Patent Bar Eligibility

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powerfail

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Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby powerfail » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:38 pm

I have a very specific question about patent law and the patent bar exam. I am currently in college and am majoring in Computer Science. I'm strongly considering law school. I don't yet know what type of law I would want to do, but one of the areas I'm interested in is patent law. I recently talked to a few patent lawyers who told me that, for certain types of patent work, you need to take the patent bar exam, and that requires having a certain number of STEM credits. They told me to check whether my undergrad coursework will meet the standards.

I just checked this website: https://www.patenteducationseries.com/e ... tions.html

I don't think my school's Computer Science program is ABET accredited, so I don't think I'll fit under Category A (if ABET accredited is what they mean by accredited).

I may fit under Category B, Option 4, but I'm not sure. I expect I'll have the "32 hrs of chemistry, physics, biology, botany, microbiology, molecular biology and engineering" because the CS should count as "engineering," but correct me if I'm wrong. My bigger concern is that I haven't taken 8 hours of chemistry or 8 hours of physics in college. I took AP Chemistry (10 credit hours total) and AP Physics C (also 10 credit hours total) in high school, and my college granted me credit for those, but I didn't actually take them in college.

This is a complicated situation-can anyone tell me whether I'd be eligible for the patent bar?

QContinuum

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Re: Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby QContinuum » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:03 pm

If your Comp Sci program isn't ABET-accredited, then yes, you will need to qualify under Category B. http://www.ipwatchdog.com/patent-bar-exam/category-b/ has a good writeup.

Note that both options 2 and 4 require 8 semester hours in chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics - and the 8 semester hours must be obtained in two sequential semesters, each semester including a lab. Most colleges call the relevant qualifying courses Chem I & II (or Physics I & II). It doesn't sound like your AP courses will qualify.

If you're close to qualifying under Category B, it may well be worth taking a few extra classes to establish your eligibility.

powerfail

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Re: Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby powerfail » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:16 pm

My college transcript says I have credit for General Chemistry I, General Chemistry Lab I, General Chemistry II, General Chemistry Lab II, Mechanics w/lab, and Electricity & Magnetism w/lab. Because I have these credits, I have been able to take courses that depend on them as prerequisites. But the transcript does show that these are AP courses and not courses that I actually took in college. I did take both semesters of AP Chemistry in a row (fall and spring of 11th grade) and both semesters of AP Physics in a row (fall and spring of 10th grade).

Do you still think the AP courses won't qualify? Is there anyone I can contact to get an official "yes" or "no" on whether they will qualify?

QContinuum

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Re: Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby QContinuum » Sun Nov 25, 2018 6:03 pm

Hmm. It does sound like there may be a chance. You should try reaching out directly to USPTO's Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), which is responsible for enrolling new patent agents/attorneys. https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/organiza ... ipline-oed

Best wishes!

powerfail

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Re: Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby powerfail » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:11 am

I reached out to the OED by email. They replied that they won't tell me whether or not I meet the qualifications for the patent bar--I have to do an entire application to get an answer from them. So I guess they are too bureaucratic to answer my question. :?

Does anyone have personal experience with this? Do AP courses count for the Category B physics/chemistry requirement if they are accepted for credit by your college and appear on your college transcript?

QContinuum

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Re: Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby QContinuum » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:00 pm

powerfail wrote:I reached out to the OED by email. They replied that they won't tell me whether or not I meet the qualifications for the patent bar--I have to do an entire application to get an answer from them. So I guess they are too bureaucratic to answer my question. :?

Not to defend OED, but maybe the issue is how you asked the question. Like, if you asked them specifically, "I took these AP courses, am I eligible to take the patent bar?" they would probably be justified in refusing to give you a straight answer, as they haven't inspected your transcript and so they don't want to tell you "you're eligible!"

Did you try asking them if AP courses can ever be used to satisfy the requirement?

powerfail

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Re: Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby powerfail » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:51 pm

I tried that. I replied to the person who sent me the noncommittal response, clarifying that I'm not looking for a personal evaluation of my eligibility, but am instead asking what OED's general policy is with respect to AP credit for chemistry and physics.

I got a response from someone else (not the person whom I replied to.) His one-line response was, "The office will accept AP courses, but the 8hrs of physics or chemistry requirement must be courses taken towards a major."

I know OED is boss here, but I'm not sure whether to believe that, especially since the Category B rules don't hint at any such requirement. My major (computer science) happens not to require physics or chemistry. It seems very odd that I would get dinged because of what my college does or does not require for the major. The Category B rules say nothing about taking the courses toward a major.

Now, it is true that there are two kinds of AP Physics: AP Physics 1/2, which is meant for students not planning to major in STEM, and AP Physics C, which is for students planning to major in STEM. I took AP Physics C. I'm not sure if that's what he was referring to. The Category B rules do say that "only courses for science and engineering majors will be accepted," which strikes me as different from his statement that the courses must be "taken towards a major."

I guess I'm not sure what to do from a practical standpoint. It would be really weird to have to go back and take introductory physics and chemistry during my senior year of college just for this. (And they still wouldn't be required for my CS major, so it's not clear whether that would even help.)

QContinuum

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Re: Patent Bar Eligibility

Postby QContinuum » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:07 pm

powerfail wrote:I tried that. I replied to the person who sent me the noncommittal response, clarifying that I'm not looking for a personal evaluation of my eligibility, but am instead asking what OED's general policy is with respect to AP credit for chemistry and physics.

I got a response from someone else (not the person whom I replied to.) His one-line response was, "The office will accept AP courses, but the 8hrs of physics or chemistry requirement must be courses taken towards a major."

I know OED is boss here, but I'm not sure whether to believe that, especially since the Category B rules don't hint at any such requirement. My major (computer science) happens not to require physics or chemistry. It seems very odd that I would get dinged because of what my college does or does not require for the major. The Category B rules say nothing about taking the courses toward a major.

Now, it is true that there are two kinds of AP Physics: AP Physics 1/2, which is meant for students not planning to major in STEM, and AP Physics C, which is for students planning to major in STEM. I took AP Physics C. I'm not sure if that's what he was referring to. The Category B rules do say that "only courses for science and engineering majors will be accepted," which strikes me as different from his statement that the courses must be "taken towards a major."

I guess I'm not sure what to do from a practical standpoint. It would be really weird to have to go back and take introductory physics and chemistry during my senior year of college just for this. (And they still wouldn't be required for my CS major, so it's not clear whether that would even help.)

My assumption would be that the second OED fellow phrased it poorly and meant that the AP courses will be accepted so long as they were intended for/acceptable for STEM majors. It sounds like you should be in good shape.

Ultimately, of course, the only way to find out for sure is to submit an application and see what happens. (It's fine if you submit an application and then don't take the patent bar within the time period they give you - you can always apply again later (you'll just have to pay another $100 application fee). It may be worth doing that before deciding to retake intro physics/chem in senior year when you could save some tuition dollars (or take other more valuable courses instead).



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