About the Patent Bar Exam
Patent Bar Information
Qualifying engineers and scientists may take the Patent Bar Exam. Upon completion of a passing score, you will become a registered patent agent before the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). If you have a law degree, are in good standing, and meet the requirements of an attorney, you may become a registered patent attorney.
The Patent Bar Exam is a 6 hour, 100 question, computerized multiple-choice exam. Test takers must score 70 percent or above to pass. Test takers may take the computerized exam any weekday throughout the year at a Prometric testing facility near them. Learn more about the computerized Patent Exam.
Once a year a paper and pencil exam will be given. This year the paper exam will be held on July 10, 2013 and the deadline for filing an application for this exam is May 10, 2013. There is no benefit to taking the paper version of the exam versus the computerized version.
Ten of the questions on the Patent Bar Exam (whether computerized or the yearly paper version) are beta questions and will not be scored. These are rotated into the scored pool as it's determined that they are fair questions. Test takers will be allowed access to a PDF version of the MPEP and any supplemental material.
Exam questions are not released, they are proprietary and a non-disclosure agreement must be signed prior to sitting for the exam.
We have several articles on further details of the exam here:
The Patent Bar Exam covers the MPEP (Manual of Patent Examining Procedure). The currently tested version of the MPEP is the 8th Edition, Revision 9 + supplemental material. The Patent Office started covering this new material on April 2, 2013.
This latest update incorporates the final wave of the America Invents Act (AIA) into the exam. Our Patent Bar review course integrates this new material completely. Be sure that any review materials you purchase are up-to-date. The exam is difficult enough that you don't want to study from an outdated course.
We've put together a list of the top articles on the AIA including resources for learning the new laws here:
Please also be sure the review materials you purchase were created by a registered patent practitioner. There are many small companies and individuals just in this for the money. Many materials are not prepared by a professional with a patent law background and will not be nearly as helpful to you as those that are. Review more about our company here.
Patent Law Career Information
If you're still deciding whether or not to get into patent law as a career, you may be interested in the salary ranges for patent agents and patent attorneys. We're also putting together a Patent Practitioner Interview Series where you can hear more about what real patent agents and attorneys think of the career.