EQE Pre-exam training

Faculty of Law

EQE Pre-exam training - Claim Analysis part
EQE Pre-exam training - Legal Questions 

Maastricht University offers training for candidates preparing for the Pre-Examination of the European Qualifying Examination (EQE).

Passing the Pre-Exam is your ticket to participating in the EQE. In the Pre-Exam, you have to show that you have legal knowledge of the framework of European patent law and that you have sufficient experience in reading, interpreting and analysing patent claims.

All course materials and teaching will be in English.

On campus, if you can. Online, if you need to

In spite of the current COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges it poses, we will continue to use the Problem-based-Learning we are so well-known for. Whether you will be able to come to Maastricht or not, we aim to offer you the small-scale, full of interaction education we stand for. Working together in small groups on relevant issues in an internationally-oriented setting remains at the core of our education.

Read more about the ‘on campus at the university if possible, online if necessary' approach of our faculty at the webpage 'Experience Maastricht!'. 

Pre-Exam - Claim Analysis

The claim analysis part of the Pre-Exam does not only require the skills to understand and analyse patent claims. In addition, a large amount of information has to be processed in an efficient way.

In November 2020, Maastricht University offers candidates preparing for the Pre-Exam a 2-day training course focused on the claim-analysis part. This training course will teach you how to apply theoretical concepts such as scope of protection, novelty, inventive step, clarity, and allowability of amendments in a practical way to the type of questions asked in the Pre-Exam. In addition, the course will help you to build your confidence that you can pass the Pre-Exam.

Workshop duration: 2 days
Dates: Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 November 2020
The course will be given by Natasja Duhayon and/or Nyske Blokhuis​
Online learning: from December 2020 to March 2021,
you will receive several ​assignments

EQE Exam Training

More information:

Pre-Exam - Legal Questions

The legal questions of the Pre-exam requires you to quickly and correctly apply your legal knowledge to a legal situation presented in each of the 10 questions.

In November 2020, Maastricht University offers candidates preparing for the Pre-Exam a 1-day training course focused on the legal questions. This training course will teach you a practical methodology for answering multiple-choice legal questions. In addition, the course will help you to build your confidence that you can pass the Pre-Exam.

Workshop duration: 1 day
Dates: Wednesday 4 November 2020
The course will be given by Jeroen Declerck and/or
 Cees Mulder
Online learning: from December 2020 to March 2021, you will receive at least 6 assignments

In the Pre-Exam courses, use will be made of the methodology book "True or False" written by Nyske Blokhuis and Natasja Duhayon and the reference book "Topic-Related Index to the EPC and PCT" written by Cees Mulder (see​.

Expert trainers

The EQE Pre-Exam training will be given by Natasja Duhayon, Jeroen Declerck and/or Cees Mulder and Nyske Blokhuis.

Natasja Duhayon holds a PhD in physics from the University of Leuven (BE) and has been working at IMEC International since 1999. In 2006, she joined the Patent Group of IMEC International. Natasja passed the EQE in 2015 after attending the EQE training courses in Maastricht. Since 2019, Natasja has been lecturing in the Advanced Masters Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management (IPKM) given at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University.

Jeroen Declerck studied micro-electronics at Leuven University (BE). He is a European patent attorney with experience in software, micro-electronics, telecommunication and electro-mechanics. Jeroen is a director of IP HILLS. He is a lecturer in the Advanced Masters in Intellectual Property Law and Knowledge Management (IPKM) at Maastricht University.

Cees Mulder studied Physics and Chemistry at Utrecht University. After completing his PhD in Physics at Leiden University, Cees worked at Philips Electronics in 1982, first as a researcher and subsequently as a Dutch and a European patent attorney. From 2001-2009, he was one of the founding partners of DeltaPatents. In 2009, he became a Lecturer Industrial Property Law at the Faculty of Law of Maastricht University. In 2011, Cees defended a PhD thesis entitled: “On the Alignment of the European Patent Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty with Requirements of the Patent Law Treaty”. In 2017, Cees was appointed professor of European Patent Law in a Global Context at Maastricht University.
More on Cees Mulder

Nyske Blokhuis studied mechanical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (NL) and has been a patent attorney with EP&C since 2001. Before becoming a patent attorney, she worked as an engineer and as a failure analysis specialist.
More on Nyske Blokhuis

Register for the Pre-exam training

You can register for the EQE Pre-exam training by filling in our online registration form

Cancellations can be made until 14 days before the commencement of the course. You will receive a full refund of the fee minus an administrative charge of €150. After this date, no refunds can be made.

Course fees

The cost of the training for the Pre-Exam- Claim Analysis  is €1.035,- and for the Legal Questions is €525,-  If both courses are taken, the price is €1.495,- 
This includes tuition, course materials, coffee/tea, lunches.

Requirements of the European Qualifying Examination

To qualify as a European patent attorney, you need to pass the European Qualifying Examination (EQE), which is administered by the European Patent Office (EPO). The EQE takes place once a year in the last week of February. The pass rate is less than 50%. The EQE consists of a Pre-exam and a main exam. 

After completing three years working in the European patent profession, under the supervision of a European patent attorney, and upon passing the pre-exam, the main exam may be taken. The main exam consists of four written Papers divided over three consecutive days. The Papers of the Main Exam may be taken all at once or divided over multiple sittings (different years). Only candidates with a suitable qualification such as a university degree in science or technology may enrol for the EQE. 

The main exam includes three practical papers and one legal paper:

Paper A: drafting of a European patent application 

Paper B: amendment of a European patent application 

Paper C: filing a notice of opposition against granted European patent

Paper D: part DI involves answering a set of legal questions, and part DII involves drafting a legal opinion following an inquiry from a client 

Success rate

Since the introduction of the EQE Pre-Exam in 2012, the pass rate of the paper has decreased. In the first two years, the pass rate was above 98%. In 2014, the score to pass the Pre-Exam was raised from 50 to 70 out of 100 points. In addition, the difficulty of the questions has gradually evolved. Currently, the pass rate of the Pre-examination is around 75%.