Are British candidates more likely to succeed in the EQE?
Managing IP recently interviewed leading patent attorneys to discuss why UK candidates who sit for the European Qualifying Examination (EQE), the exam which determines whether they may appear before the European Patent Office (EPO), have a higher pass rate than their French and German counterparts. Cyra Nargolwalla, Partner at Plasseraud IP, was selected as one of two French attorneys to offer her opinion on why this is the case, given her excellent track record with EPO: representing clients in Opposition and Appeal Proceedings before the EPO, in both French and English; and speaking at the EPO several times with Examiners on how to provide better client satisfaction.
The main points that were brought up by all the attorneys from France, Germany and the UK, related to the differences in the national qualification processes in each country and the age at which the exams are taken. Unlike French and German candidates, the UK candidates sit their national exams shortly before the EQE, and it is seen as a test run as it duplicates parts of the EPO exam. Cyra Nargolwalla points out the figures for the French candidates have gone up, and they are performing similarly to their counterparts in the UK. She also speculates that the jump in scores for ‘paper A’ (drafting), from 49% in 2018 to 79% in 2019, could indicate that candidates be re-sitting the exam.
French candidates take their exams at a younger age than the candidates in the UK and Germany, therefore with less experience. This is due to the fact that the EQE exams are considered ‘more prestigious and more useful’ than the French national qualification. There are also less French representatives (those who pass and use their qualification to appear at the EPO), with France’s total at 1,100 compared the UK’s 2,000 and Germany’s 4,000. Cyra Nargolwalla points out that Germany has always had more representatives.