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The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys

Examination Policies

Eligibility Policy

Foundation Examinations  

To be eligible to undertake any of the PEB Foundation Examinations candidates must hold a degree awarded by a UK institution in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics subject (a STEM degree).

Candidates holding a degree not awarded by a UK institution must provide a statement of comparability from NARIC with their application form.

If a candidate does not hold a STEM degree they may apply to the PEB to have alternative qualifications and/or experience considered.

The PEB will recognise any request for eligibility previously granted by the JEB.

Final Examinations           

In order to be eligible to undertake any of the PEB Final Examinations candidates must have passed either:

PEB recognises any eligibility request previously granted by the JEB.

Certificates in Patent Administration

There is no need to obtain any prior qualification in order to be eligible to enter for the Introductory Certificate in Patent Administration.

It is advisable that candidates have a minimum of 6-12 months relevant work experience before undertaking the Introductory Certificate in Patent Administration.

In order to be eligible to undertake the PEB Advanced Certificate in Patent Administration candidates must have passed the PEB Introductory Certificate in Patent Administration or its equivalent.


Exemptions Policy

Qualifying Examinations 

All examination exemptions and passes awarded by the JEB will be accepted as exemptions and passes of the equivalent PEB examinations. They will automatically be transferred from the JEB record to the PEB record. Please note that the PEB policy on granting exemptions differs from that adopted by the JEB.

The PEB can only consider requests for exemptions based on examinations listed in Schedule 3 of the Rules for Examination and Admission of Individuals. 

1. Foundation Certificate

The PEB will consider requests for exemptions from the FC2 (English Law) PEB examination if a candidate has successfully completed one of the Law qualifications or law examinations listed in    Schedule 3 of the Rules for Examination and Admission of Individuals    

The PEB will recognise any exemption previously granted by the JEB. 

2. Introductory Certificate and Advanced Certificate in Patent Administration

Candidates who hold the Certificate in Patent Administration awarded by CIPA are exempt from the Introductory Patent Administration Certificate.


Publishing Key Dates Policy

The PEB will normally publish by the end of the year which precedes the year in which the examination takes place (e.g. by the end of 2016 for 2017 examinations) the examination dates, including the:

        
  • opening and closing dates of the examination registration period
  • dates of the examinations
  • the results issue dates.
      

 


Registration, Payment, Withdrawal and Refund Policies

Registration Policy

Registration for PEB examinations must be made before the published closing date, and payment must be received on or before the published closing date for registration, using the appropriate Examination Registration Form.  Candidates must ensure that they register within the specified time to avoid the late registration fee.

The PEB does not accept applications by email. 

Payment Policy

Payment must be made by Bank transfer (BACs) on receipt of an invoice from PEB Payment must be received before PEB can process the Examination Registration Form.

A receipt or registration form acknowledgement email will be sent within 48 hours of receipt of the Examination Registration Form. This is NOT a confirmation of registration.

Withdrawals and Refund Policies 

Withdrawals from Qualifying Examinations 

If a candidate withdraws from any Qualifying Examination at any time, the fee paid is neither refundable nor transferable after receipt by the candidate of confirmation of registration, with the following exceptions:

A full refund will be given to candidates who:

  • withdraw from FD2 (P3) or FD3 (P4) within one month of the publication of the EQE results;
  • enter for the PEB English Law (FC2) examination and are subsequently granted an exemption before the examination takes place.

If you wish to withdraw from FC2, FD2 or FD3, please contact the PEB. 

Exceptional circumstances: A partial refund may be given to candidates who, due to exceptional circumstances (e.g. illness, pregnancy-related circumstances), withdraw from a Qualifying examination. Candidates should apply to PEB for a refund accompanied by suitable evidence (e.g. a medical report) as soon as possible and, in order to be eligible for a refund, no later than 15  working days before the date of the examination. Any granted refund will be at the discretion of the PEB and will be less an administrative charge as shown below. 

The administrative charge is designed to cover the costs that PEB is committed to once the registration has been confirmed .

Qualifying Examinations

Refund request received by PEB

After registration confirmation has been issued and up to 6 weeks before the start of the examination week

Less than 6 weeks before the examination week starts and no later than 15 working days before the date of the examination

Within 15 working days of the date of the examination

Examination fee refunded less administrative charge of

Foundation

£60

£125

No refund

Finals

£90

£180

No refund

If you wish to withdraw from a Qualifying Examination,  please email peb@cipa.org.uk with your request stating the reason for withdrawal.

 

Withdrawals from the Patent Administration Examination

IPAC course fees are not refundable.

If a candidate withdraws from the ICPA examination at any time, the fee paid is neither refundable nor transferable after receipt by the candidate of confirmation of registration.

A partial refund may be given to candidates who, due to exceptional circumstances (e.g. illness, pregnancy-related circumstances), withdraw from the ICPA examination. Candidates should apply to PEB for a refund accompanied by suitable evidence (e.g. a medical note) as soon as possible and, in order to be eligible for a refund, no later than 15 working days from the date of the examination. Any granted refund will be at the discretion of the PEB and will be less an administrative charge as shown below. 

The administrative charge is designed to cover the costs that PEB is committed to once the registration has been confirmed .

ICPA

Refund request received by PEB

After registration confirmation has been issued and up to 6 weeks before the start of the examination week

Less than 6 weeks before the examination week starts and no later than 15 working days before the date of the examination

Within 15 working days of the date of the examination

Examination fee refunded less administrative charge of

£75

£150

No refund

 If you wish to withdraw from the Patent Administration Examination (ICPA), please email peb@cipa.org.uk with your request.


Late Examination Entry Policy

Where PEB receives both a correctly completed application form AND the entry fee for a PEB examination by the published deadline, the entry will be deemed to have been received by the closing date and will be processed.

Where either the form and/or the payment is not received by the PEB by the published closing date, the PEB may, at its discretion, process the entry on receipt of the late entry fee.


Change of Examination Venue Policy

Requests to change an examination venue from the one originally requested by the candidate will be considered up to six weeks before the examination (PAC) or up to six weeks before the start of the examination week (Qualifying Examinations).

Requests to change venue received after the above stated dates cannot be considered.

 


Missed Examinations and Exceptional Circumstances Policy

Candidates who fail to attend an examination at the prescribed time for whatever reason, will not be allowed to take that examination at a different time in that examination cycle.

If there are exceptional circumstances which cause the candidate to know in advance that they will not be able to attend at the prescribed venue, and if the PEB receives enough notice to make the necessary administrative arrangements, the PEB will seek to accommodate a change of venue request.

For information on refunds for missed examinations please see the PEB Registration, Payment, Withdrawal and Refund Policies .


Reasonable Adjustments Policy    

Reasonable adjustments are the principal way in which the PEB complies with its duty under the Equality Act 2010 to provide fair access to assessment for candidates with special educational needs, health issues, disabilities, temporary or permanent injuries or other specific needs.

PEB reasonable adjustments are agreed before an examination. They allow candidates to access the examination, and show what they know and can do.

The PEB’s Reasonable Adjustments policy provides additional support for the following categories of candidates:

  1. Those with a permanent physical, sensory or mental disability that is likely to affect the candidate throughout their life.
  2. Those with temporary physical, sensory or mental disability that is likely to affect the candidate for less than one year, and is likely to improve. Examples of a temporary disability could include broken limbs or injury to hands which could impair a candidate's ability to write.

Adjustments requested must be reasonable and not give the candidate an unfair advantage. Adjustments that would alter the nature of the assessment and/or undermine the integrity of the examination cannot be granted.

Examples of the adjustments or arrangements that may be granted are:

  • supervised rest breaks for candidates with physical injuries or other conditions and for nursing mothers
  • additional time for candidates with dyslexia or other specific learning need or physical impairment
  • use of readers or scribes
  • modified question papers, for example brailled, printed on coloured paper and/or in an enlarged size (A3), for candidates with visual impairment
  • provision of specialist equipment, for example laptop, specialist software
  • specific seating arrangements within the assessment centre, such as being positioned near the toilet facilities
  • permission to use items, such as tinted reading overlay or magnifying equipment, for candidates with specific needs
  • permission to have medical equipment available during the examination, for example diabetes testing kit.

Examples of adjustments or arrangements that cannot be granted are:

  • additional time plus rest breaks
  • taking the examination in extra sittings, for example, over two days
  • changes to the nature or content of the assessment, for example, changes to the style of the assessment, or the number of questions
  • question papers in a language other than English
  • extra time to accommodate candidates whose first language is not English
  • use of mono-lingual dictionaries
  • use of bilingual dictionaries, for example for candidates whose first language is not English.

These lists do not cover everything. If you have any questions about specific requirements you should email peb@cipa.org.uk for advice.

Timescale for requesting Reasonable Adjustments

It is important that reasonable adjustments are requested early and where specified in the examination registration form to enable PEB to make the necessary arrangements at the examination venue.

It is your responsibility to submit your request together with supporting evidence with your examination registration form or by the registration deadline.

Exceptionally the PEB will consider requests for reasonable adjustments up to six weeks before the examination (ICPA) or up to six weeks before the start of the examination week (Qualifying Examinations).

Applications received close to the deadline will only be considered by the PEB if:

  • there was an unforeseeable, unavoidable circumstance(s) beyond your control that meant you were mentally or physically incapable of submitting your application to request a reasonable adjustment by the deadline, and/or;
  • the circumstances or condition stated in the reason for the adjustment request could not have been known to you before the deadline, and;
  • there is sufficient time remaining before the examination to accommodate the specific adjustment that has been requested, and;
  • there are valid and evidenced reasons why you did not submit the application prior to the deadline.

If the PEB is not able to meet a late request for Reasonable Adjustments, you could consider lodging a Special Consideration request after the examination.

PEB cannot transfer requests for reasonable adjustments from one examination session to the next. You must submit a separate application for adjustments for each examination year. If the condition or specific needs are permanent, then you may support your application with previous evidence, if it is still valid.

Supporting evidence: All applications must be supported by evidence from an appropriately qualified professional such as a doctor, healthcare or educational professional, or another appropriately qualified person.

The professional must be, or have recently been, involved in your care in relation to the condition you have described. The supporting evidence supplied must specify the adjustment requested and why. It is important that the evidence relates directly to the reasonable adjustment that you are requesting.

If the request is related to specific learning needs, PEB can only accept as evidence a full diagnostic assessment issued on or after your 16th birthday. A diagnostic assessment is a detailed and comprehensive assessment to identify specific learning needs such as dyslexia.

The diagnostic assessment of specific learning needs must have been carried out by:

  • a specialist teacher who holds a current practising certificate in assessing specific learning difficulties, issued by their relevant professional association; or
  • a psychologist who holds a current practising certificate issued by their relevant professional association.

University needs assessment or screening reports are not sufficient evidence for reasonable adjustment applications.  

Declaration by candidate: In submitting your application for reasonable adjustments you are confirming that you have read and understand the PEB Policy on Reasonable Adjustments.

Declaration by a Qualified Professional

Information and evidence provided by a qualified professional in support of your application must include the following declaration:

I support this applicant’s request for a reasonable adjustment in the examination in my capacity as an appropriately qualified professional involved in their care in relation to the condition they have referred to in this application.

I have read and understand the information about the Examination in the Syllabus and can confirm that the adjustment requested is for sitting the examination, as explained. In my professional judgement, I see no reason why I should not support this application for a reasonable adjustment in the PEB examination. 

Candidates with a permanent physical, sensory or mental disability who provide evidence that they are likely to be affected by the disability throughout their life. Examples of proof required include a medical report from a doctor, psychiatrist or educational psychologist. 

Location of Examination 

Depending on the type of reasonable adjustment awarded, the PEB may allocate you to a venue best equipped to accommodate your needs. In this circumstance, the venue may not be the centre most local or convenient to you.



Special Consideration Policy

All examinations      

Special consideration may be given by the PEB to candidates in instances that could not have been predicted, or were outside the candidate’s control, which may have impacted on their performance. This ensures that candidates who have a temporary illness, injury or indisposition at the time of the examination are treated fairly. Examples include influenza, death of a close family member, evacuation of the examination venue, and disturbances during the examination.

Deadline for applying for special consideration

Special consideration must be applied for no later than two weeks after the examination for Qualifying Examinations, and no later one week after the examination for PAC and Litigation Skills.

Supporting evidence

Supporting evidence should be provided wherever possible. This will typically be, a letter from a doctor, hospital, or authorised person, and/or a full description of the circumstances.

Disturbances affected the whole examination

If the disturbance affected the whole examination room, or a significant section of it, these details will be supplied to the PEB by an invigilator via the invigilator’s report, and affected candidates will be advised that this has been lodged as a special consideration. There is no need to write separately to the PEB in such circumstances, unless you want to bring something else to the attention of the PEB.


Malpractice Policy

Malpractice is any deliberate action or practice that threatens the integrity of any PEB examination.  The PEB strives to prevent the occurrence of malpractice in its examinations, in order to safeguard their consistency and integrity.

The following are examples of candidate malpractice:

  • Misuse of assessment material, introduction of unauthorised material into the room where the candidate is sitting the exam. Unauthorised material includes: study notes, study guides, own blank paper, personal stereos. Except where they are specifically required to enable remote invigilation to be carried out, mobile phones and other similar electronic devices constitute unauthorised items.
  • Obtaining, receiving, exchanging or passing on information which could be examination related  by means of  talking or using written papers /notes/material on the internet or on a computer or other electronic device.
  • Copying from another candidate      
  • Collusion - working collaboratively with other candidates      
  • Disruptive behaviour including the use of offensive language        
  • Failing to abide by the instructions or advice of an invigilator, supervisor, or the PEB in relation to the examination rules and regulations      
  • Impersonation - pretending to be someone else or arranging for another to take one’s place in an examination
            

Reporting and Outcomes     

All incidents of malpractice, irrespective of the nature of the incident, will be reported to the PEB in writing.

Candidates accused of malpractice will be made fully aware in writing at the earliest opportunity of the nature of the alleged malpractice. Candidates will have the opportunity to respond in writing to any allegations. Such responses should be submitted within 14 days of receipt of the allegations.

The PEB will determine:

  • Whether the regulations have been adhered to
  • Where the culpability lies for the breach in regulations
  • The appropriate measures to be taken to protect the integrity of the award and to prevent future breaches as well as mitigate against any adverse effect
  • The nature of any penalty to be applied. 

 

Penalties 

The severity of the penalty will depend on the nature of the malpractice and the extent of any mitigation but may include:

  • A mark of zero for the particular examination where malpractice was adjudged to have occurred

  • A mark of zero for the particular examination where malpractice was adjudged to have occurred and a mark of zero for other PEB examinations taken in that year.       

  • Permanent exclusion from all or a particular group of PEB examinations.

  • If the candidate is a CIPA member, PEB will advise CIPA of the malpractice finding.  PEB may also inform IPReg.

  Any candidate whom the PEB has decided is guilty of malpractice shall have the right of appeal (see Appeals Policy). 


Video Recording Policy

PEB oral examinations will be recorded by video for moderation, training and standardisation purposes. 


Examination Resit Policies    

Qualifying Examinations

There is no limit to the number of times a candidate may resit any of the PEB Qualifying Examinations.


Introductory and Advanced Certificates in Patent Administration

Illness

If a candidate is unwell and unable to attend the prescribed examination, they can sit the next scheduled examination without re-attending the course. A fee will be charged for the re-sat examination, and no refund is payable for the missed examination (see Registration, Payment, Withdrawal and Refund Policy). If the candidate then fails the examination, they will be required to retake the whole course and examination.

Attendance

If a candidate fails to attend three course sessions, they shall not be eligible to take the examination for that course.

Failed examination

If a candidate has failed an examination at or within 10% of the pass mark, they can sit the next scheduled examination without re-attending the course. If a candidate fails the examination at the second attempt, they will be required to retake the whole course and examination, regardless of the mark gained in the second examination.

If a candidate has failed an examination by more than 10% below the pass mark, they must retake the whole course and sit that course’s examination.