They say that history repeats itself. But while it may have taken 30 odd years for your parent’s oversized denim jackets to come back in fashion it appears that the EQE/CIPA exam venue issue comes around on a far shorter timescale.
It was only three years ago, for EQE 2017, that a number of candidates were told that they had not secured their preferred venue in the UK and were instead being allocated to Munich.
Now, IPcopy is aware of at least two candidates (one pre-EQE and one main EQE) who have just discovered, only a few weeks before the exams, that they have not been allocated seating in Walsall but in Munich.
There are notable differences to three years ago however. Last time, there was a clear notification about the exam venue. This time all candidates appear to have received a basic email about the “Allocated Centre” that requires further action (clicking on a link and logging into the EQE portal) to obtain the information.
IPcopy notes that although the “Allocated Centre” email was sent to November last year, in one case, at least, it has been caught by a Spam filter* and so has gone unnoticed. For something so important as the venue allocation IPcopy is surprised that the EQE portal didn’t require some kind of acknowledgement to be made. [It appears that the allocated centre email has gone to all candidates and not just those who haven’t secured their preferred location. If everyone is getting what looks to be the same email then some affected candidates may have assumed their email would be the same as colleagues who have had the Walsall location confirmed and may not as a result have checked their own email.]
Additionally, newer candidates may be wholly unaware of the series of exam related issues that happened three-four years ago and would have had no reason to follow the link in the email. The average candidate probably would have thought that the venue information should not be something that needed checking 5 months before the exam dates. After all, there’s only one UK venue and how hard can it be to organise a suitable venue for all UK patent exams?
IPcopy cannot quite believe this is happening again. Exams are stressful enough without the worry of the need to organise last minute flights and hotel accommodation. Unfortunately candidates could find themselves travelling alone (because their colleagues have secured the UK venue) and required to navigate around an unfamiliar location.
It also seems possible that some candidates could be unaware that they’ve not secured the UK venue. Some people may have assumed they are in Walsall and might be planning on leaving it until the exam venue/day of the exam before working out where they’re sitting which will be catastrophic if they’ve been allocated to Munich.
IPcopy has heard from one affected candidate that they’ve been told there’s no chance of changing their location to the UK. We would hope that CIPA will do whatever is needed to make sure all UK candidates can sit the exam in their preferred location. In the meantime:
- Please check your exam venues.
- Please ask your colleagues to check their exam venues.
IPcopy 20 February 2020
* This point is perhaps important to appreciate because it might be needed to head off any suggestions that suitable notification has been made and by implication that the fault for not picking this up sits with the candidates.