Computer Based Patent Bar Exam Statistics

In order to become a US Patent Attorney or Patent Agent, an otherwise qualified individual must pass the PTO’s registration examination — often termed the patent bar exam. Since July 2004, the examination has been offered on computer in centers throughout the country. The computer-based examination continues the tradition of a fairly low passage rate:

  • 2,113 individuals took the exam between July 2004 and June 2005. Of those, 56.4% passed the exam.
  • 4165 individuals took the exam between June 2005 and October 2006. Of those, 58.2% passed the exam.

Since 2000, the paper based exam passage rate has ranged from a low of 37% to a high of 70%. 

52 thoughts on “Computer Based Patent Bar Exam Statistics

  1. Please read Sperry v Florida, 373 US 379, USSC 1963. Patent agents can render legal opinions on ‘inventions brought to them’ and can perform ‘tasks incident to’ patent preparation and prosecution, as per Sperry, which also acknowledges that we do practice law, but with limitations on both the field of law and the forum, and that it is the principle of federal preemption that allows this.

    Some of the above may be alleged to be dicta, but no cases have distinguished over any of it in the 46 years since Sperry was decided.

    I often see it written that what patent agents do is not practicing law because it is done under a federal licence, but that is an incorrect understanding of the law. The proper way to understand it is that we can and do practice law, but within limits, because we have a federal licence that preempts those state laws that say only lawyers can practice law.

    Some still think we shouldn’t do any of the above, or believe that not having a JD means we can’t learn how to analyse the case law or anticipate how what we do in prosecution will affect litigation. IME we do about as well as most lawyers, within the context of what we do. That is also the official position of the PTO,
    FWIW.

    As for trademarks, it is an oddity that patent agents cannot prosecute trademarks in the US, as I can’t think of any other country where that is so, but then we aren’t tested on the subject, so that’s arguably fair as such.

    Filing a trademark requires little skill, but complications can arise, and then it would seem that you need someone who actually knows trademark law to handle them. There is no guarantee that your alleged trademark attorney actually knows the subject, beyond the ethical violation that it would be if he didn’t believe himself to be competent. This would be true in most areas of the law.

    Probably the key to why you need a different type of practitioner for patents is that it is technical, although that part is never tested, merely assessed relative to our education, so it still begs the question as to the reason for the patent bar.

    However, I have found that people who know technology and patent law can still fail it if they haven’t learnt how to properly apply the law. Of course, many understandably opine that you must have a JD to understand how to apply statutes, rules and precedents, but that is gainsaid by how many non-lawyers do pass the patent bar.

  2. Peter H,

    If you are planning on prosecuting patents or litigating patents cases I think it is worthwhile for you to take the patent bar. After all, it is a two part, 100-question test that can be completed in few hours. That being said, many people do not pass the test. Passing the test, however, demonstrates knowledge of the patent prosecution process. Taking the time to prepare for and take the test demonstrates a commitment to patent law. So, if you are planning on moving over to patent litigation I definitely think it is worthwhile for you to take the patent bar.

    As for preparation courses, I recommend just reading the critical chapters of the MPEP and doing some practice questions. (Past Exams and their answers are available from the USPTO Website: link to uspto.gov.) Becoming familiar with the MPEP is very helpful in passing the test and in the practice of patent law. Remember, when you take the test you are given access to an electronic version of the MPEP. If you are familiar with the MPEP you can quickly navigate the electronic version to the find the answer to any difficult question during the exam. With regards to practicing patent law, the MPEP is not binding legal authority, but it is often a good place to begin legal research on a patent law issue. In my view, the critical chapters are: 200 (Types, Cross-Noting, and Status of Applications); 500 (Receipt and Handling of Mail and Papers); 600 (Parts, Form, and Content of Applications); 700 (Examination of Applications); 1200 (Appeal); 1300 (Allowance and Issue); 1400 (Correction of Patents); 1800 (Patent Cooperation Treaty); 2100 (Patentability); 2200 (Citation of Prior Art and Ex Parte Reexamination of Patents); and 2700 (Optional Inter Partes Reexamination of Patents).

    If you feel the need to take a course in addition to reading the MPEP, I have heard good things about PatBar. My friends who have taken the course liked being able to download the lectures and watch them at their leisure and on their schedule. Additionally, PatBar sends you books with a whole bunch of practice questions.

  3. I’m a NY atty with 15 years experience in insurance lit defense. Is it worthwhile for me to take the patent bar now (I was an EE 20 yrs ago)? Also, which home study bar course under $750 do you recommend?

  4. broje,

    I would be comfortable in assuming that you are NOT the typical patent bar test taker.

    Given that the patent bar is taken by a majority of people who have already passed a state bar exam, AND the pass rate (including these who have passed the one exam) is typically around 60%, those who approach with your methodology (two days of study) will not likely obtain the same results.

    As for the ethics/patent agent law question, I believe that agents are indeed practising law in a specialized limited forum (that’s why they call the exam a bar exam). The question of difference in charge rates can be distinguished on a more/different experience level and may not be related to any ethical consideration.

  5. I did home study courses for the state bar, the patent bar, and the MPRE. For the state bar, I studied for two weeks and was pressed for time during the exam. I did not ace it. For the patent bar, I studied for two days and finished in about one-quarter the allotted time. The score is not reported, but I think I nearly aced it. I studied about 2 hours for the MPRE and apparently missed 1 question. So I think the state bar is very much more difficult than the patent bar, and the patent bar is much more difficult than the MPRE.

    As far as the patent agent/attorney issue, such agents supposedly are not qualified to render legal opinions about infringement, even though every response to an office action traversing rejection under 102 or 103 essentially requires performing of the same type of analysis. So attorneys are needed to render non-infringement opinions. Plus, patent attorneys are paid more per hour to prepare patent applications and respond to an office action than patent agents of the same experience. But the ethical rules require that attorneys charge fair rates for the value of their services. To me, the question arises, what justifies the higher rate for attorney services that an agent is also allowed to perform? Can it be inferred that the patent attorney’s preparation of the patent application or response inherently entails rendering legal advice to the client? But courts do not recognize such client communications as subject to attorney-client privelege, precisely because a patent agent can perform the same functions. I think there are a lot of weird issues here and, in effect, the patent agent is rendering legal advice to clients on matters of Federal law. The alternative is that patent attorneys are committing a breach of ethics. Which one is more believable to you?

  6. The patent bar was hard. For me, much harder than the bar exam… because quite frankly, the bar is really 80% the first year of lawschool (just like the MPRE is really a watered down PR class). But the patent bar is something entirely different.

    I have a feeling that the vast majority of people taking the patent just memorize old questions, which is bad in the long run. I also have a feeling that many people stating how easy the exam is are probably lying out of their teeth (well, it might have been easy the 2nd, 3rd…. time taking it :S). Remember that the patent bar is no joke, it has a lower passage rate than any state bar.

    To all the people taking the patent bar: LEARN WHEN TO USE THE PATENT RULES, instead of the MPEP. It saves a lot of time. GOOD LUCK!

  7. Not easy, but comparatively much easier than the state bar exams lawyers take here. The PTO exam is one subject, the state bar exams are like 8 different patent bars as each subject area must be prepared for, in the same depth as the patent bar for one.

    Yes, Michael, the exam has changed and is now a computer based multiple choice only exam with no drafting, writing, etc. It does not test the right things, or prepare folks to practice, and the PTO wonders why quality is down.

  8. Mr Slonecker I’m sorry but I don’t know the answer to your question. I’m grateful for your post though. From it I have learned that patent attorneys in USA must first have satisfied the Examiners, in their competence to draft claims that are novel and which cover the subject matter of importance to the client. At the same time, I’m surprised that any attorney at law finds the US patent attorney qualifying examination easy.

  9. MaxDrei,

    If my admittedly at times faulty memory serves me correctly in this instance, I believe it was the case in the 70s for the USPTO exam to be be both closed-book and include a portion devoted to demonstrating proficiency in claim drafting, preparing responses to Office Actions, etc. In my particular case, I did not refer to the MPEP and CFR to answer exam questions. Fortuitously from my viewpoint, the proficiency portion pertained to drafting claims in view of several prior art references.

    Has the exam administered by the USPTO since changed in any material fashion?

  10. Comment from Europe: The US patent system is unique, and uniquely complex. Nowhere else biut in USA is the prosecutor an attorney at law who sits a tough bar exam followed by a PTO exam that (from the posts above) some find simple. ROW has a separate profession called “Patent Attorney” with real patent attorney exams in things like claim drafting, that (being the mark of the profession) are truly hard to pass. It seems that, while ROW focusses on the substance of issues like infringement and validity, US focusses on lawyers’ games. As a science graduate and patent attorney in private practice here in Europe, with mostly US corporate clients, I still dearly love my professional work and my clients, after more than 30 years of practice. Had I been in USA, I would never even have started in the profession. Quite frankly, I think the idea of adversarial common law attorneys handling drafting, filing and prosecution has some disadvantages. But nothing can be done, I accept, till the Augean system of litigation in USA is reformed.

  11. The introduction of lay persons (non-lawyers) into the patent process is so fraught with potential downstream issues that long ago I arrived at the conclusion that inventors should likewise not participate.

    There…I am glad I got this off my chest so that agents will not feel so alone and disenfranchised.

  12. Thanks so much for rebutting my arguments, and not making it personal. LOL!

    Hmmm, maybe this proves I am right?

  13. You’re pulling my leg, right? If not, your postings provide good examples of why many people hate attorneys.

    I don’t. I have respect for the profession and believe it should weed out people like yourself.

  14. The truth bug.

    No offense to anyone, but a law degree is required to understand and apply the complex case law in this area. The office basically teaches folks how the office applies the rules before the office, and then sends out agents to act as if that is the law. It is, but only partially. A patent’s life often includes enforement and litgation, and the choices made before the office matter alot – and the office requests things that decrease the likelihood of a patent’s survival in litigation (like decs). It makes no sense to put the agent in the position of providing advice, when the agent cannot fully appreciate the consequences of the choices. This does not even broach the huge attorney-client issues agent practice brings…

    A little knowledge is very dangerous, and the agent is the perfect example of someone who almost by definition does not have, and almost cannot have, complete knowledge.

  15. me wrote this: We need to do away with agents – period. Without agents the lawyers would be more highly valued and the quality of office submissions would go way up.

    You want to increase patent quality? Do away with patent agents!
    ———–
    Hey dude, what bug crawled up your ass.

  16. The bar exam is worlds harder than the patent bar.

    We need to do away with agents – period. Without agents the lawyers would be more highly valued and the quality of office submissions would go way up.

    You want to increase patent quality? Do away with patent agents!

  17. I found the Illinois State Bar to be more difficult than the patent bar. However, there are couple reasons for my opinion. First, I have a greater interest in patent law than the twenty-plus subjects of law tested on the Illinois Bar. Second, the Illinois Bar covers more material.

    For either exam I strongly recommend taking a preparation course. I took Barbri’s courses for both exams and passed both exams. However, I heard that PMBR is useful for the multi-state section of the Illinois Bar Exam.

    Best of Luck,

    Ben at link to windycityip.com

  18. “Re my comment about patent office management, it was merely a droll reference to the fact that none of the senior officials at the PTO appear on the register of those authorized to practice before the office. I find it interesting that these officials behind the movement to implement cardinal changes to 37 CFR have apparently never been required to demonstrate intimate familiarity with either it or the MPEP.”

    The fact that a PTO official is not listed on the register of those authorized to practice before the PTO does not necessarily mean that they do not have a registration number.

    There are some examiners who join the PTO already having taken and passed the registration exam (i.e. have a registration number). However, when they join the PTO as an employee, their information is removed from the public registry (effectively put in “inactive” status) because although they are registered, they cannot actively represent anyone before the PTO (i.e. as an attorney or agent)(there is provision in CFR, but I don’t have a cite for it).

    If and when these attorney/agent examiners leave the PTO to go back into private practice, then their information is again listed on the public registry.

  19. Mr. Kutt,

    A bill was introduced in the HR last year allowing for such training to be provided on a voluntary basis in those districts where patent litigation arises with frequency. I do not know what has happened to that bill, but I do believe the concept has merit to the extent it would impartially inform a judge what the system entails from start to finish. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to gain an appreciation and understanding of its many facets. It is, however, in my view quite helpful to receive an impartial presentation versus the current system of having litigators selectively parcel out information for the judge’s consideration.

    Ray,

    It is hornbook law (actually, the rules for professional responsibility) that in areas of legal specialization the standard for an attorney’s skill level is measured in terms of those who practice in that area of law. Unfortunately for many clients, far too many attorney’s jump feet first into the fray without having the requisite knowledge for such specialized areas of law. To a skilled IP attorney, such cases are akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Prevailing in such a case is nice, but it is irksome that opposing counsel’s ignorance of the law was an important factor in his/her client’s loss. In one instance I recall that counsel (a general practitioner) for a patentee prepared for an infringement case by attending a 3 day seminar given by the then Southwest Patent Law Institute. His client lost…big time. Later I happened to meet that attorney at a bar association dinner, at which he mused that perhaps he should have associated with patent counsel. Personally, instead of sharing that tidbit with me, I wish he had shared it with his former client.

  20. Mr. Slonecker,

    Thanks for your response. I gather that neither counsels nor
    Judges that are involved in patent law litigation are required to first pass an exam on patent law. Are such sanctioned courses even offered or likely to be, if not now.

  21. I passed the july 2007 NY Bar with about 2 weeks of comprehensive studying…. who’s to say for sure whether CA, Texas, NY, or some other state Bar is the most difficult, but many have that feeling about the NY Bar. Point of this – I’ve been studying for the Patent Bar for about 4 weeks now (probably about 4-5 hours per day). The thing I’m noticing is that sure there are some straight out of the MPEP type questions, but keep in mind the MPEP is 3000 pages long, and the finer points of a big rule span several pages, and referenced across chapters. In other words, you’re not going to get many questions where you simply go to the rule and can answer it, you have to really know how the rule interacts with other rules…. and you have to get 70% out of 100 questions to pass. Anyone who actually took the exam knows how easy it can be to get 30 questions out of 100 wrong.

    It is not an easy exam (at least from my practice attempts so far). It is true a lot of non-lawyers take the exam and that may contribute to the low passing rate. But irresponsible for someone to say “if you can’t pass the patent bar you are, frankly, an idi0t” – frankly, I think you either got lucky (as some do because the computer pops out questions randomly and you CAN get easier questions and more repeats compared to others taking it), or you haven’t taken the test and are just throwing this opinion out there, in either case you are being irresponsible and thoughtless for making such an observation…

    Good luck to anyone taking the exam! I think it’s tougher than any state Bar for the mere fact it is way too specialized (and you don’t learn the content through three years of law school as you do for a state bar).

    As for why only patent practice requires registration – I think the question to ask is not why it does while other areas of law (not limited to trademarks) do not require it, but rather why other areas in fact do not require similar specialized licensing (I’ve met my share of incompetent criminal lawyers, immigration lawyers, etc). I’m not starting a campaign for registration for all, but if this topic is on the table I think it’s worth noting the need/benefit that specialized licensing provides for law practice…

  22. Mr. Bloom:

    I almost forgot. For many years the DOD insisted that it had the right to collect a royalty for all uses of “technology” arising in the course of a government contract. Hence, conversion of a product to civilian application and sale in the commercial market was viewed as an event for which a royalty was due. Licensing of know-how, show-how, patents, etc. were likewise considered to be triggering events. It likewise insisted that its right applied to domestic and international activities. Interestingly, the licensing of copyrighted works was not included.

    Merely as an aside, the DOD’s “scheme” was challenged (by industry patent lawyers no less), with the result being that the President took umbrage and told the DOD to knock it off. The DOD promptly saluted and the issue faded away. Of course, it was not exactly a “happy camper”. As one DOD official noted, “If it goes away, then how can we be expected to compete with the private sector for sales and support?”

  23. Mr. Bloom,

    In this case it was one part of a comprehensive plan to preserve the domestic and international markets for a military product, that plan including utility and design patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights. This case was peculiar in that public disclosure of products having military applications are governed principally by the Arms Export Control Act, and it was on the basis of the act’s mandates that redaction was compelled. I must admit that the counsel for the Copyright Office was fluxomed by the facts, but in the end was forced to the conclusion that registration with redaction was proper. By the way, you will note in virtually every standard license for software the inclusion of language concerning export controls. These appear precisely because of both the Export Administration Act administered by the Department of Commerce, and the Arms Export Control Act administered by the Department of State.

    One drawback when dealing with the USG, and particularly the DOD, is that it wants you to incur the cost to design and develop new systems, and at the same time is constantly trying to coerce rights sufficient to allow it to award manufacturing contracts to others who have made no investment in product design and development. Likewise, it seeks rights such that depot level maintenance can be performed by either DOD facilities or third party private contractors. To make matters worse, it seeks such rights to enable manufacture and support by foreign governments and foreign companies. Of course, it expects these rights to be granted for no additional consideration. It demands them as “freebies”.

    Fortunately, virtually no one within the DOD has a clue what intellectual property and licensing is all about. Hence, the regulations it insists are by law required to be contained as specific clauses in contracts awarded to the original developer reflect its ignorance of the law. See, for example: DFARS 252.227-7013.

  24. Are District Court Judges and Federal Appeals Panel members required to pass patent law exams before presiding on a Patent case?

  25. “For example, has Mr. “Gideon” ever attempted to register a “work” involving a technical data package for a military system wherein the best edition submittals comprise sheets of drawings where everything within the borders of each sheet is redacted?”

    Sounds like a challenge, Mr. Slonecker. But I have a silly question for a slow day – why would one want to do this?

  26. “Are District Court Judges and Federal Appeals Panel members required to pass patent law exams before presiding on a Patent case?” Obviously not, and this is precisely why I am at times disheartened when counsel ligitigating and arguing appeals before the courts are not well steeped in the law. Counsel responses to questions presented by the Supreme Court during the recent spate of patent matters before it make this point only too clear. This is not to say that one must be a patent attorney to properly present cogent arguments. It is merely to point out that oftentimes counsel’s responses often fail to properly frame and respond to such questions. The rather silly hypothetical about a garage door opener during arguments in KSR ably demonstrate this point. There is no substitute for knowing the law, why it is such, and being able to “think and respond while on one’s feet”.

  27. >Further, why can non-lawyers practice patent prosecution before the USPTO but only lawyers can partake in trademark prosecution?<

    Statement is partially incorrect. You can prosecute your own marks.

    Again, patents as allowed by Code:

    37 C.F.R. s1.41:

    (b)Unless the contrary is indicated the word “applicant” when used in these sections refers to the inventor or joint inventors
    who are applying for a patent, or to the person mentioned in §§ 1.42, 1.43 or 1.47 who is applying for a patent in place of the inventor.

    The inventor is the one represented by the technically and legally qualified agent/attorney. It’s always about the inventor, so the inventor can file without an agent/attorney if they so choose. In fact, the MPEP describes that examiners are to help fashion claims for the pro se inventors if they recognize patentable invention(s), just as many examiners do when working with attorney/agents during normal prosecution. See MPEP s707.07(j).

    TMs, as allowec by the Code:

    TMEP s601 Applicant May Be Represented by Attorney at Law
    The owner of a mark may file and prosecute his or her own application for registration of the mark, or may be represented by a practitioner authorized under 37 C.F.R. §10.14 to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in trademark cases. 37 C.F.R. §§2.11, 10.1(c) and 10.14. See TMEP §§602 et seq. regarding persons who may practice before the USPTO in trademark cases.

  28. >Can anyone explain to me why patent practitioners need to get a license before the USPTO but trademark practitioners do not?<

    Federal code requires it. 37 C.F.R. §11(a) gives good detail as to why one must register:

    Established to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she: (i) Possesses good moral character and reputation; (ii) Possesses the legal, scientific, and technical qualifications necessary for him or her to render applicants valuable service; and (iii) Is competent to advise and assist patent applicants in the presentation and prosecution of their applications before the Office.

    Patent side of the office only wants to mess with folks that, at a certain level, should know what they’re doing – a certain legal, administrative, and technical minimum. Registration “pre-qualifies” the individual with the technical and moral background. The exam does the legal (administrative and procedure law).

    TM side just wants to deal with an attory – again, someone with a minimum legal knowledge to work and speak coherently with examining attorneys. Again, the CFR:

    37 C.F.R. §10.14. Individuals who may practice before the Office in trademark and other non-patent cases.

    (a) Attorneys. Any individual who is an attorney may represent others before the Office in trademark and other non-patent cases. An attorney is not required to apply for registration or recognition to practice before the Office in trademark and other non-patent cases.

    (b) Non-lawyers. Individuals who are not attorneys are not recognized to practice before the Office in trademark and other non-patent cases . . . .

  29. It seems Mr. “Gideon” has decided to give Mr. Mooney a run for his money as the resident “Mr. Caustic”. It also seems he/she has not ventured in any significant degree to the other side of the Office. Admittedly, many matters before the trademark side of the PTO are relatively straighforward. However, many matters are anything but straighforward, and preparing a comprehensive and persuasive response in such matters is every bit as challenging as preparing a counterpart response in a patent matter. Moreover, even in copyright matters circumstances do arise that present novel and challenging issues requiring intimate familiarity with Title 17 and the implementing regulations. For example, has Mr. “Gideon” ever attempted to register a “work” involving a technical data package for a military system wherein the best edition submittals comprise sheets of drawings where everything within the borders of each sheet is redacted?

    Re my comment about patent office management, it was merely a droll reference to the fact that none of the senior officials at the PTO appear on the register of those authorized to practice before the office. I find it interesting that these officials behind the movement to implement cardinal changes to 37 CFR have apparently never been required to demonstrate intimate familiarity with either it or the MPEP.

  30. >Are District Court Judges and Federal Appeals Panel members required to pass patent law exams before presiding on a Patent case? <

    No.

  31. Are District Court Judges and Federal Appeals Panel members required to pass patent law exams before presiding on a Patent case?

  32. Can anyone explain to me why patent practitioners need to get a license before the USPTO but trademark practitioners do not? Further, why can non-lawyers practice patent prosecution before the USPTO but only lawyers can partake in trademark prosecution?

  33. The state bar exams cover more material, but I’m not sure that they are any harder or easier than the patent bar exam. Certainly you have to study more topics for a state bar exam … half a dozen courses for the multi-state, additional courses for state-specific essay questions, perhaps as many as a dozen or more courses as opposed to simply studying the MPEP.

    I think both the state bar exam and the patent bar exam fulfill their purpose.

    Are they perfect? Of course not.

    Do they work well enough for government work? Yes.

  34. I think the Texas bar was much tougher than the patent bar. I took it in 2005 on the computer, and I figured out that if you could parse a key phrase out of the question and get to the right section, it was easy to search the phrase and find the black letter law. Also, I did about 4 practice tests under simulated conditions, so it was pretty easy to drill. And then there were those questions where you said, “Oh yes, that one is ‘C'” because you’d seen it half a dozen times.

    The state bar, on the other hand, was no books, no notes, no PDF with a search function, a dozen areas of law with obscure rules easily as esoteric as the most ridiculous section of the MPEP, and three days long. If I had to choose one to do over again, I’d pick the patent bar in a second.

  35. Dr. Factor,

    Please see 37 CFR sec 11.6 regarding registration of aliens and nonresidents.

    Also, some time ago the Franklin Pierce Law Center had a resource section on their Website which included former registration exams and answers. I do not know if the resource is still available.

    All,

    As for the exam itself, I personally know a number of people who took it in the 1998 and prior timeframe when “passing by halves” was very common. For you newbies, the exam used to be separated into a machine graded AM section and an Examiner graded written section until 1997. The AM half was on “rules” and the PM have was on “practice”. One had to pass both halves. In 1997 and 1998 both halves were machine graded but still scored separately. In 1999 the PTO went to an integrated exam which is scored as a whole. To the best of my knowledge, unlike almost all state bar exams (except perhaps California) there is no limit to the number of times one may take the registration exam. I know of one person who was very proud to have passed at the 13th attempt. Of course there was a man who took the CA bar 26 times before he finally passed.

    In 1995 – 1998 the exam was only offered annually. It had been given twice a year before that and was done so again until it began being offered by computer as currently available. It is still given on paper annually.

    Some older overall pass rates (not necessarily the official rate, but should be pretty close) by year/month/%:
    1992/04/47;
    1992/10/54;
    1993/04/38;
    1993/10/34;
    1994/04/47;
    1994/10/51;
    1995/05/34;
    1996/08/35;
    1997/08/58;
    1998/08/37;
    1999/04/53; and
    1999/11/66.

    Best of luck to all who have yet to pass!

    MHO, YMMV, etc.

  36. I gotta agree with Rob that a regular bar exam is much, much tougher.

    But I think the low passage rates are to be expected — there’s not much of a penalty for failing. It is a very rational strategy to get a general knowledge of the MPEP and go take a “practice” test. That way you minimize over-studying. The value of an extra 20, 30, or 40 hours of your life is pretty high.

  37. I’d be grateful if someone could please send me a link to where I can obtain past papers US exam papers or email them to me direct at michael@ipfactor.co.il
    or fax to 972 3 902 1057

    I have two trainees sitting the Israel Bar Exam in March and it is a good time for them to test their familiarity with the rules of the USPTO which is both the most important jurisdiction and the one with the quirkiest system.

    Although one of my partners is licensed in the US, we only file via associates for insurance reasons. Nevertheless, we draft patents with the USPTO in mind, as it is the preferred jurisdiction for most clients.

  38. i passed the patent bar 3 weeks ago. it was very difficult as it tested the extremely minute details of patent practice. there were few repeats and the questions were hard even though i have done all exams since 2000 and took pli. i am just glad that its over. i thought it was much tougher than NY bar exam.

  39. I’m surprised by the low pass rates. I took it and passed it 7 months ago. In addition to attending a review course, I only studied for about 3-4 days (altogether about 40-50 hours of studying). About 30% of the questions are repeats from old exams, and it’s not too hard to look up the answers to the others. The bar exam was much much tougher.

    I’d guess that the pass rates are low because a lot of disgruntled engineers sign up for the patent bar after getting a disappointing raise/bonus.

  40. Mr. Slonecker writes: “I guess if you do not pass you either become yet another expert on the need for patent reform or receive a high level appointment within the office.”

    Which high-level appointed official at the PTO has taken, but has not passed, the patent bar?

  41. “If you can’t pass the patent bar, you are, frankly, an idi0t.”

    Uhhh – – well according to the official statistics, there are a lot of “idiots” practicing patent law today.

  42. Is the patent bar still open book?

    Geez – they ask 25% of the same questions every time, and the rest are look up questions.

    If you can’t pass the patent bar, you are, frankly, an idi0t.

    As for this line . . .

    “I am still waiting for someone to recognize that practice on the trademark side of the house likewise requires intimate knowledge of the law and implementing rules.”

    ?
    Please. Practice on the Trademark side requires intimate knowledge of how to upload a JPEG. Get real.

  43. Yes, the patent bar was a bee-atch but I’m glad to have my registration number. Can you imagine the questions that might be asked if ever the new rules on continuations/RCEs were to be implemented?

  44. The numbers read almost like the pass rates for the California Bar Exam. I guess if you do not pass you either become yet another expert on the need for patent reform or receive a high level appointment within the office.

    I am still waiting for someone to recognize that practice on the trademark side of the house likewise requires intimate knowledge of the law and implementing rules. I cannot even begin to count all of the general practitioners who have told me they too practice intellectual property law, and specifically trademarks. That is fine up until they give me a quizzical look when I ask them if perhaps I might be able to look at their most recent copy of the TMEP. Far too many have asked “What’s that?”

Comments are closed.