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%.