Advice from PCC
The Professional Conduct Committee has recently addressed -in a specific working group- some issues relating to the ways an epi member should behave when showing to have passed the EQE. It seems advisable to report what was discussed and concluded within the working group, as this may be of interest for many epi members.
Relevant provisions in this respect are the following:
Regulation on Discipline, Art. 1(2) Code of Conduct, Art. 5(b) Council decision 4.2.3 of 1986 Council recommendation 188.8.131.52 of 2004 Council recommendation 184.108.40.206 of 2016
Council decision 4.2.3 of 1986 -although not motivated in the relevant minutes- seems correctly based on RoD, art 1(2): communication about EQE-pass should not imply that grandfathers are less fit; and on CoC, art. 5(b): communication about EQE-pass should not discriminate between EQE-passed members and grandfathers.
The discussion within the working group arrived at the following conclusions:
To publish certificate of passing EQE on a company webpage is considered admissible, insofar as this is related to information included in a CV or the like. It seems evident that the mere mention in a CV of having passed the EQE (eventually in a given year) is admissible: it is a fact, a simple piece of information, like any other items in a CV.
To publish certificate of passing EQE on social media including linkedin, facebook and others is also considered admissible, for the same reasoning above in point 1.
To show certificate of passing EQE on slides when tutoring is considered admissible, whereas the tutoring addresses potential EQE candidates. The fact of having passed the EQE might be information of interest of the target group and does not seem to create discrimination.
To inform about EQE in CV using wording such as “(…) has passed European Qualifying Exam in year XXXX“ is considered admissible, for the same reasoning above in point 1.
To mention in the CV “(…) qualifications to represent before European Patent Office confirmed with European Qualifying Exam (…)“ is considered inadmissible. Although referring to a CV, the verb “confirm” does not seem to be the right verb to communicate having passed the examination. The formulation differs from the wording in Article 134(2) EPC and further relevant regulation concerning the EQE.
To mention in the CV “(…) fit to practice before the European Patent Office, as confirmed with European Qualifying Exam (…)“ is considered inadmissible. Also this doesn’t seem to be the right wording to communicate having passed the examination, even if fit-to-practice is a principle applied in EQE marking process. See also point 5 regarding the verb “confirm”.
To use e-mail footer/signature, header in social media, header on a webpage, title slide in presentation etc. indicating successfully taking the EQE (possibly with the addition of the year) is considered inadmissible. The EQE reference in the professional title is not appropriate. The definition of the title is clearly regulated in the Recommendation on the use of titles by Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office220.127.116.11 Recommendation on the use of titles by Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office, C56 Copenhagen 17/05/2004, Collection of Decision (https://patentepi.org/assets/uploads/documents/rules-regulations/epi_CoD-220720_EN.pdf), p. 215., and in the Recommendation of the Council concerning the title (professional designation)18.104.22.168 Recommendation of the Council concerning the title (professional designation), C08 Milan 29-30/05/1980, C44 Helsinki 11-12/05/1998, C80 Athens 23/04/2016, Collection of Decision (https://patentepi.org/assets/uploads/documents/rules-regulations/epi_CoD-220720_EN.pdf), p. 216.; see also the Recommendation on the use of titles by Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office of the Administrative Council of the EPOrgOJ EPO, 11-12/1979, p.452.. It seems evident to PCC that using a reference to EQE in the professional title or in a similar context is not admissible: the title is one and applies equally to all epi members, with no distinction.
Like any advice issued by PCC, this advice does not have regulatory force and is prepared with the intention to provide helpful assistance to members. No liability of any kind attaches to the epi, the Professional Conduct Committee or any members of that Committee in respect of this advice. This advice shall not be binding on the disciplinary bodies.