Page published on 6th December 2022
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The European Patent Office (EPO) have been consulting over a proposed new European Qualifying Examination (EQE) framework. IP Inclusive responded to that consultation in July 2022. We stressed the importance of ensuring the new EQE would be accessible and inclusive for a wide range of candidates, including disabled and neurodivergent people, parents and carers.
We were delighted to see, in the EPO’s November 2022 analysis of the feedback they received, several mentions of the need to improve accessibility. The published analysis includes direct references to IP Inclusive’s submissions. We have clearly not gone unheard.
Amongst the follow-up they propose on assessment methodologies, the EPO promise “follow-up on diversity and inclusion and digital examination (notably with regard to visual impairment, disability and work-life balance)”. In their consultation feedback analysis, when addressing specific aspects of the online examination platform, they comment that “When it comes to disability, while possibilities provided by the online examination platform were welcomed (customising font sizes, enablement of some assistive technologies), more work will be done on enabling assistive technologies and paying due attention to inclusive actions when amending the EQE legal setting.”
The new EQE proposals included a more modular approach to assessment, and a format better adapted for online evaluation. IP Inclusive’s July 2022 response (see here) urged the EPO’s Examination Secretariat to:
- optimise the format of the EQEs to suit the diverse needs of disabled candidates;
- ensure that the procedures used to assess and award reasonable adjustments for disabled candidates are both clear and aligned with those used in comparable examinations; and
- take account of the impact of exam timings on parents and carers.
You can access the EPO’s consultation feedback analysis, together with their accompanying conclusions and follow-up proposals, here.
Our thanks to Marianne Privett, co-lead of IP Ability, who took the lead on the IP Inclusive submissions. We are also grateful to our IP Non-traditional Family Network and Women in IP community for their input.
This is fantastic work, well done all.