Learning Is the Only Skill That Matters

The word learn spelled out with wooden letters.

Learning is unavoidable, we are learning all the time, every day of our lives, both consciously and subconsciously. It is an essential and crucial life skill that is necessary for anyone who wants to continuously progress in life. Learning is considered by many the only skill that truly matters since lifelong learning is a vital and indispensable tool for progressing both personally and professionally.

What is Continuous or Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is the process of acquiring knowledge continuously, throughout one’s life. Continuous learning involves constantly attaining new skills and expanding your skill set. It helps develop opportunities for future ventures and helps in building you both personally as well as professionally.

Why is it so Important?

Knowledge is widely available and easily accessible now that learning is a necessary requirement for both personal and professional growth. It helps to hone our skills, develop our strengths, and overcome our weaknesses. However, there are other more important advantages of continuous learning as a skill.

Here’s how continuous learning can help:

It Helps You Remain Relevant

Learning continuously and constantly brushing up on your knowledge and skills helps you stay relevant. We live in a time where everyone is persistently working towards progressing and moving further up the ladder of success. Not learning new things is going to leave you behind.

Certain professions, such as a career in patent law or the field of medicine for instance, require constant learning and an updated profile for career progression. This can only be possible with persistent learning. Ensure you remain significant in your industry by keeping up to date with new certifications, qualifications, and soft skills.

Prepare for the Unanticipated

Continuous learning helps in preparing you for the unexpected. You can put yourself in the position to better adapt to changes and overcome new challenges and difficulties. For instance, in case you lost your job, your newly learnt skills and newly acquired certifications are going to keep you updated with new introductions in your industry, making it easier for you to find a new job.

Boosts Your Professional Profile

Learning is regarded as one of the most important skills because of how it alone can boost your professional profile significantly. When an individual from any professional field keeps learning new things constantly, he or she keeps improving in the different aspects of that field while also enhancing a few of their skills. These improvements and enhancements help you develop your profile and make you more noticeable in the job market.

Competence is the Key to Confidence

When you’re able to learn new things quickly and easily, you feel a sense of accomplishment, which helps in boosting your self-confidence. Confidence is the key to growth—be it personal or professional—and learning new things, keeping up-to-date, and being knowledgeable are the easiest keys to confidence. Learning is important because it enhances your aptitude and hones your skills, making you more adaptable to difficulties and new challenges.

These are all the important reasons why both employers as well as employees consider learning to be the ultimate skill. The more you learn over the course of your life, the more prepared you are for different challenges and the more you will succeed.

How to Get Back into Studying for the Patent Bar Exam After a Long Break

Lightened image of a library hallway.

Passing the patent bar is a dream for many. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment to prepare for this exam. It requires your blood, sweat and tears as well as often burning the midnight oil. The entire process can be daunting and distressing to the extent that some people actually give up and abandon their hopes of becoming a patent attorney or agent.

However, once the exam is passed, this career field has its own perks and benefits, making many students reconsider their decisions and choices. If you’re one of the many students who want to get back into preparing for the patent bar exam after a long hiatus, read on to find out how you can achieve your goal.

Find Your Motivation

First and foremost, it is very important for you to be motivated enough to get back into studying for the patent bar exam. You need to have enough passion for this career to not give up again. Research its advantages, benefits, and career progression requirements. Once you are motivated and dedicated again, you will be able to prepare more efficiently and be more committed to your preparation for the patent bar exam.

Plan it Out

Set out to get more organized and prepared this time in order to prevent getting overwhelmed or demoralized. Set realistic goals for yourself including those you know you can achieve if you work long and hard enough.

Once your goals have been achieved, reward yourself. This will help keep you motivated to continue studying for the exam. For instance, treat yourself each time you complete a chapter in the MPEP.

Make sure you are sleeping well, eating healthy, and stick to your schedule to avoid procrastination. Start prioritizing your tasks according to their difficulty level and the time they will take to be completed. This will help you prepare for the exam more efficiently.

Clear Your Study Area

Studying in a cluttered space can wear you out quickly, throwing you off track. Ensure that your designated study space is always clean and organised so that you feel more motivated to study. To make yourself more comfortable, place a plant on top of your study table to freshen you up when you feel low. It is also important that you clear your table from everything that might distract you so that you’re able to focus more easily.

Maintain Healthy Habits

In order to prepare well for the patent bar exam, it’s crucial for you to stay stress free. In order to remain calm and relaxed, sleep for at least 8 hours every night, stay hydrated, and consume a lot of healthy foods. These steps will ensure that your body is always recharged, your mind is fresh and focused, and you are energetic enough to take on the long study sessions. You will also notice you have become more attentive and productive following these lifestyle changes.

These are great tips to help you prepare more efficiently and thoroughly for the patent bar exam. It can be difficult getting back into studying for the exam but these tips should help you ease back into it.

Tips to Stop Procrastinating and Finally Start Studying for the Patent Bar

As anyone who has taken the Patent Bar will tell you, passing this exam is not easy and never will be. Since you likely know this and if you’ve spent any time wading through the MPEP or study material, you also know the material is dense. It’s complexity is layers deep. So it’s very easy to find yourself putting off those study sessions to do … well anything else.

This article aims to help you overcome procrastination when it comes to studying for the Patent Bar exam.

Study Habits to Adopt:

  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Find the study technique that works best for you.
  • Set deadlines.
  • Study when most alert and efficient.
  • Work to alleviate stress.
  • Exercise and eat healthy.
  • Ask for help.
  • Find some motivation.

Eliminating distractions is the first and most crucial step to end procrastination.

Preparation for bar exams with friends is not a good idea. Interacting with others causes you to lose focus and fluctuate.

The progress of other patent law students can hinder you instead of being motivational. Team consultation is excellent when all participants have memorized the material or have a solid plan for locating information, however that’s not always the case.

Close your social media tab, put the phone on airplane mode, and study in an uncluttered space. A messy environment leads to messy thoughts.

Everyone learns differently.

Pick a style that works best. Some people draw mind maps or use bright stickers. Others like to listen to audio or video recordings and write long paragraphs by hand. Use a trial and error method to determine what works best for you.

People with photographic memories are visual learners. For them, reading more and pinpointing essential bits of information with markers or stickers makes sense. Auditory learners benefit from listening to recorded lectures over and over until the material is memorized. Some people find reading out loud to be effective.

Work within specific time limits.

You can track progress and are less likely to panic. Separate the work into equal benchmarks. Reward yourself each time you reach a benchmark. Make the work sections doable and realistic. Don’t allow more time than you need. The less time required, the more focused a person becomes.

Society seems to dictate waking up early is the only way to be effective.

Some people start work at noon and finish at 9 PM. Let your body clock dictate the best work time-frame for you. A few more hours of sleep may keep you alert longer later in the day.

When you feel unmotivated or are anxious, consider what will happen if you succeed or fail.

The outcome is not earth-shattering if you fail. That attitude does not mean you should not strive to achieve. Ask someone who failed what happened, and the answer will be “Nothing.”

Exercise and eating healthy are recommendations as old as time.

Facts are facts. Avoiding junk food and sugary drinks can boost performance because blood sugar levels are not spiking like crazy. Berries, whole grains, nuts, and fish are excellent choices for fueling your body.

The body welcomes any movement after sitting for a long time. Research has shown exercise has a positive impact on cognitive performance. Squeeze a half hour of exercise into to your everyday routine.

Studying with friends is not recommended, but asking for help from someone who has taken the exam is wise.

Ask for tips or any notes they might have to share. The aid can be a time saver. Take advantage of resources available through Patent Education Series.

Reading this article is not likely enough motivation to keep from procrastinating.

List positive consequences that will result from completing the patent bar exam. Keep them in mind.  List outcomes that will spark your enthusiasm. Getting started is the hardest part. Don’t overthink the preparation, just do the work.

Tips Specifically for the Patent Bar Exam

The suggestions above are mostly general suggestions for any course of study. Here are some tips relevant to taking the patent bar exam. There are effective methods to aid in remembering the material or how to access information. The techniques include:

  • Changing where you study
  • Acronyms
  • Flashcards
  • Essays
  • Exercise

Psychologists have proven studying in untraditional environments promotes better recall.

Diversifying the outside climate allows information to be enriched and slows forgetfulness. Try reviewing flashcards in a coffee shop instead of a law school library. Write an essay in a neighborhood park.

Use acronyms.

People who use acronyms to assist recall have reported much of the material studied in preparation for the bar exam has escaped them except acronyms they used to remember the content.

Try creating acronyms to assist in recall. HOMES helps people remember the Great Lakes – Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. Remember how to spell geography with the sentence; George eats old gray rats and paints houses yellow.

After each study session, create detailed cards that are based on the lesson.

As the exam draws closer, develop a checklist of key points frequently forgotten.

Writing answers to questions in essay form while preparing for the patent bar exam is helpful in remembering the elements of the law.

It is worth repeating that exercise helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Memory and thinking skills are improved. Go for a walk with your flashcards. You meet three objectives at the same time. You change your study environment, use flashcards, and get some exercise.

How to Use the MPEP

Mastering the use of the MPEP is crucial. Using the index as a reference tool is a mistake. Any topic you choose will have multiple references found in various MPEP chapters. You need to know which chapter the material is in and cannot waste time reviewing the index during the exam.

Read the table of contents for each chapter. It contains detailed information about the content of the chapters. When faced with a question, go to the chapter in the MPEP that likely includes the answer and see if you can find it.

Read the questions carefully. The Patent Office often asks questions in a manner that is tricky. Read each answer before making a choice. Sometimes ‘All of the above’ or ‘None of the above’ is the answer.

We hope this article helps you get started and gain some tips so you can pass the patent bar exam and get on the path to becoming a patent agent or attorney.

Dealing with Test Anxiety on the Patent Bar Exam

That fear that rips through your chest when you sit down to take an exam and the inner turmoil that is rattling around in your brain is called test anxiety. You start to sweat, your hands might start to shake, and your heart will feel as if it’s pounding against your chest.

Test anxiety isn’t prejudiced. It doesn’t choose you because of your gender or race or grades. It’s simply your body reacting to a perceived threat. In this case, it’s a test that could forward your career as a patent agent or patent attorney.

Test anxiety is a common affliction for people that are ready to take an exam, and it doesn’t matter how prepared you are for the exam. The knowledge that you’ve acquired and the hours you have spent studying can leave you when you sit down at the computer to begin your exam if you don’t put up a fight.

Students with test anxiety, on average, can perform up to 12% lower than others. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to reduce your test anxiety and perform to your potential.

Create a Study Plan

The best plan of attack is to create a study plan to make sure you’re prepared for the patent bar. There is nothing worse than test anxiety because you didn’t study the information you need to excel.

Create a study plan that works for you. This plan should include tactics that help you retain important cases and the patent process for inventors.

Everyone’s study routines vary because we all learn differently. Some obtain information from reading while others study better using auditory routines. Some study better alone while others study better in groups. Find what works best for you and what has helped you with past exams.

Schedule specific hours dedicated to studying. Make sure your family and friends know these set hours that you have chosen and emphasize how important it is not to interrupt you during this time.

Practice exams are beneficial. They tell you where you are lacking in knowledge, so you can spend more time on the specific areas you are struggling with. You don’t want to study the information that is already engraved into your brain.

A plan remains only a plan unless you step into action. Stick to the study plan you’ve created, so you develop a study habit over the next few months.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Strong sleep plays an important role in your memory. Your instincts will tell you to stay up all night, studying away and taking in massive amounts of caffeine.

Research has shown that a healthy amount of sleep after studying will keep everything that you’ve been learning in the back of your brain, so it’s easy to access when you need it. Your brain is aware that this information is vital, so your neurons make it a first priority while sleeping.

Not only is sleep important for your memory but it’s just as important in reducing stress. Sleep deprivation leads to increased stress. Stress can lead to insomnia. It’s a vicious cycle. The less stress you have before the test, the less anxiety you’ll have.

A healthy eight hours of sleep will have you focused on the patent bar and help to reduce your test anxiety.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

We have been taught since grade school that a healthy breakfast is an important part of every day. However, it can be an even greater help the morning before your patent bar exam.

A breakfast that’s jam-packed with protein and healthy carbohydrates (like wheat) can boost your mood and fight fatigue. It can also help with your memory and boost your concentration during your exam.

Do Your Best to Think Positive

If you experience test anxiety, you know all too well the negativity your mind is screaming. This horrible self-talk could end up being your demise if you don’t learn to reign it in.

Battling negative self-talk can be a difficult process, but it is possible to defeat. Once you start beating yourself up mentally, start repeating positive affirmations. Remind yourself that you have prepared for this exam and try to visualize yourself passing it.

To implement positive thoughts, you must remember to be self-aware of the thoughts flooding through your head. Eventually, this will become a habit. You don’t want to succumb to the negativity.

Skim the Test

You want to skim through the test before you start. Read the directions thoroughly, so you understand what’s expected of you.

Reading through the test helps you answer the questions easiest to you first so you can dedicate the rest of your time working on the multiple-choice questions that you struggle with. It gives you ample time to think critically and make an informed decision. Remember, on the patent bar exam you aren’t penalized for wrong answers.


This is much easier said than done. If you feel the dread building up inside of you, close your eyes for a few moments. Breathe in and breathe out. Focus on the things in the present like the smells in the room or the sounds around you.

This will help keep you in the present moment. It will help you avoid racing thoughts and help combat your anxiety from taking over during the test.

You Can Beat This

You don’t have to let test anxiety get the best of you on the patent bar exam day. You can use these tips to relax your mind, which will in return relax your body. If these tips don’t help you reduce your test anxiety, don’t be afraid to ask for help.






7 Tips to Ace the Patent Bar Exam

Preparing to take the patent bar examination requires a healthy amount of dedication. As with any higher education test, developing good study habits and time management skills will really go a long way in passing the assessment. The patent bar exam is certainly no exception to this as it’s no walk in the park. Thankfully, there are a few great tips you can follow in order to successfully pass this exam and get started with your career in patent law.

Repetition Makes Perfect

In order to stand any chance of passing the patent bar, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, or MPEP for short. This material is where the all the questions in the exam are based. It’s imperative that you read and re-read this material until you feel comfortable with everything it contains. A patent bar review course will definitely help you get familiar with the MPEP and in far less time than just reading the MPEP on your own.

Once you’ve achieved a confident level of understanding with this material, one way to prepare yourself for the actual exam is by creating your own multiple choice questions. Though this may take a bit of time, it’s great practice to put yourself in the shoes of the people tasked with writing the questions and answers for this test. By creating your own questions and answers, you’ll be better able to get a solid grasp of the important topics that will most likely show up on the actual exam. It’s also a good idea to take actual practice exam questions simply to get a feel for how these sorts of questions are worded and to get more comfortable with questions they might ask.

Plan Ahead

Another tip to pass the patent bar exam is to plan and begin preparing well before the actual test date. This exam is not easy and will take weeks, if not months, to adequately prepare for. If you plan on pulling an “all nighter” in order to cram all the information necessary to pass this exam in your head you will certainly have trouble.

It’s best practice to map out specific blocks of time where you’ll do nothing but study for this test over a period of a few weeks, this will allow you to gather and retain all the information gradually so you won’t be overwhelming yourself. Studies show that studying the same information in small chunks of time, or spaced repetition, can result in better retention of information later. This does require a fair bit of time management and dedication, especially for those who are trying to accomplish this task while already adhering to a very busy schedule.

Study At Night

You can also study before you go to bed as your brain tends to strengthen memories you create right before you sleep. You may also remember information for longer, as studies show that the deterioration of memories is slower if those memories where created right before going to sleep.

Leave the Screens at The Door

With that said, never bring your computer or iPad into bed with you to study, as blue light can disrupt your sleep. In fact, ditching the screens altogether may be a good idea when studying. The urge to check social media can be a constant distraction and television in the background will have your attention divided.

Be Open

As far as tips to use when taking the actual exam there are a few things that you should keep in mind. These tips can also be used when taking any multiple choice exam as they are fairly proven strategies.

The first of these tips is that with multiple choice exams like the patent bar exam answers are rarely found in absolutes. This simply means that if you run across answers that have the words “never” or “always” in them they are typically not going to be the right answer. Conversely, if you come across answers with the words “sometimes” or “often” they are more likely to be correct. This is especially true with the patent bar exam as there are more commonly a variety of solutions to issues in regards to this subject. Of course, that’s not to say that answers dealing in absolutes are always going to wrong, but if you are unsure of an answer and you find one of these options as a choice it’s best to choose otherwise.

Cast a Wider Net If You’re Unsure

Another thing to keep in mind when taking the patent bar exam is that if you find an answer to a question that has the words “all of the above” in it, this may be your best bet if you are unsure of the answer. These types of solutions are more likely than not to be the correct choice.

With that in mind, if you come across an answer with the words, “none of the above” in it, then, more often than not, it is the wrong answer. Multiple choice tests, especially the patent bar exam, won’t make things easy on you and choosing a “none of the above” answer is usually a trick.

Don’t Linger If You’re Stuck

A few final tips are to not take longer than a couple minutes on a single question. If you find yourself stuck for an extended period of time simply skip the question and come back to it later. Also, if you absolutely must guess on an answer, it’s best practice to pick one of the middle responses such a “b” or “c”. These middle answers are more typically shown to be the correct response as opposed to “a” or “d”.

Hopefully, these tips will help both your studying practices and test-taking abilities. Investing in the Patent Education Series review program or one similar to it will give you all the resources needed to successfully pass the patent bar exam.

Getting Motivated: The Best Way to Study for the Patent Bar Exam

The patent bar exam is the biggest step in your journey to becoming a patent attorney or patent agent. In many cases it will also be the last step you need to take to begin your career. Before taking the patent bar examination, you want to be prepared and brimming to the top with all the right information.

The patent bar is a difficult exam. There are bright sides to the exam, like the fact that it’s all multiple choice questions and that you’re allowed to have the MPEP manual by your side while testing. This should help alleviate some of that stress on your shoulders.

However, your test time is limited and shuffling through the MPEP for an answer will eat up your valuable time. You’ll want to answer as many questions as possible without using the MPEP.

So, what can you do to be prepared? Of course, it is more than simply guessing multiple-choice questions, you need to be prepared as possible. These tips will have you prepared and give you the positive mindset you need.

Have a Plan of Action Ready

Having a plan of action will help keep you organized while you’re studying. You’ll want to create a structured study plan that you can stick to regardless of any distractions.

Do you study better at night or in the morning? Do you have to study around a work schedule? Make sure your study schedule is what works best for you so you can optimize your learning and studying skills.

You should also create a study plan on what you’re going to study and when you’re going to study it. You want to be making sure you’re studying the most important patent cases and the important patent laws.

Set goals for yourself but make sure they’re realistic. Set a goal of how many pages you’re going to read that day or what information you want to have absorbed by the end of a study session. This gives you something specific to focus on.

It helps to ease your mind if on the day of the exam—you know exactly what office building you need to go to and what room you’ll need to report to. This will help maintain the organization you’ve been relying on. If you’re running around and not sure where to go, you’ll stress yourself out.

Take a Study Course

You don’t want to go into the exam blindly. The best way to be prepared for the patent bar examination is to take a study course that caters specifically to the patent bar exam. There are live courses you can take but that’s not your only choice when looking for a patent review course.

We have been offering an independent study review course for over a decade that’s helped prepare countless students to pass the exam. We offer you all the tools and the information that you need to pass the patent bar exam.

Through an independent course like ours, you can study with the aid of your laptop (or even your smart phone) wherever you are. Our interactive course allows you to remember what you’ve learned so you can use the information when you need it.

Study with a Friend or a Group

Adding a study group to your study mix can be extremely beneficial to your learning, especially if you’re a social butterfly. You won’t get lonely during all those hours of studying.

This also gives you a support system to lean on. You’re all taking the patent bar, so all of you will know and understand the pressure the exam will have on you. You can prepare notes, discuss study techniques, and you can even have someone to talk to if you start stressing out over the exam. It’s possible to find someone online to lean on, even if there’s no one near you geographically.

Everyone learns differently and everyone studies differently. All of our brains are unique in the way we remember, think, and perceive information. Studying in a group will open you up to new ways to study and to retain the information you need for the exam.

Study before Bed

Believe it or not, studying before bed can help you retain new information better than studying any other time of the day. It used to be a myth we all relied on the night before a big test in high school. Now there’s science and numerous studies to back it up.

During sleep, our brains create new neurological pathways to help retain the information we absorbed before bed. The cortex of our brain remains active while we’re catching some sleep.

Speaking of sleep, you need a healthy night of sleep before the exam. If you stay up all night studying, chances are you’ll be drained right when you walk into the exam room. You’ll be forgetful, you’ll be sleepy, and your concentration (and your confidence) will drop. And you need to be at your top performance level to handle the 6 hour exam where difficult questions will be thrown your way throughout the entire day. So don’t skip out on sleep the night before.

Bonus Tips

  • Practice tests are a fantastic asset when studying for an exam. They let you know where you’re at with your studying and what you need to focus on.
  • Do you love music? Music (without lyrics) has been known to help study nights run smoother and help you remember all the information you’re feeding your brain.
  • A healthy breakfast before the exam will boost your energy levels, reduce any test anxiety, and boost your confidence.


Studying to become a patent attorney or patent agent doesn’t have to mentally exhaust you. There are instrumental tips you can use to optimize how you retain information, what you retain, and how to use that information to not only pass your exam but to continue to use the information you learned throughout your patent law career.

Classes You Will Take in an IP Law Program

If you’re interested in pursuing a degree in intellectual property law, you’re required to take and complete a variety of classes that are directly related to intellectual property law at a qualified law school.

The path to this career isn’t easy and requires dedication and effort, but once you complete these requirements you’ll be involved in one of the fastest growing practices. Due to the growth in both technology and the global economy, many law firms are taking on more and more cases involving copyrights, trademarks, and patents.

Before we get into the actual classes you can expect to take when specializing in intellectual property law, its first important to note that each and every law school is different and has different requirements for their law degrees. The courses in this article are usually required for a general IP law degree, but some schools may require more or less coursework than others. In order to get a more concrete idea of what courses you’re expected to take, it’s best to research the particular school you’re thinking of attending. Without further delay here are some of the classes you should expect to take when pursuing a degree in intellectual property law.

Copyright Law

Since intellectual property law consists mainly of protecting individuals from copyright, trademark, and patent theft or unfair use you should expect to take law classes dealing in those subjects.

The first course type we are going to talk about is copyright law, which is intended to teach you about the various theories and methods lawyers use to protect an individuals or companies intellectual and creative properties. These include, but are not limited to, copyrights on computer software, architecture, music, literature, television programs, movies, video games, artwork, advertisements, and puzzles. There are certainly many other types of intellectual properties that are protected by copyright laws but these are some of the more common types.

Copyright classes will teach you about the rather complex federal statutes that are in place to protect against copyright infringement, but will also touch on some related laws that can provide an alternative means to copyright protection.

Patent Law

Another set of classes you would take in a general IP law program are those concerning patent law. These classes will teach you all about the various laws and ways a lawyer would go about procuring patents for clients, the sale and transferring of patents, as well as the enforcement of patents. You’ll basically have to show that you have a solid understanding of the rather complex statutory language that defines patent law. You’ll also have to be able to show that you’ve learned how to apply prior court decisions on patents to justify other cases, as well as show an understanding of how and why you would conduct business transactions involving patents.

The fun doesn’t end there as you’ll also be taught how to fully understand the impact of the burden of proof and how various pieces of evidence can be used to assess patent disputes. Finally, you’ll learn about the rather complex situations where there are levels of ambiguity to patent laws and how you would hypothetically asses those ambiguities using the facts of the law.

Trademark Law

Trademark law is another coursework set you will take in an IP law program. Trademark law deals with the investigation and protection of trade symbols. Trademark law explains how and why certain images are protected from unfair use such as using the Burger King logo on T-shirts for sale without their permission. Of course, there is much more to it than that, as you will also learn about how various laws protect individuals and businesses from using and abusing their protected trademarks. In addition, you’ll also become well-versed in actionable false advertising, the law of branding, knowing the difference between trademarks and the other types of intellectual property and how they relate to the law and understanding how trademark law works in relation in the context of unfair competition.

You may even be required to learn about how United States trademark laws relate to that of other countries, as well as the procedures and resources available to register trademarks.

Other Courses

These three subsets of IP law will serve as the backbone of your IP law program, but you may also be required to take an introductory course concerning intellectual property that will set the tone for the other classes mentioned in this article. This course is basically a preview of what intellectual law is which can be a great way for aspiring lawyers to test the waters of IP law in order to see if it’s something they wish to pursue.

There are a few other courses that are recommended for law students pursuing a career in IP law such as patent prosecution, law, science & biotechnology, and antitrust courses.

Taking these courses will certainly get you on the right track to a glorious career in intellectual property law, but you’ll also be required to pass certain tests in order to become licensed to practice these types of cases including the patent bar exam.

Why Learn About Patents if You’re an Engineer?

Engineers and law are a powerful combination. Communication skills learned in law school complement the quantitative skills developed in engineering training. Analyzing legal cases is similar to techniques used in scientific problem-solving.

Patent law is a specialized legal field which involves the trademarking of new products and inventions. Because of this, lawyers and graduates of certain scientific and engineering fields are the only ones who can sit for the patent bar exam. Engineers falls into this specialized group. Engineers should consider learning about patents because it offers an alternative to the regular work an engineer would take on and because it offers the potential of a high salary.

An engineer can succeed in the legal field if some common pitfalls are avoided. The traps tend to make it hard for engineers to adjust to studying law. Once aligned, engineers do as well in law school as their political science classmates.

The Hard Part

There are aspects of law school that are particularly foreign to many engineers and techies.

Reading, Writing & Testing: The sheer volume of required reading is daunting. It is not unusual to be assigned more than 100 pages to read per night. Reading law material is different from reading a novel. Extremely dense cases slow down even the fastest of readers. Case briefings are also a daily assignment and fast students need several hours to keep the pace. The time crunch is at its worst in the first few weeks when students have no idea what they are doing.

It’s also rare for a student in a science based field to have well developed writing skills. Although science and engineering students may be used to preparing lab reports, law students must be able to prepare well-thought out, well-written dissertations and essays.

Likewise, exams will often test in a real-life, analytical scenario. While scientists and engineers are used to clear cut, fact based exams, exams in law school will require employing critical thinking instead of necessarily simply giving the “right” answer.

Engineering Strengths

Luckily, there are many aspects of legal education that people with a techie background have a distinct advantage with.

Analytic Skills & Math: Legal analysis follows a logical progression. It is similar to proofs. Techies know how to think analytically. Non-techies often struggle with this aspect of law school. The engineer has to learn to convey logic in words to produce effective legal writing. The engineer will also have a leg up on other students when it comes to crunching numbers. Patent Law requires lots of in-depth analytics of statistics. Not only will engineers be able to properly analyze and makes sense of the statistics, but legal battles are often won with logic.

Try not to get too concerned about the trials of a legal education. All law schools require first-year students to take a legal writing class, which will help you to develop the writing skills you need to get through. It is essential for engineers to take the class and develop needed skills for final exams. To ensure that you are successful in taking the patent bar exam, you can also participate in prep classes and study groups as well as take part in test exams to ensure your success. Read cases and begin learning how to analyze them.

The Reason for this Presentation

Becoming a patent agent or patent attorney is not the only career option in the area of patent law. However, only students with science and engineering backgrounds can sit for the patent bar exam. Along with the rise in technology over the last 15 years, the demand for intellectual property attorneys has also risen, as well as job prospects for qualified students.

Patent attorneys and agents help clients with the patent navigation to acquire patents for their inventions. A patent agent does not have to have a law degree. The list below gives the median salaries of different types of engineers, patent agents, and patent attorneys.

  • Agricultural Engineer $59,220
  • Environmental Engineer $63,111
  • Biomedical Engineer $63,861
  • Industrial Engineer $64,515
  • Civil Engineer $65,440
  • Structural Engineer $65,606
  • Design Engineer $65,714
  • Manufacturing Engineer $66,207
  • Mechanical Engineer $69,231
  • Project Engineer $$69,445
  • Chemical Engineer $72,806
  • Electrical Engineer $73,699
  • Electronics Engineer $75,307
  • Software Engineer $81,057
  • Aerospace Engineer $82,398
  • Nuclear Engineer $84,971
  • Patent Agent $92,000
  • Petroleum Engineer $101,817
  • Patent Attorney $133,000

The experience an engineer accumulates by earning an undergraduate degree in engineering makes patent law an ideal field to move into. The only new credential needed to become a patent agent is passing the patent bar exam. However, as you can see, obtaining a law degree and passing the patent bar exam leads to a more lucrative patent attorney career.

Engineers work with their hands and on computers. Attending meetings and communicating with team members or management may also be duties performed. Patent agents don’t work much with their hands.

Most of the day is spent drafting patent applications or overcoming rejections. They spend time communicating with other office members. Communicating with inventors whose patents they are trying to acquire is also necessary.

The inventors may be individuals, groups, or an engineering company or university like the one where you are currently working. Patent agents likely protect more inventions than they would as an engineer or inventor.

Patent Bar Exam

The exam is a multiple-choice, six-hour exam that contains 100 questions. Details from the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure are tested. When the USPTO introduces new guidelines, supplemental material may need to be reviewed.

The exam is “open-book.” The candidate has access to the MPEP that outlines all patent law aspects. It contains thousands of pages that do not include the supplemental material. The search function is limited.

To benefit from taking the open-book exam, the candidate needs to know topic locations. The test is timed and does not allow for every question to be researched. It takes many people a full year to prepare for the exam. The average time spent studying is three to six months.

Passing the exam is worth the trouble. There are various scenarios for patent agents seeking employment. Many former engineers immediately obtain a job after passing the exam. Some acquire entry-level positions before preparing for the test. There are those who work first for a technology transfer office. Others gain immediate patent agent employment. In addition, the status of an engineer is elevated upon receiving the credential of a registered patent agent so taking and passing the exam is really an opportunity for nearly any engineer.

How to Get Back Up When You Have Setbacks

“Even the accomplished suffers setbacks sometimes. The more bitter the lessons, the greater the successes will be.” -Lucio Tan

You are going to fail at some point in your patent law career. You are going to fail at some point in your life. It stings when reality doesn’t align with your expectations. Sometimes you fail because of your own missteps, and there are times you will fail because a situation is completely out of your control.

Whether you failed the bar exam, the patent bar exam, or didn’t get the dream job, it’s these trying moments and these major setbacks that will define your drive and create your future.

You could give up and walk away. That’s the easiest road to take and the road so many end up taking because of a setback. But you are stronger than you know. You are going to dust yourself off and keep trekking because you are in this for the long haul.

Working as a patent agent or patent lawyer will be worth the setbacks you endure, and there are steps you can take to overcome any setback or obstacle.

Analyze the Situation 

The first step is to take a deep breath and analyze the situation in which you failed. There are several questions you will need to ask yourself to properly understand everything that happened.

  • Why did things go the way they did?
  • Could you have prevented what happened or was it out of your hands?
  • What could you do differently next time that might change the outcome to a positive one?
  • What can you learn from this situation?

This is where critical thinking comes into play. You have to think outside of your emotions and personal perception of a situation.

You may feel you studied hard, but you failed the patent bar exam. If you look outside of your emotions, you may realize you may not have dedicated enough time to learning certain aspects of the patent process. You stumbled on specific questions.

Looking at it from another perspective helps too. Ask a close colleague or friend to analyze your setback if you feel comfortable divulging in someone else on the situation.

Stay Focused on Your Goal

A setback can emotionally impact you more than you realize in the beginning. This can make your goal seem close to impossible. It can also cause a fear that can paralyze you from growing and trying again.

You can’t let failure keep you down for too long. It’s okay to grieve and spend some time healing yourself, but you can’t wallow in misery for too long. You have to stay focused on your goal.

If the situation deems it necessary, you may need to reevaluate your goals. Make them more accessible by creating smaller goals that lead up to your biggest goal.

Make a list of what you want to accomplish. “Become a patent attorney” is too vague. Break it down into what steps you need to take to get there. As an example, “Pass the bar exam” can turn into “study four hours daily.” It helps to see these goals in writing.

Create a New Plan

If you’ve already failed it, the next time you take the patent bar exam, you might need to try a different study routine. The only way to turn the negative of a setback into a positive one is to learn from what happened. This is where focusing on your goals helps immensely.

You’ve analyzed your situation, and at this point, you should know what you need to change or work on to pass the exam on your next try. Make a detailed plan that will help you do better next time.

Break your goals down into bullet points or a diagram. Whatever works best for you that will guide you to success.

Take Action

You know where you took a wrong turn since you’ve analyzed the situation and you’ve created a detailed plan on what you need to do to do better. The next obvious step is to take action and begin the plan that you put thought into.

You want to implement your plan and put it into action. You need to ignore the excuses in your head as to why this won’t work, or the thoughts telling you to give up. You need to step up and work harder.

If you plan on studying, stick to your plan. Stick to the hours you’ve set for your study hours. Eliminate any distractions that could deter you.

Stay focused on your goals, and this will motivate you when it comes to sticking to your plan.

Keep Challenging Yourself

The most important thing to remember is to keep challenging yourself despite your struggles and setbacks. If you don’t, you will remain stagnate and won’t accomplish everything you have set out to do.

If you accomplish your goals, set new ones. Your wisdom and maturity stop when you pique in life. So, don’t let yourself pique. Continue to grow and continue to learn.

This goes beyond just your career as a patent attorney or agent. You want to grow in all aspects of your life. You want to be the best you that you can be.

You Often Have to Fail a Few Times to Succeed

Everyone has setbacks, and everyone fails. You’re not alone in this, and you aren’t the first to be in your position, whether you failed the exam or bombed an interview.

Success is subjective, but every successful person has one thing in common. They’ve all had setbacks, but they kept on fighting through these problems. They put their fists up and take a jab right back at life.

The most common thought when one has a setback is that you’re a failure. You are only a failure if you give up trying.

Personal Accountability & Preparing for the Patent Bar Exam

Preparing for the patent bar exam is more than a little overwhelming. There are a lot of complex details to learn. But if you’re open to taking responsibility for the results and hold yourself accountable, you’re already on your way to being successful. With the patent bar exam and in life, one thing that predicts success is how much accountability you take for your own actions.

A Little About the Exam

Before we talk about proper preparation and the role of personal accountability, let’s take a closer look at the exam itself. If you want to practice as a patent agent or attorney, you have to pass the bar exam. Before you can prepare for an exam, you have to know a little bit about it.

The patent bar exam is structured like many exams with 100 multiple choice questions. The total time to take the exam is 6 hours, but it’s broken down into two sessions. There’s a 3-hour morning session, a 3-hour afternoon session, and an hour break in between. If you do the math, that leaves you with about 3 minutes and 45 seconds per question. That might seem like a lot of time, but most of the questions are long and include a lot of detail.

You must answer at least 70% of the questions correctly to pass. There’s no penalty for getting an answer wrong, so it’s best to make an educated guess, even if you’re not sure.

This test is notoriously difficult. In fact, on average, only 50% of people pass. The pass rate has actually been slightly below that in recent years.

What can you do to give you the best chance of passing? There is no shortcut or trick. You just have to prepare.

How to Prepare

Now for some better news. During your exam, you’re allowed access to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). It just so happens that the patent bar exam tests your knowledge of the MPEP and how well you apply it. That said, some people mistakenly think that since the patent exam is an open test they don’t bother to prepare properly.

While it’s technically true that the exam is open book, it’s unrealistic to think that you’re going to be able to look up all the questions on test day. However, figuring out how to use the MPEP efficiently is a good start toward preparing for the exam.

On exam day, the best way to approach the questions is to assume that you’ll need to spend time looking up the concepts that you don’t know.

One really important thing about preparing is that you actually have to do it. That’s where personal accountability comes in.

Personal Accountability and Passing (or Failing) the Patent Bar Exam

Generally, personal accountability can be explained with one simple question. How much of your success in life do you think is in your control?

Believe it or not, if you think that your actions, behaviors, and choices are responsible for your own success, you’re more likely to be successful. If you believe that you are at least 85% responsible for your own success and that only 15% is left to chance or luck, you have a good chance of being successful in whatever you’re trying to achieve.

Therefore, if you believe that your preparation, knowledge, and skill are going to contribute to passing the bar exam, then you’re more likely to pass. It’s not hard to see why. People who have personal accountability know that the time they put into preparing for the patent bar exam is more important than just hoping for a good score or a run of good luck. These are the people who are more likely to do the work needed to succeed.

Not everyone has this much personal accountability, though. The good news? It’s a skill you can learn.

The first step is to take responsibility for your actions. Responsible people know what they need to do, and they do it. That applies to both good and bad situations. It’s easy to take responsibility for hard work or a job that turned out well; but you also have to accept responsibility when the outcomes are not what you expected.

An important way to focus on learning how to take responsibility is to not focus on the past. You can’t change the past. Dwelling on it often leads to regret and what-if’s. Instead, focus on what you can actively do about it. If you’ve failed exams in that past, try not to dwell on it or have the mindset that you’re just a bad test taker. Instead, ask yourself what you can do to have the best chance of passing.

Personal accountability also has an element of self-empowerment. This helps you realize that you really do have the ability to change things and you can start to take the actions necessary to get what you want. It’s one thing to know what you have to do. It’s another thing altogether to actually do it.

By taking responsibility for your own success and seeing that you have the power to change, you’ll be able to make things happen.

The patent bar exam is not easy, but it’s not impossible. Preparing is your best shot at passing.  Whether or not you do the proper prep work is completely in your hands.