The EQE is organised and conducted by an Examination Board consisting of EPO employees and accredited members of the European Patent Institute (EPI). The Board is attended by an Examinations Secretary.

Aim of the EQE

The EQE is designed to establish whether the candidate has the requisite aptitude and knowledge to represent applicants before the EPO.

EQE syllabus

Candidates need to be particularly conversant with European patent law, the Patent Co-operation Treaty (Patent Cooperation Treaty, PCT), the Paris Convention, the EPO Board of Appeal case law and certain national laws insofar as they apply to European patent applications and European patents.


The examination papers are drawn up in the three official languages of the EPO (English, French and German). Candidates may be permitted to submit their answers in another official language of a contracting country.

The EQE, held once a year, comprises four papers:

  • Paper A (3 1/2 hours)
    Tests the candidate's ability to draft claims and the introductory part of a European patent application.
  • Paper B (4 hours)
    Requires candidates to prepare a response to an official letter citing the prior state of the art.
  • Paper C (6 hours)
    Involves drafting a notice of opposition to a European patent.
  • Paper D (7 hours in total)
    Consists of legal questions (part I, 3 hours); candidates are also asked for a legal assessment of a specific situation (part II, 4 hours).

Passing the EQE

To pass the EQE, candidates are required to pass all examination papers. However, at the first sitting, there is a compensatory system whereby under certain circumstances, low marks can be offset by good marks in other papers.

EQE notices will be published in the “About the EQE” on the website of the European Patent Office.