Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

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Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by Anonymous User » Mon May 03, 2021 6:29 pm

I'm thinking about going into some kind of patent practice, but haven't taken the patent bar yet.

I tried to ask people around me but basically all of them either took the exam before coming to law school or waived in through some other experience.

When do people generally take the patent bar if they haven't taken it before law school? When would be the latest time that I can take it but still be able to secure a patent prosecution job after graduation?

eepatentatty

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by eepatentatty » Tue May 04, 2021 9:51 am

Most people take it within a couple of years after starting at their firm. Some firms even offer billing credit for you to study.

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue May 04, 2021 1:14 pm

eepatentatty wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 9:51 am
Most people take it within a couple of years after starting at their firm. Some firms even offer billing credit for you to study.
It's such a relief to hear that. I was worried that I was falling behind because so many people at my school already took it. So even if you go into prosecution, you won't be doing things that actually require admission to the patent bar? I'm guessing it's because you'll be working under someone else who is responsible for the work?

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by stupididiot » Tue May 04, 2021 1:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 1:14 pm
eepatentatty wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 9:51 am
Most people take it within a couple of years after starting at their firm. Some firms even offer billing credit for you to study.
It's such a relief to hear that. I was worried that I was falling behind because so many people at my school already took it. So even if you go into prosecution, you won't be doing things that actually require admission to the patent bar? I'm guessing it's because you'll be working under someone else who is responsible for the work?
Yes, you are correct. Anything you send will likely be signed by your managing partner/managing senior associate, not you. A lot of the material on the patent bar isnt really that related to what you actually do as a patent prosecutor (some of it is like "do you need to send this by certified mail or fax?"), and so you having passed the patent bar isn't going to mean a firm will trust you to actually do prosecution. Either way (passed or not), you will be supervised the first few years. It is a good signalling tool to show you are serious about and at least somewhat committed to prosecution for getting a job, though (but this doesnt matter if your law school/pre-law school bg are good enough to make getting a prosecution position possible anyway).

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by eepatentatty » Tue May 04, 2021 1:46 pm

Worth noting, it only gets harder to find the time to study the longer you are at the firm. If I was doing it over again, I probably would have taken it during my stub year. You are going to have a lot less free time to study once you fill up your docket.

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elephant210

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by elephant210 » Tue May 04, 2021 8:42 pm

I took the patent bar during spring of my 3L year and I have no regrets about that timing - by then you are basically waiting for law school to be over, so I used that time to study for the patent bar (I took it right before spring break, so early enough in the semester to give myself a bit of a break before studying for the bar ramped up). When I started at my firm, I hit the ground running so it would have been hard to find the time to study, and it was nice not having to worry about it. I know other people that took it over the summer (like after their summer associate position ended but before school started up) - I think that approach requires a little more discipline.

It can also be smart to wait until you've secured a job offer, because usually you can get the firm to pay for the PLI course (that's what I did).

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by Spartan_Alum_12 » Tue May 04, 2021 10:42 pm

stupididiot wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 1:40 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 1:14 pm
eepatentatty wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 9:51 am
Most people take it within a couple of years after starting at their firm. Some firms even offer billing credit for you to study.
It's such a relief to hear that. I was worried that I was falling behind because so many people at my school already took it. So even if you go into prosecution, you won't be doing things that actually require admission to the patent bar? I'm guessing it's because you'll be working under someone else who is responsible for the work?
Yes, you are correct. Anything you send will likely be signed by your managing partner/managing senior associate, not you. A lot of the material on the patent bar isnt really that related to what you actually do as a patent prosecutor (some of it is like "do you need to send this by certified mail or fax?"), and so you having passed the patent bar isn't going to mean a firm will trust you to actually do prosecution. Either way (passed or not), you will be supervised the first few years. It is a good signalling tool to show you are serious about and at least somewhat committed to prosecution for getting a job, though (but this doesnt matter if your law school/pre-law school bg are good enough to make getting a prosecution position possible anyway).
This is all true. Being patent bar eligible is what's important, not having it passed ASAP. However, it's a nice to have it passed as soon as you can IMO. I would imagine it's harder to do when working at a law firm full time and it's nice to have the title "Patent Attorney" or "Patent Agent" early on.

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by Anonymous User » Thu May 06, 2021 11:29 am

elephant210 wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 8:42 pm
I took the patent bar during spring of my 3L year and I have no regrets about that timing - by then you are basically waiting for law school to be over, so I used that time to study for the patent bar (I took it right before spring break, so early enough in the semester to give myself a bit of a break before studying for the bar ramped up). When I started at my firm, I hit the ground running so it would have been hard to find the time to study, and it was nice not having to worry about it. I know other people that took it over the summer (like after their summer associate position ended but before school started up) - I think that approach requires a little more discipline.

It can also be smart to wait until you've secured a job offer, because usually you can get the firm to pay for the PLI course (that's what I did).
Did you schedule your 3L semester courses around the expectation of studying for the patent bar, or did you basically make a regular schedule with regular course load?

elephant210

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Re: Patent Prosecution - When are the typical & latest times to take the patent bar?

Post by elephant210 » Thu May 06, 2021 7:11 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Thu May 06, 2021 11:29 am
elephant210 wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 8:42 pm
I took the patent bar during spring of my 3L year and I have no regrets about that timing - by then you are basically waiting for law school to be over, so I used that time to study for the patent bar (I took it right before spring break, so early enough in the semester to give myself a bit of a break before studying for the bar ramped up). When I started at my firm, I hit the ground running so it would have been hard to find the time to study, and it was nice not having to worry about it. I know other people that took it over the summer (like after their summer associate position ended but before school started up) - I think that approach requires a little more discipline.

It can also be smart to wait until you've secured a job offer, because usually you can get the firm to pay for the PLI course (that's what I did).
Did you schedule your 3L semester courses around the expectation of studying for the patent bar, or did you basically make a regular schedule with regular course load?
My credits were somewhat front loaded in law school, so I think my final semester I was only taking 12 or 14 credits? But that wasn't a conscious choice with the patent bar in mind, it just worked out that way. I know the PLI course recommends a certain number of hours of studying (I think 100-150 hours?) but I don't think I spent that much time.

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