Qualifying to take the Patent Bar Exam ("Category B"?)

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ScottRiqui
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Qualifying to take the Patent Bar Exam ("Category B"?)

Postby ScottRiqui » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:56 am

I'm trying to figure out if I can qualify to take the Patent Bar Examination. I have a BS in Computer Science & Engineering and an MS in Applied Physics.

The problem is, my BSCSE degree wasn't ABET-accredited at the time I earned it, so qualifying under "Category A" is out. I can use "Category B" (submitting all of my transcripts and course descriptions), but I was wondering if I could combine classes from my BS and MS degrees in order to meet the requirements of "Option 4" under Category B (8 hours of physics plus 32 hours of physics, chemistry, and computer science)? I think that either degree had enough applicable courses on its own to satisfy the requirements, but it would be nice to have some cushion in case the OED doesn't agree about the suitability of one or more particular courses.

Also, to use my master's courses toward qualifying to take the PBE, I have to have a master's in one of the subjects listed under Category A. "Physics" is one of the listed subjects, but "Applied Physics" isn't specifically listed. Do you forsee this being a problem? The coursework was largely the same - I just didn't take the extra two or three classes necessary to get a straight Physics master's.

Lastly, I'll have to submit course catalogs with descriptions for each of my courses, from the year I took the course. For my bachelor's degree, this is going to mean tracking down old catalogs from UT Austin from the late 80s and UT Arlington from the early 90s. I'll contact the registrar's offices at both schools, but if they don't have catalogs going back that far, do you know of any other resources?

Thanks,
Scott

markdighton
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Re: Qualifying to take the Patent Bar Exam ("Category B"?)

Postby markdighton » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:00 pm

Scott:
Mostly good news here. You should be fine.

You CAN count your master's courses toward the Category B requirements. (Any coursework that would have resulted in any degree counts, even if you never in fact got the degree.)

It doesn't matter what degree you got as your master's. If the courses would have counted toward a Physics degree, they will count as Physics courses for the PTO.

The course catalogs also won't be a problem. Call the registrar (or maybe bursar's office) at the appropriate schools. They'll almost certainly have those old course catalogs up on the Web where you can just print them out. (Which is fine for the Patent Office. You have to have official transcripts, but everything else you can just print off the Web.) If not on the Web, they'll have them somewhere, in some form. They need to keep these course catalogs for a lot of reasons, so they WILL be available.

Don't worry....you'll be fine.
Sincerely,
Mark Dighton, Esq.
Admin. Director, PLI Patent Bar Review

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Qualifying to take the Patent Bar Exam ("Category B"?)

Postby ScottRiqui » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:34 pm

Thanks for the reply - I was meaning to come in and update this thread anyway.

I called ABET yesterday, and apparently, they have a lot more historical information than just what's listed in the "Accredited Program Search" on their website. In brief, here's what I was dealing with:

My BS is in "Computer Science & Engineering", and I earned it in 1994. In ABET's search page for my college, they list a "Computer Engineering" degree as having been accredited from 1983 to present, and a "Computer Science & Engineering" degree as having been accredited from 1995-2009. This is why I thought I was out of luck.

Turns out, prior to 2009, the only degree offered was Computer Science & Engineering. It was ABET-accredited in 1983, and then CSAB accredited in 1995. Then in ~2009, the name of the degree was changed to "Computer Engineering". So in short, the ABET web search was incorrect in that the historical data for BSCSE left off the accreditation between 1983 and 1995. It also shouldn't list the current CE degree as having been accredited since 1983, because the degree wasn't called CE until 2009.

The ABET rep understood immediately what had happened, and is sending me a letter stating that my BSCSE degree was in fact accredited in 1995. As long as she gets the wording correct, I should be in good shape to apply under Category A without having to submit any course descriptions at all.

Thanks again.

markdighton
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Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:06 pm

Re: Qualifying to take the Patent Bar Exam ("Category B"?)

Postby markdighton » Wed Nov 07, 2012 6:14 pm

Scott:
Thanks for letting me know this. I don't know how often this kind of thing arises, but I deal with Computer Science people applying to take the Exam all the time. I'll pass this along if their degree is not ABET-accredited according to the Website.
Mark

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ScottRiqui
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Re: Qualifying to take the Patent Bar Exam ("Category B"?)

Postby ScottRiqui » Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:16 am

Final update (I hope)

I just received a letter from ABET certifying that my degree was accredited by the EAC from 1983 until 2008, and jointly accredited by CAC from 1995 until 2008. Not only was the ABET rep I talked to pleasant and helpful, but she followed through as well.

Looking at the "Category A" degree requirements, I may still not be out of the woods. If the PTO considers my degree to be a "Computer Science" degree, then I need the CAC accreditation (which didn't happen until after I graduated). If instead, they consider it to be a "Computer Engineering" degree, then I'm fine, since there is no additional accreditation required.

At this point, I'm just going to submit my undergrad and master's transcripts, along with the letter I got from ABET. If the PTO wants to be "persnickety", then they can tell me to start gathering course descriptions - I'm not going to do it on speculation.




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