Friday, July 15, 2022

EPO announced the first EPAC exam

Yesterday, it was announced that the EPO introduces a new certification scheme for patent administrators: EPAC.

The News message indicates:

"The EPO has developed a new certification: the European patent administration certification (EPAC). Designed for paralegals, patent administrators and formalities officers, the EPAC will equip professionals with the knowledge and skills to manage filing, prosecution, grant and maintenance associated processes for European and international patent applications before the EPO. Enrolment begins in September, with the first exam planned on 12 December 2022.

European patent system users have increasingly suggested the convenience of a certification scheme for paralegals and administrative staff working in intellectual property rights. While training and certification opportunities exist in a limited number of countries, demand at the European level is growing. To address these needs, the EPO developed the EPAC, offering tailor-made training in dedicated courses and providing a new high-quality certification.  

The examination focuses on procedural aspects under the European Patent Convention (EPC), the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Paris Convention. It also covers national laws and other agreements applicable to European patents and patent applications, including the London Agreement. Candidates will answer questions on the various patenting routes, application procedures and the procedural, administrative and formalities-related tasks involved."

Preparation for EPAC 2022

DeltaPatents will offer a course covering the EPAC syllabus for candidates that plan to sit EPAC 2022.

DeltaPatents has been offering a similar course to candidates preparing for the national formalities exam in the Netherlands, which also covers the EPC and PCT with essentially the same scope, for many years already. We are therefore able to provide a course to prepare for EPAC 2022 despite the very short notice of the new exam. The course is designed for and directed to paralegals, patent administrators and formalities officers.

The course will consist of a series of 12, ~weekly, half-day online sessions, with interactive presentations and homework by which candidates can further develop their knowledge, understanding and skill. Candidates well need to have sufficient time available to make the homework to benefit optimally from the course. By providing the sessions in an (approximate) weekly rhythm in Q3-Q4 2022, participants get into a steady study mode. By using half-day sessions, participants are able to pay attention full-time while also keeping the amount of new information per session under control. By using an online format, participants can task part from all over Europe - or even outside. The last two sessions will be scheduled in between the Mock and the real exam.

Our detailed course offering is provided on our website: please refer to our EPAC course page and the brochure on that page our detailed announcement and enrollment to the course.

We also offer a variety of books in our webshop that EPAC candidates may find useful. In particular:

Details on EPAC

The EPO website contains a new section with all details about EPAC. We summarize some key aspects below.

General information

  • Rules
    • The EPAC is a professional certification for patent administrators organised by the EPO.
    • EPAC certifies the mastering of procedural administrative tasks relating to the patent granting procedures under the legal systems of the EPC and PCT as further specified in the syllabus defined in Article 8(2).
    • The EPO will issue a certificate to successful candidates having passed the examination.
    • Responsibility for the organisation and administration of the EPAC lies with the European Patent Academy (Academy)

  • Syllabus
    • The examination focuses on procedural aspects under the EPC, PCT and Paris Convention as well as national laws and other agreements in so far as they apply to European patents and patent applications, including the London Agreement
    • Candidates must answer questions on
      • the various patenting routes and application procedures and 
      • the procedural, administrative and formalities-related tasks involved.
    • Candidate must demonstrate the ability:
      • to validly file patent applications with competent authorities on the basis of said regional and international treaties and agreements, as well as 
      • to monitor and carry out in a timely manner any procedural matters, 
      • including payment of applicable fees
    • Candidates must be familiar with 
      • how to monitor time limits, 
      • the filing of documents and 
      • fee payments. 
      • In particular, candidates must demonstrate familiarity with the procedures for remedying deficiencies or losses of rights caused by missed deadlines or payments and non-conformities.
    • Candidates must be capable of determining possible means of redress and be able to deal with all post-grant procedures
    • Candidates may use any books or documents they consider useful for answering the examination papers
    • An extensive, detailed syllabus is provided

EPAC 2022

  • Fees
    • EPAC 2022 enrolment fee: EUR 100
  • Marking rules
    • the exam is a two-stage exam: you must first pass a multiple-choice test of 15 questions in the morning, which is automarked, before you can proceed to the second part consisting of up to six open questions in the afternoon. 
    • Marking will be carried out on the basis of the articles and rules in force on the day of the examination.
    • Candidates will not be asked to specify legal bases in their answers. The markers will focus on the reasoning followed by the candidates and the conclusions reached.
  • Enrolment:
    • Enrolment for the EPAC 2022 will open on 5 September 2022 and run until no later than 30 September 2022.
  • Date of mock and examination:
    • The EPAC 2022 examination will be held online on 12 December 2022
    •  An optional mock exam under exam-style conditions is held on on 21 November 2022
  • Members of EPAC Board
    • The EPAC Board is composed of six EPO employees and six external experts
    • The second part with the open questions will be marked by the EPAC Board

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