year (especially looking at 2013/2014 and now 2015)
    Any remarks regarding the length from the tutors/deltapatents side?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clearly the exam was a lot of work. A lot of claims, a lot of prior art to read. Quite soem inventive step attacks.
      However, this does not automatically mean that the pass rate will be low. It looks like that there are much less definitions; this makes arguing at feature level easier. For most claims there are also not so many options to choose from.
      I find it difficult to judge if candidates have frequently performed the wrong attack.
      We will have to wait and see.

      Delete
  9. Thanks for your contributions.
    What about A5+A3 for claim 6 ? After all A5 was novelty destroying for the features of claim 1 too..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A5 does not appear to disclose any method for determining a position for the damper. So it seems not a good starting point as closest prior art.

      Delete
  10. My reasoning for claim 4 (3) was added sjm based on the missing link between the matrix of [017] to the P27 of paragraph [013] and [014]
    In your matrix you indicated that it missed being flat, but this feature was not part of claim 3 but only claim 2?
    Any other reasons for claim 4(3) violation A. 123 (2) ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See my response further down, where this question is asked again.

      Delete
  11. I guess I'll mention that I didn't catch the 123(2) problem with claim 4, although I did make a note of the split effective date for it. I argued that the P27 didn't have any advantageous technical effect, emphasizing the disadvantage of brittleness that was mentioned in A1, so that claim 4 is not inventive. I understand that A1 mentions P27 is an "excellent" piezomaterial, so maybe there would be a rebuttal to these arguments. I'm not saying mine is the best :), just curious to see what others think and maybe this will keep the discussion rolling. It's a long wait until June/July -- so my thanks to DeltaP and other commenters for these discussions.

    I'll add one more thing in response to Disappointed Feb. 27 7 pm on the B thread (I can't post anonymously there): I completely agree with your explanation of the special technical feature of claim 4. R43(2) starts, "Without prejudice to A82..."

    "Santry"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops - not claim 4, I'm referring to having 2 independent claims in part B.

      Delete
  12. Does anyone know how many points are lost when the opposition form is not filled (due to a lack of time)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In the older exams this meant that you lost 2 marks.

      Delete
  13. Re: IS attack on claim 5 w/ A5 and A3

    Obviously, this is the attack that the committe is expecting.

    However, I was pondering during the exam whether A3 alone has it all to struck claim 5 down on its own. Possibly, the committe worded claim 5 was a bit sloppy (I am talking the German version).

    Claim 5 requires a damper with a first pad FOR sensing and a second pad FOR dampening. Mind you, this is a device claim, not a method claim. So the term FOR is not to be read as a functional feature, but strictly as SUITABLE FOR.

    The description in conjunction with Fig 2 shows that 2 pads are present, which equate the first and a second pad.

    The description shows that the pads are capable of performing both functions, sensing and dampening. So they are strictly a first pad FOR sensing and a second pad FOR dampening.

    Mind you, claim 5 does not require that sensing and dampening is performed at the same time (as far as I remember).

    So there you have it. All structural features of claim 5 anticipated in A3.

    As far as the frequency is concerned, A3 suggests itself to use 30 to 80 Hz for better performance.

    If that's not novelty destroying in its own right, should it not at least be obvious in view of A3 alone?

    Can the experts of Deltapatents please comment?

    Would the EQE correctors acknowledge marks for this solution?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Habe die Prüfung auch auf Deutsch geschrieben (und gelesen :)) - grundsätzlich stimmt es natürlich, dass für die beiden Flachstücke (was für eine schlimme Übersetzung ;)) nur eine Eignung aufweisen müssen.
      Allerdings wird in der A3 streng zwischen der ersten Ausführungsform als Sensoren und der zweiten zur Dämpfung unterschieden.
      Die zweite Ausführungsform scheint keine Eignung für die Frequenzselektivität zu offenbaren (...sind nicht frequenzselektiv...). Auch ist in Fig. 2 nur EIN Flachstück gezeigt und in Fig. 3 werden 2 Dämpfer an unterschiedlichen Positionen angebracht, d.h. ein Neuheitsangriff ist aus meiner Sicht nicht erfolgreich.
      Allerdings kann durchaus eine Kombination der beiden Ausführungsformen aus A3 eine mangelnde erfinderische Tätigkeit des Anspruch 5 begründen...
      Bin auch gespannt auf die Meinung von Deltapatents :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for this Peter. Was it Fig. 3 with the two pads in the top corners of the board?

      I agree that A3 diffenretiates between the first operation (sensing) and the second operation (damping). Nevertheless, the description of A3 tells us that each pad is clearly capaple of doing both operations, sequentially.

      At least from my point of view, Claim 5 on its face does not stipulate that both operations, sensing and damping, are operating at the same time. I think that claim 5 therefore perfectly encompasses the arrangement of A3, even without having the two embodiments adapted in a way to operate simultaneously. Because this is NOT REQUIRED in the wording of claim 5.

      I guess my point is that this is obviously not the attack that the commitee intended, but I was wondering whether the correctors will ignore, or acknowlegde for that matter, the merits of a different solution.

      Delete
    3. Did you use the first or the second setup? Only the first setup is described in combination with frequency filtering, but it does not have an integrated circuit or two pieces of piezoelectric material connected thereto. To me, it doesn't seem to be suitable for the claimed use.

      Delete
  14. This was huge, lots of claims (7), 6 prior art documents with issues, priority issues...a festival!!!
    I had no problems identifying all these issues but takes a lot of time drafting a coherent explanation w legal basis and all.
    I had difficulty interpreting the prior art in the annexes and also the invention due to the vocabulary and technical field - it was related with electronics.
    For people of biotech and chemistry there is not such flexibility on recognising an invention just because it was written w different wording.
    At this point I really don't know what more
    I can do for my preparation since the problem was interpretation of the annexes.
    Anyway, I do intend to continue trying. It is becoming a ritual... :-)

    But I wonder, what is their intention by reducing the time, maintaining or even increasing de number of claims and much more complicated attacks and issues in the prior art and the patent, in particular these 2 last years.
    Even the Client's Letter was not straight forward...

    It is frustrating. We are all adults and prepared for the exam but it feels like we are still inh the high school...

    L.G.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I have the same solution as the one Sander suggests with one exception: Before I argued lack of IS for claim 5, I argued lack of novelty, as 25Hz is close to 30Hz and according to established case law, each parameter value is not a point but rather disclosed with a margin of uncertainty (usually +/- 10%). So I first argued that this margin of 25Hz takes novelty away from the margin of 30Hz. I found it faif, that the exam was designed that one does not loose time if one decides that A2 is not prior art for claim 1. I decided that the oral disclosure was prior art for two reasons (1) in C one should rather attack more than less, and (2) if one provides all required info ("5Ws"+name the evidence) in the opposition brief then one can provide evidence later without being late. I spent a little too much time on making sure my time ranks and prior arts are right so that I do not miss sth. Thies lead to my attack on claim 6 beeing short as I referred back to claim 1 and said that A2 discloses a mathod of production of the device of claim 1 so that everything except the measuring step is altready disclosed there. The incentive to use the measuring step is already in A2 (mentioned disadvanatage to be time consuming) and the incemtive was also in the combination document.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When there is a different technical effect, 25 and 30 are definitely different technical teachings. But nice try. An additional attack never hurts.

      Delete
    2. If a value is dislosed and falls within the claimed range then the technical effect is irrelevant. Here 25Hz falls outside of 30-80Hz, unless one argues along the above suggested mergin of errors, as the values are not points.

      I have exactly the same attacks but more definitions from A1, which I used for the attacks, for example I ofetn used [0016] for the electric component and [0017] for the matrix. I also think there was a translation error in the German claims.

      Delete
  16. I agree with many of the above comments, it was really a time-pressure exam. Personally, I saw the novelty attack o claim 1 using A5. However, at that time I already made two attacks and thought that I would do the A5-attack if time was available at the end. It was not... Furthermore, I have two comments regarding the remaining attacks.

    Claim 5: I really struggle with choosing between A3 and A5. Unfortunately I chose A3 as CPA. The arguments for not choosing A5 is that A5 only concerns longitudinal waves. Why would a skilled person have an incentive to be interested in torsional modes then? When looking at it in a more relaxed way afterwards I can see that A5 may be more appropriate, but this is only due to the fact that the distinguishing feature resulting from choosing A5 is associated to a more spot-on technical effect, does anyone agree?

    Claim 4(3): In the stress I did not see the A123(2)-attack. I therefore did an inventive step attack using A2+A6. Is there any chance that this may result in some points?

    /O

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The arguments for not choosing A5 is that A5 only concerns longitudinal waves.

      I've seen that argument before. Also in the first comment on this page. It may be a correct observation, but it is not relevant.

      The objective technical problem does not have to be mentioned in the closest prior art. When defining the problem it is only required that it would be relevant for the closest prior art. The problem is derived from the technical effects mentioned in A1. Based on A1 and the further context provided in the exam, there is no reason to believe that torsional waves would not be an issue in skis.

      In practice, the problem is usually not mentioned in the closest prior art. If the problem is acknowledged and the solution is obvious, why would it not have been solved already? In the exam, the problem is often hinted at in the closest prior art to provide you with an additional hint and an argument (which is worth marks). It is important to look for such hints and arguments, but you can attack the claim without it.

      Delete
  17. Only did novelty attack against claim 1 based on A2. You think that it will attract no points? I saw the lack of novelty in view of A5 and also though I would do it if time left which was not the case.
    Like most, no time to finish :( did not do claim 6 although I knew which documents should be used to attack the inventive step.
    One hour extra was really needed for this paper!!!
    Ana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You will get marks for any expected attack (and sometimes for well-argued alternatives). The complexity of the attack determines the number of marks. Assuming that the three novelty attacks were equally difficult (may not be the case), you can score max. 1/3 of the marks for claim 1.

      Delete
  18. Will you also publish answers for paper A and B chemistry? I see it has been done for mechanics but not for chemistry.
    Samuel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our answer to A-chemistry was published yesterday evening. B-chemistry probably later today.

      Our answers to DI and DII as well as Pre-Exam are also available on the respective blogs.

      Also refer to http://eqe-deltapatents.blogspot.com/

      Delete
  19. Could please anyone provide a good reasoning for A. 123 (2)? Remember claim 3 did not claim being flat (this was claim 2)...
    Thanks in advance :)
    Plus any guesses how many scores will one get with the correct A.123(2) but crappy reasoning? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Added subject-matter claim 4.
    Added is that the piezoelectric material is P27.
    You need to check the description for a potential basis for this.
    [0013] introduces P27 and also [0014] mentions it.
    [0013] introduces an embodiment wherein the peizoelectric material is formed into a flat piece (e.g. a platelet). For this embodiment, P27 is preferred. In [0014] P27 is mentioned again, in a flat form. There is no indication of using P27 in a non-flat form.
    Claim 4(2) is restricted to a flat piece (the other features of claims 1 and 2 also have a basis). Thus claim 4(2) does not have added subject-matter.

    Claim 4(3) is NOT restricted to using a flat piece. Instead this relates to another embodiment, whererin no platelets are used but fibres made of a piezoelectric materail embedded in a matrix, e.g. polymer resin. This embodiment is described in [0017] wherein it does not mention P27 but uses PGGB as the piezoelectric material. Thus the claimed embodiment of 4(3) is not disclosed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, Jelle, understood ��

      Delete
  21. The EQE Forum shows some comments worth repeating here:

    On 26-02-15, 03:25 PM, slartibartfast posted:

    That was definitely a 6 hour paper... 4 attacks against claim 1 and arguably multiple attacks against others. Lots of priority issues. An internet page as evidence of oral disclosure. Really very unpleasant

    To which jinping responded on 26-02-15, 04:10 PM with;

    yes, 6 hours paper.

    And on 26-02-15, 04:14 PM, weansa0 -2011 candidate- posted:

    C2015 - One extra hour was needed indeed.

    Which was also the opinion of Floriani (26-02-15, 04:16 PM):

    Sehr umfangreiche Aufgabe. Viele Informationen im Mandantenschreiben, 7 Ansprüche, 5 Entgegenhaltungen, Nicht einfaches A. 123 (2) Problem, 26 Seiten insgesamt......Good Luck !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Further posts on the EQE Forum as to the length:

      nunofeup on 26-02-15, 05:33 PM:

      5h? For this paper? Not fair


      27-02-15, 09:58 AM #16, Rozanna:

      yeah, 5h is not enough, for those who didn't write in their mother tongue it was a horror, not fair (


      27-02-15, 05:00 PM #24, caromuffa:

      I just received an email with the survey https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/29d6e5a,
      I suggest the people like me thinking that Paper C was terribly time consuming to reflect their concerns on this survey.


      27-02-15, 05:00 PM #25, lucho:

      I agree almost in everything. The main problem for me is that persons of the Comitee who prepared or wrote the exam are separated or live in a different world than the candidates. I couldn't finish the exam. Comitee seemed that reduced one hour because reduced the material needed, but they increased it in the last exam. This is unfair, totally unfair, specially if you are not a native speaker of one of the official languages.

      Comitee should realize that if a native-speaker reads a document in 10 minutes there is a multiplier factor for those who don't have these official languages. It's not a question to write in your language, it's a question of reading.

      To which UserX responded (27-02-15, 05:36 PM #26) with:

      ...the EQE is not the exclusive playground of the EPO. The only body with an interest in keeping pass rates down would be the existing body of attorneys, not the EPO (think it through).
      ...because you are supposed to be able to represent in the official languages of the EPC.
      ...Paper C has already been simplified to one official language, rather than requiring at least understanding of another (something we attorneys should bear that in mind when reading posts about EPO examiners who speak at least three and wouldn't mind AT ALL having that condition back, or even adding an active section - which would stuff many of us!).
      The papers are written and checked every year by a panel, the marking is moderated to be as fair as possible; I failed a paper last year and resat it - that's life.
      I'd say I hope we ALL pass, but that would be stretching anyone's credibility

      Delete
    2. Which led 27-02-15, 06:51 PM #27 PollardP (Tutor) to submit the following:

      I am not a member of the Examination Committees or Board - just a tutor who has been involved in the exams for several years and I have talked to a number of people in the committees over the years. I am commenting to clear up some of the comments made.


      The exam is made jointly by epi members and the EPO - it is not an EPO exam.
      Everybody involved is trying to make a fair paper with the means that they have available. There is not a conspiracy to fail as many people as possible.
      The timing is tested during the process of making the exam - they have a number of guinea-pigs who test the exam under exam conditions.
      Nowhere in the regulations does it say that it has to be made such that everybody can finish - they are making an exam that a well-prepared candidate can pass. This is a common exam technique - they force you to make choices about what to do and how much detail.
      They take into account that not everyone is working in their mother language as much as possible
      To pass you only need 50 (in most cases 45 points)
      You do not know how the points will be allotted (for which claims and which attacks) when you do the exam


      If you feel strongly enough, then file a complaint. The Examination Board will take it seriously and they will discuss it.

      The EQE tutors have a meeting every year with the Examination Committees to discuss the papers, so we will certainly bring this up.

      I hope you all pass of course, but if you do fail, don't make the mistake of wishing the exam is something else - such a negative attitude makes it difficult to approach the exam correctly next time.

      Delete
    3. Which made legrandblond to submit (27-02-15, 09:25 PM #29)


      I would like to reply to the comments of PollardP and UserX. I feel that we are discussing two separate problems here. The first one is the difficulty of this year's C exam. The second problem is the additional complication for non-native speaker problem. EPO attorneys are supposed to be able to communicate with the EPO examiners in one of the official EPO languages. While for non-native speakers, this is not a problem under everyday working conditions. But not being a native speaker can become a serious handicap under exam conditions. There are some statistics out there on the EQE pass rate per country. See for example http://www.jddcourses.co.uk/wp-conte...QE-courses.pdf page 5 (or even clearer graph 1 from: http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=fr) (please note that the latter article is from cache as the original web site seems to be unavailable). One can read from these graphs that for example in Italy the pass rates are far below that of other countries. I do not think that this is due to a poor education level of the Italian candidates. Rather I believe that this is a clear demonstration of the accrued time needed to work through the exam due to the additional language problem. The graphs show that this is not a minor issue.

      Delete
    4. And Haas wrote in response to all this (28-02-15, 10:17 AM #31):

      I do _not_ think that paper C 2015 was too difficult or has any unfair traps.
      Difficulty of paper C 2015 was ok, testing "fitness to practice" in an adequate manner.
      Except the time pressure.

      Quote Originally Posted by PollardP:
      "Everybody involved is trying to make a fair paper with the means that they have available. There is not a conspiracy to fail as many people as possible."

      If you look on on the C papers 2012 to 2015, you will see that the committee obviously tries to press the (unintended?) high pass rate of 2013 down again to about 1/3 by increasing time pressure.
      It seems that there is a conspiracy to fail at least 2/3 of candidates in paper C.

      ""Nowhere in the regulations does it say that it has to be made such that everybody can finish - they are making an exam that a well-prepared candidate can pass. This is a common exam technique - they force you to make choices about what to do and how much detail."

      This statement can be accepted for other papers, such as paper D. In paper D, if you cannot finish, you will be missing marks according to the percentage you are too slow and miss questions, or according to the reduced deepness of details - you have a choice when working on paper D.
      However, the problem is that time pressure has a much more fatal effect in paper C than in paper D. In paper D you are writing your answers step by step from the beginning more or less continuously over the 5 hours.
      But time pressure has an _overproportional_ effect in paper C, since you cannot omit any analysing step before starting writing the first of the A.100(a) attacks, which account for the lion's share of marks.
      It is not true that you can choose "what to do and how much detail" you prepare when going through the annexes.
      You will gain any marks ONLY on the use of details and the corresponding argumentation.
      There is no opportunity to take a shortcut. You must do the complete analysing work first in complete detail.

      Thus, if you miss 20% (1h) extra for writing all well prepared attacks, your writ is missing 50% of the A.100(a) attacks and you will fail for sure.
      Then, 15 min more would have been enough to write an additional attack and achieve the 45+ marks.

      This means that, for many candidates, passing paper C depends on speed only and 15min more or less are very often the tipping point.
      The result is that many candidates who are really fit for practice fail paper C only because of inadequate time pressure, not because of their incapability of writing an opposition writ.

      Can this be the meaning of the EQE?
      Clearly not.
      Why is it important for the EQE committee, that the pass rate in paper C is as low as 1/3?
      What is the problem of >40% of candidates passing, if there is less time pressure like in 2013?
      Would this be a problem for the EPO, or for the epi, or for industries?

      In short: It is not adequate and there is no reasonable argument for making time pressure the dominating criterion for paper C.

      Delete
    5. To with TabbyCat agreed (01-03-15, 01:26 PM #32):

      Default efficiency in analysis

      Quote Originally Posted by Haas:

      "But time pressure has an _overproportional_ effect in paper C, since you cannot omit any analysing step before starting writing the first of the A.100(a) attacks, which account for the lion's share of marks.
      It is not true that you can choose "what to do and how much detail" you prepare when going through the annexes.
      You will gain any marks ONLY on the use of details and the corresponding argumentation.
      There is no opportunity to take a shortcut. You must do the complete analysing work first in complete detail."

      I agree with Haas that time pressure is high and that you cannot skip part of the analysis. This means that you have to analyse the paper efficiently in order to have enough time left to write your argumentation and score your marks. Maybe that efficency of analysis is something they try to test you for as well?

      i note that many preparation courses teach a method for the analysis that makes you fill out several tables, requiring you to copy the claims entirely etc. These methods may look very thorough, but are also very time consuming. So could it be time to rethink the method for the analysis?
      Maybe the C-course at Maastricht University [NL] offers help in this respect. They teach a newly developed method that does not require copying large amount of text or filling out huge tables, but is still accurate. Maybe this method is better suited for the current exams.

      Delete
    6. Whereto Haas replied (01-03-15, 03:19 PM #33):

      Quote Originally Posted by TabbyCat:

      "So could it be time to rethink the method for the analysis?
      Maybe the C-course at Maastricht University [NL] offers help in this respect. They teach a newly developed method that does not require copying large amount of text or filling out huge tables, but is still accurate. Maybe this method is better suited for the current exams."

      Having a more efficient analysing method may help a smaller number of candidates by gaining an advantage over the other candidates.
      So far so good.

      But this cannot work for the majority of candidates, as long as the EQE committee will continue to press the pass rate down to 1/3 by then further increasing the time pressure.
      And obviously, exactly this appears to be the target of the EQE committee.

      Delete
    7. And, with post of 02-03-15, 07:32 AM #34, Confoosius:

      Quote Originally Posted by Haas:

      "But time pressure has an _overproportional_ effect in paper C, since you cannot omit any analysing step before starting writing the first of the A.100(a) attacks, which account for the lion's share of marks.
      It is not true that you can choose "what to do and how much detail" you prepare when going through the annexes."

      I attended C four times, 2011 till 2014 until I finally passed. I attended only the CEIPI 2 day prep course in Strasbourg and bought the C-Book. I also looked at Delta Patents Methodology and Rosenich's Focussing. None of these three methods is advising you to do a full analysis for all claims. On the contrary, they advise you in all three methods to start collecting points as early as possible by writing down as much as you surely know. C-Book tells you to write novelty attacks on all claims based on all documents. If there is a novelty attack possible, it will be in the stack of paper. If you need an inventive step attack, you start the analysis AFTER you wrote down the novelty attacks and you just have to find out which documents to combine and fill in the reasoning in between these novelty attacks which are citing the features of the claim under attack.

      None of these three methods is recommending to fill out several tables, requiring you to copy the claims entirely (see TabbyCat). As TabbyCat noticed, such a method simply takes too much time.
      Rethinking the method of analysis has already been done and recommended by at least three authors. It did NOT affect the pass rate, which has been around one third for years, with exceptions like 2007 and maybe 2012 (which was promptly followed by a higher pass rate in 2013).

      Delete
    8. And then (02-03-15, 11:56 AM #35) burninggu replied:

      I'm a first sitter for all papers, so I do not expect much for this year. In any case, I've studied the methodology for C, and tried some past papers. ABD were not particularly time pressing this year though i'm a first sitter, but C was quite pressing. Just after examination, I thought I were not prepared enough and did not have managed hours of examination properly. But after reading articles in this forum, it seems that the paper C of this year was not easy itself compared to past papers in terms of time management.

      When I tried paper C of 2014 as a test, I became quite relieved after finding out that the stuff needed to be written were drastically reduced compared to other past papers.

      Quote Originally Posted by Confoosius:
      "If there is a novelty attack possible, it will be in the stack of paper. If you need an inventive step attack, you start the analysis AFTER you wrote down the novelty attacks and you just have to find out which documents to combine and fill in the reasoning in between these novelty attacks which are citing the features of the claim under attack."

      This year, as far as I remember, there were 3 or 4 possible novelty attacks to claim 1. None of these could be skipped because the attacks to the dependent claims were more or less relevant to the attack of the claim 1. Just writing NOVELTY ATTACKS to claim 1 required considerable time. Some guys having a robot arm capable of writing at a speed 100 WPM (words per minute) might write even inventive step attack to claim 1.

      Confoosius is saying something very theoretical. If you read some articles from other people who posted their possible answer, nobody has ever said they attacked claim 1 with inventive step. Many people, at least writing in this forum, would be prepared enough to decide to avoid redundant attacks if there is no time.

      The problem of this year's paper may be that even though a candidate reduces issues to be discussed as much as possible time was not enough. The MINIMUM BUT ABSOLUTE information to be dealt with in the paper was a lot.

      As I mentioned above, a human being equipped with a robot arm capable of writing at a speed of 100 WPM would write everything he wants.

      I'm not very concerned about this year's result, but I'm quite concerned of next's year's paper if I need to resit. Difficulty for analysis, technology, and English, I think, was moderate, i.e. not particularly difficult. But, time was short.

      So, what I can do for another one year may be to register a gym, and strengthen my index finger, thumb, wrist, and shoulder to write like a machine. Maybe not too bad, because I can get at least health.

      Delete
    9. Confoosius did NOT AGREE about time being a problem (02-03-15, 05:47 PM #38):

      Quote Originally Posted by Haas:
      "Missing time (for writing) at the end of paper C means missing an overproportional amount of marks.

      Yes.
      One can suppose that nearly every candidate is using one of the recommended methods of tackling paper C taught by the C-book or other competent sources.
      And nevertheless, a considerable portion of the candidates is able to adequately use the information presented and to argue correctly for gaining marks, but fails only on grounds of time pressure.
      This cannot be the meaning of the EQE.
      Time pressure should not be a dominating criterion, in particular in paper C.
      As mentioned by others here, this problem is even worse for non-native speakers."

      I failed C THREE times, but NEVER for time pressure

      Delete
    10. And, 02-03-15, 06:13 PM #40, Confoosius wrote;

      Quote Originally Posted by Haas:
      "You surely know effective dates of claims and usability of annexes A2 to A6 first. Of course, you should write down these things early."

      Effective Dates: yes, you have to know that right from the start according to the C-Book
      Usability: No, you can decide on usability as CPA or combination document really after you wrote the list of features from document A2 to AX in the terms of the Claims. The argumentation why a certain document is CPA or a combination document is awarded lots of Points. This is also what most of the candidates with <45 pts get wrong / missing /incomplete and what causes their failure.

      Btw, I am not saying that this year's Exam could be done in 5 hrs, all that I am saying is (like Mr Pollard) that it is possible to achieve 45 or more Points even if you did not make it to the last Claim.

      Delete
    11. With made Haas to react on 02-03-15, 08:51 PM #41:

      Quote Originally Posted by Confoosius:
      "Effective Dates: yes, you have to know that right from the start according to the C-Book
      Usability: No, you can decide on usability as CPA or combination document ..."

      I meant usability with respect to the 54(2)(3) question.

      "Btw, I am not saying that this year's Exam could be done in 5 hrs, all that I am saying is (like Mr Pollard) that it is possible to achieve 45 or more Points even if you did not make it to the last Claim."

      Yes, that's correct.
      I do not say that it is implossible to pass.
      But the tipping point is the time pressure: Having enough time (15-20 min) for writing down the third of in total five (already prepared) IS attacks is decisive for achieving 45 or 50 marks - irrespective of the fact that you have proven the understanding of IS attacks twice with reasonably correct IS attacks for claims 2 and 3, for example. On the other hand, writing the IS attacks in less detail in order to finish all attacks does not help, because you gain marks on the details only.
      And exactly that is the problem for a considerable portion of the candidates.

      I do not say that time pressure is the only criterion in paper C and that candidates only fail because of time pressure.
      I say: time pressure is (very often) a too dominant criterion because of its _overproportional_ effect in paper C, and that this is not an adequate method for testing "fitness to practice" in paper C.
      Of course, varying time pressure is a very easy way to adjust the pass rate.
      But why is a pass rate of 1/3 per se desirable?

      Delete
    12. Today, Sibelius wrrote (4-3-2015 10:36 AM #47)

      I agree that five hours was too short for this exam. Hopefully there will be some way of compensation in the marking.

      Although I was (in my humble opinion) very well prepared also here time pressure became an issue at the end of the exam. Analyzing the prior art and to determine how to possibly deal with it (and how certainly not), determining effective dates and how to solve how everything could be used in attacks took a significant amount of time. Hopefully this whole analysis, which I wrote down pretty detailed, will also attract a serious amount of marks.

      As Mr. Pollard indicated it is not the goal to finish the paper but to gain enough marks to pass the exam. Hopefully I wrote down enough in sufficient detail to get enough marks to pass. After finishing the exam I had at least the feeling that I did everything that I could (both during preparation and during the exam) and that gives at least some relieve: “I know that I’m fit for practice” ;-).

      Having a look at the expected (!) attacks (according to BLOG at the DeltaPatents website), it appears that I did 7 of the 9 attacks as expected and that for one of the two incorrect attacks I did a novelty attack starting from the closest prior art for the expected inventive step attack (so no full inventive step attack; but the analysis of what the closest prior art discloses should provide at least some marks). Also I was not able to even think/start with the attack on claim 6… So in the end I missed two Inventive Step attacks. I expect/hope that this is not ‘deadly’.

      I indicated the above ‘feeling’ in my response back in the questionnaire to the EQE Secretariat. Hope that the correctors will be extra nice to us, but mostly I hope that I will never have to re-sit the C-paper exam! (meaning that I passed all papers and will become an European Patent Attorney in 2015).

      So now fingers-crossed during the next few months!

      Delete
    13. It is clearly required to have an approach in which the time required for initial analysis is limited. We, at DeltaPatents, already many years ago developed a new technique (goal-oriented searching) which limits the time required for the initial analysis but nevertheless gives a good overview such that confidence in having seen the intended attacks increases. The technique has been developed over more than a decade and has tested by hundreds of candidates. The pass rates of our candidates and average number of marks has increased.The method is more or less stable for several years, having gone through many revisions. We've applied the technique in full detail to more than 10 papers.
      Since no technique will suit everybody, we can also advise individual candidates who struggle passing the C exam on a more person-specific approach.

      Delete
  22. Also on the EQE Forum:

    26-02-15, 04:33 PM, Tony:

    Time was not enough. My attacks:
    C1: N-A5, N-A6
    C2: IS. A3+A4
    C3: IS. A2+A6+A3
    C4+2: IS A3+A4
    C4+3: 123(2)
    C5: IS A5 + A3
    C6: IS A2 + A3

    I couldn't write all the attacks.

    And on 26-02-15, 04:37 PM, ny123 posted (as corrected on 26-02-15, 04:39 PM) :

    My attacks:
    1: novelty A5; novelty A6; IS A3 + A4
    2: IS A3 + A4
    3: IS A2 + A6
    4(2): IS A3 + A4
    4(3): added matter
    5: IS A5 + A3
    6: ran out of time...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I can strongly recommend the DeltaPatents C Methodology courses, and their correction paper program.

    Thx to their course and their marking of & feedback to my papers, I could do this paper in 4h40 minutes and I expect to score about 55-60 marks based on what is all on this blog.

    They have a really good methodology, very time efficient: can really recommend!

    Martin

    ReplyDelete
  24. Confoosius write on the EQE Forum (02-03-15, 06:13 PM #40):

    Quote Originally Posted by Haas:
    "You surely know effective dates of claims and usability of annexes A2 to A6 first. Of course, you should write down these things early."

    Effective Dates: yes, you have to know that right from the start according to the C-Book
    Usability: No, you can decide on usability as CPA or combination document really after you wrote the list of features from document A2 to AX in the terms of the Claims. The argumentation why a certain document is CPA or a combination document is awarded lots of Points. This is also what most of the candidates with <45 pts get wrong / missing /incomplete and what causes their failure.

    Btw, I am not saying that this year's Exam could be done in 5 hrs, all that I am saying is (like Mr Pollard) that it is possible to achieve 45 or more Points even if you did not make it to the last Claim.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Martin,

    Thx for expressing your appreciation for our methodology courses!

    ReplyDelete
  26. A summary of our Methodology and other EQE courses is given in the parallel blog http://eqe-deltapatents.blogspot.nl/

    For more details, please refer to our website.

    ReplyDelete