EPAC 2023: First impressions?

To all that sat the EPAC exam today, 12 October 2023: please feel invited to post your first impressions and comments.

Was the first part, with multiple-choice questions in the morning, as expected - topics, difficulty, time, balance EPO : PCT international phase : Euro-PCT?

Was the second part, with open questions in the afternoon, as expected - topics, difficulty, time, balance EPO : PCT international phase : Euro-PCT?

If you also sat EPAC 2022 or used it as part of your preparation: how do the two exams compare?

Did Wiseflow run smoothly? Did you consult the online legal texts for EPC and for PCT? (Some candidates reported very slow loading and time-outs)

Note: our answers to the first part (multiple choice) are given in this blog post; our answers to the second part (open questions) will be given in another blog here.


  1. I'm doing the EPAC as a part of my preparation for the paper D of the EQE, therefore my experience may be in some aspects different from many candidates. I also already passed EPAC 2022.

    In terms of the questions, some of them were somewhat difficult, in the sense that I had to look a bit deeper into my resources, because I wasn't familiar with a certain topic. For example, I wasn't aware of the provisions in case of a handwritten amendments in oral proceedings, or whether it is allowed or not. So I definitely learned something new.

    But for me, the most challenging part was the time, especially in part 1. There is barely time to answer the questions, leaving no chances of distractions or revision of the answers. I had the same experience in part 1 of EPAC 2022. For part 2, there is definitely more time, and the fact that legal basis is not required makes it a lot easier. I would really think that part 1 should be extended at least to 90 minutes.

    There were a few questions about forms, for example form 1005 and 1009, which honestly I have no idea what they are. I just assumed they were for acceleration of examination. I hope other candidates were familiar with that in their preparations for the EPAC.

    In general, I would say the overall exam is definitely close to the paper D level, therefore I would expect it was difficult for most typical candidates of the EPAC i.e. who didn't go through pre-EQE and paper D preparations. I don't know if they intended it to be of such difficulty, especially given the fact that last time the pass rate was very low.

    1. Hi Mahmoud,

      I donot think you shall draw conclusions on the difficulty level of an EPAC exam when you are not a formalities officers / paralegal, but are a patent attorney trainee preparing for the EQE. It already shows from your indication that you do not know what forms 1005 (PACE) and 1009 (PPH) are...

      In other words: it is no more than normal that a patent attorney (trainee or qualified) considers the EPAC exam in some aspects more difficult and in other more easy than the EQE exams. They are two different professions!

      For the same reasons, I doubt whether going through Pre-Exam and paper D preparations is that suitable when preparing for EPAC: they also include questions on substantive patent law (priority, amendments, patentability) and they require detailed legal basis in the answer.

      Having said all of that:
      - I do agree that part 1 had some very difficult questions, where the difference between two options was sometimes also very small!
      - I do agree that part 2 was less difficult, but I also noted some aspects when answering them that I expect candidates to have overlooked.
      - It may well be that, in view of the difference in difficulty, most candidates that passed part 1 will also have passed part 2 - and that failing part 1 may have made them fail the exam despite a good score of part 2 (if only that would have been marked...).

    2. There are also other significant differences between EPAC and EQE answering. E.g., the Examiner Report for the earlier EPAC 2022 indicated:
      "General comments on EPAC 2022, part 2
      In this part of the exam, the candidates are not required to provide the legal basis relied on for their answers. Nor are they required to enter strategic considerations. They are only required to reply to the examination question asked."
      Thus, strategic considerations are not required when a formalities officer answers an EPAC question, whereas strategic considerations are usually required when a patent attorney trainee answers a legal EQE question!


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