United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Bar Exam

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
dtrossen
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:03 pm

United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Bar Exam

Postby dtrossen » Fri Aug 18, 2006 6:33 pm

I haven't posted here in a while, but I wanted to talk a little about the USPTO patent bar exam. The exam allows one to become a patent agent, and later, after obtaining a law degree, to become a patent lawyer. I decided to take this exam before attending law school this fall in order to learn about patent prosecution and as a leveraging tool to obtain a summer internship at an intellectual property focused law firm as a 1L. The experinece was quite rewarding and I have a solid grasp of patent law fundamentals after studying for this exam.

The USPTO patent bar exam can only be taken by someone with a science or engineering background. There are other ways to qualify, but it is very difficult to qualify if you do not have an engineering or science degree. The office of enrollment and discipline portion of the USPTO website posts acceptable degrees. After filling out forms and sending in a transcript the USPTO office will approve you for the exam. You then can take the exam at any Thomson Prometric testing facility. The exam is a 100 question multiple choice exam that requires 70% to pass. The exam is rather difficult, with typical pass rates between 35% and 75% each year, a figure lower than many state bar exams. The exam is much harder now than it was in 2002 or before (since it moved to computer format). Despite the requirement of needing a science degree to take the test, the test is purely focused on patent law related to title 35 of the United States Code.

It is very possible to pass this exam before going to law school as I have done. It will give you a huge edge in getting a 1L internship related to intellectual property. If you are serious about intellectual property I would highly recommend taking this exam. Costs are quite prohibitive though with the exam cost at roughly $450. In addition, you buy some study materials. Similar to a bar review course, preparation materials can be in the $1000+ range. I highly recommend the very expensive PRI review course which is known to be the most costly but also the most effective. These costs are high, but so are general law school costs. This is just another drop in the bucket cost wise, and if it yields a $25,000 1L internship it is worth the cost. It typically takes between 100 and 200 hours of study to pass the exam. For someone interested in patent law who is waiting around before law school the USPTO patent bar exam can be a worthy pursuit.

If anyone has any questions on the exam or is thinking about taking the exam I would be happy to answer any questions.

jhett
Posts: 99
Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 4:36 pm

Postby jhett » Fri Aug 18, 2006 7:29 pm

Hey dtrossen,

It's too late for me to take the USPTO PBE before law school starts (since I start in 1.5 weeks), but I am considering doing it after 1L. I have patent drafting and prosecution experience, and am hoping to do an internship at an IP firm during the summer whilst preparing to write the exam.

I attempted one half of the exam for practice. I got almost all the questions right, but it took me a long time to look things up in the MPEP. I'm wondering what the most effective strategy is for studying for the exam. I figure it's a matter of remembering the index of contents rather than memorizing the text.

People tell me to take a prep course. You mentioned PRI. There's also the Kayton course by Patent Resources Group. Do you know anything about them? And how long did you take to prepare for the test (in weeks/months)? Were you working or in school while you studied?

Thanks for reading.

dtrossen
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:03 pm

Postby dtrossen » Fri Aug 18, 2006 8:24 pm

Oops, I meant PRG. I don't think there is a PRI course. I get confused between PRG and PRI because half of the Patent Resource Group materials have the letters PRI (Patent Resource Institute) written on them. I think PRG = PRI. The other main course is PLI, which is not as good. My course had Kayton and Gardner teaching and is the same as the one you mention. A review course is pretty much essential to passing the test. I know the USPTO offers 3 sample tests on-line but the real test is much harder than the tests they administered in 2002 and 2003 that are on-line. There is a huge shift in emphasis to more detailed questions and questions related to the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The on-line MPEP you get during the exam is about 3000 pages long so there is no way to memorize it. You just need to know the major sections and where to look things up. A strong understanding of title 35 of the USC is critical, and so is a knowledge of the list of "rules" which is quite manageable. The MPEP itself is a beast and is impossible to memorize. The PRG question database allows you to answer about 60% of the questions immediately. With 3 hours a section, I found I could go through all 50 questions in about 30 minutes having answered 60%. I then used the remaining 2 1/2 hours to get as many of the remaining questions correct by looking them up. If you can't instinctually get a good portion of the questions right then you may be in trouble because there is not enough time to look everything up. The PRG course is excellent of giving you an overview and forcing certain critical dates and concepts in your mind. The interactive CD has about 2000 questions on it. The exam took about 140 hours of study for me to pass. I worked a full time job while studying. The videos take about 40 hours to watch. The reading takes about 40 hours and the questions and practice tests about 60 hours. The test has gotten a lot harder recently, it is no less difficult than the multiple choice section of the California Bar.

cindytran872
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2006 6:58 pm

Postby cindytran872 » Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:36 pm

hi! i tried googling the USPTO bar exam website, but i couldn't find any information on the requirements for taking the exam. do you have the link?

thanks.

dtrossen
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:03 pm

Postby dtrossen » Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:02 pm

the link is:

http://www.uspto.gov/go/dcom/gcounsel/oed.htm

then click on the examination registration link

slam
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:08 pm

Postby slam » Sun Aug 20, 2006 3:10 pm

I graduated with a BSEE in 2003, however I chose to work in areas that has not directly utlilized my engineering degree. Would it be beneficial if I took the Fundamentals of Engineering exam if I want to pursue a career in patent law?

dtrossen
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2006 10:03 pm

Postby dtrossen » Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:35 pm

With a BS in Electrical Engineering (BSEE correct?) you do not need to take the fundamentals of engineering exam in order to qualify for the patent bar. I certainly would not take the fundamentals of engineering exam in order to freshen up on science knowledge that may have faded if that is what you were implying with your question. This seems to me to be a big waste of time. My understanding from patent lawyers is that the science knowledge needed is more indirect and secondary and that a career as a patent lawyer has much more to do about patent law than about science. You have already cleared the biggest hurdle by getting the science degree. Even if this knowledge has faded I would still shoot straight for the patent bar and forget about the Fundamentals of Engineering Test.

slam
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:08 pm

Postby slam » Mon Aug 21, 2006 1:50 pm

Yes, I was implying that I wanted to freshen up on my science knowledge. I'm going to forget about taking the FE and will aim to pass the USPTO exam before entering law school.

Thanks for your response.

User avatar
dany0san
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:00 am

Postby dany0san » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:31 pm

Where can I find cheap, used course materials for either the PLI or PRG course? 2700 new is a bit much. 1000 is also a bit much...right now anyways.

patentlaw
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:29 am

Postby patentlaw » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:10 pm

I'm going to buck conventional wisdom and say to at least think about it before taking the patent bar before law school. For one, some firms pigeon hole patent prosecutors, especially those coming in with patent bar admissions. Secondly, many firms will pay for your course and give you time off to study for the patent bar. Third, some firms will hire 1Ls who have the proper backgrounds to do patent prosecution. I was unsure about wanting to do prosecution and didn't want to be stuck doing pros. so I didn't take the patent bar. I do some pros. now and there's absolutely no pressure for me to take the patent bar, people wait years before taking it at my firm.

lioness
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:22 pm

Postby lioness » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:49 pm

Just my 2 cents....

I took the exam in 2002. I used a PLI video course, and thought PLI was great. PLI sends you a huge box of videos and a study manual. You view the videos at your own pace (this can be interesting at times, and boring at times). On top of that, I spent a lot of time taking practice exams, etc.

You may be able to find some study materials on ebay.

Slam,
I graduated w/ a BSEE many years ago, and have worked mainly in software. I write patent applications in the technical areas in which I have experience/knowledge. Frankly, I'd stick out my little tongue if someone wanted me to write a patent related to EE.

That said, you are more knowledgeable in various technical areas than you are giving yourself credit. When you are writing a patent you read the inventor’s written disclosure. Then, you have an inventor disclosure meeting. We sometimes say to the inventor, “assume I know nothing about this area, and explain this invention to me from that perspective”.

I don't think you'd need to take a course to brush up on engineering fundamentals. Most of what I write, I draw on my professional experience (and now, my patent drafting experience), not my academic background. If it’s a technology that I’m not very comfortable with, I google it.

Dtrossen,
If you ask me, I'd say that I rely more on my technical knowledge and experience and writing skills than I do on my patent law knowledge. But, different patent practitioners (i.e., patent attorneys and patent agents) will have a different opinion on this.

As I said, just my 2 cents….

snr5665
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 4:17 am

United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Bar Exam

Postby snr5665 » Sun Feb 18, 2007 4:46 am

Hello, My name is Subra. I am planning to do IP Law. Before going to the Law school, I wanted to complete the Patent Bar Exam. I don't have my Undergraduate degree in pure Science or Engineering. My undergraduate degree is in Mathematics. I have a Masters Degree (M.Sc) in Statistics and a Ph.D Degree in Operations Research (i.e., Applied Mathematics). I also have an MBA degree. I worked in Engineering areas such as Product Quality and Reliability Engineering, Software Engineering for over 12 years. Am I eligible to appear for the Patent Bar Exam/Patent Agent Exam? Any insights and suggestions will be highly appreciated.

Furthermore, are there any accredited on-line Law Schools you can suggest?

Thanks in advance,
Subra.

User avatar
dany0san
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:00 am

Postby dany0san » Sun Feb 18, 2007 4:59 am

You can probably find the answer to your first question on the USPTO site listed earlier in this thread. There should be a link to the requirements to sit for the exam. If your degree doesn't qualify you (Group A I think), then you might have to take some classes or something (Group B or C).

As for the second question, I get a bunch of results when I punch 'online law school' into Google.

patentlaw
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:29 am

Postby patentlaw » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:32 am

I'm not 100% sure but I remember hearing that you don't get credit for on-line courses.

User avatar
GodSpeed
Posts: 245
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:05 pm

Postby GodSpeed » Sun Feb 18, 2007 4:57 pm

I'm studying for it now using omni-prep which cost $500. Not too bad

patten
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:38 am

Postby patten » Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:03 am

Hey GodSpeed -

Do you like OmniPrep?

I'm thinking of using the same thing.

Is their money back guaruntee legitimate? They say you must "finish the course" to have the guaruntee take affect. How do they determine if you've finished the course?

How much time have you spent studying with OmniPrep? Did you start cold? When do you plan to take the test, how much do you plan to study leading up to the test?

Thanks. Sorry for all the questions.

cyndessa
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Feb 06, 2007 4:52 pm

Omniprep

Postby cyndessa » Thu May 31, 2007 2:28 pm

I recently purchased Omniprep. I plan on attenting law school in the fall, and wanted to take the patent bar at the end of this summer.

Basically, you get access to a page with all of the 'items' they tell you about on their website. A basics lecture with several parts, Lectures (you can put on your ipod), a review, a pdf MPEP, Chapter exams, Full Length exams, etc. All of the stuff is only available online though. (Execpt for the downloadable lectures and pdf MPEP) So you cannot download all of the stuff and go sit by a pool with your laptop or anything without internet. You could print everything though. I am also a 'highlight reader' meaning I lightlight words as I read with the mouse. They have this feature blocked, presumably so that you do not copy/paste text. This does drive me a little nuts because it is such habit to do so.

Other than that its been good so far. Everything is well written and explained. I'm about ready to load the lectures onto my ipod to listen to while at the gym, the main reason I decided on this prep course! They are in mp3 format, very easy!

If you have any questions about omni prep feel free to ask me. I do not take the test until August, so I will keep you posted on how effective the course is at that point :-)

patten
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:38 am

Postby patten » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:33 am

I've been studying with Omniprep since mid February. I plan to take the test in mid June. You may be wondering, why June rather than August? Well, I started studying early in the year planning to take the test in June and then have a few months off before law school start.

My advice for studying, and who really wants to hear it because I haven't even passed yet, is to spend the time. I've spent 160 hours or so at this point, and I will put in a good 40 more before I take the test the middle of this month.

I've enjoyed Omniprep. The money back guaruntee is great but you should know a few things about it. You must pass each final exam with a score of 80 percent to receive your money back if you fail the actual exam. If you only pass the final exams with a score of 70 or higher, and not 80 or higher, you will not be eligible for the money back guaruntee.

Anyone else out there studying? I scored a 71 on my first full practice test and am hoping to improve.

Let's get some good discussion going about the USPTO exam.

User avatar
GodSpeed
Posts: 245
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2006 12:05 pm

Postby GodSpeed » Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:42 am

I need to study more. Work and drinking are getting in the way. the new TV isn't helping either.

hasmith
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:56 am

Postby hasmith » Fri Jun 01, 2007 11:01 am

I scheduled my test date, online with prometric, for 17 August. I have been using the PRG software. I am feeling pretty confident now, but only time will tell.

patten
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:38 am

Postby patten » Sat Jun 02, 2007 6:23 pm

Took the April 2001 Exam today as though it were the real deal.

Scored 73.

That would do on the real thing, but I'd like to be a bit higher to allow for the mistakes I know I will make on test day.

User avatar
Vasia
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 4:03 pm

Postby Vasia » Sat Jun 02, 2007 8:17 pm

Hi,
Does someone know of any free online copies of any prep material for the patent bar exam? People who have the course, could you share with your pdf's or software? I am an UG student with EDU debt and spending a thousand or even 500 is huge financial hardship for me. Thanks.

patentlaw
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:29 am

Postby patentlaw » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:29 am

A few of the older exams are on the PTO website http://www.uspto.gov you may be able to find people selling their materials on ebay. I think posting pdfs or software would probably violate copyright so you may have a hard time finding anyone to do it.

User avatar
Vasia
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 4:03 pm

Postby Vasia » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:30 pm

Patentlaw: Have you seen torrentspy.com? If not I would highly recommend you to see it.

patentlaw
Posts: 62
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2007 9:29 am

Postby patentlaw » Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:17 pm

Yeah, but asking for someone to do this over a forum for people who want to become lawyers might not be the best idea. Call me crazy but people may not want to openly break the law considering that some people have already been tracked back to their screenname.

You may be able to find the software somewhere, but my point was you may have a hard time finding people to do it here. Maybe not, who knows.




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests