The MPEP 9th Edition was released and published on the USPTO website in March 2014. However, the Patent Bar does not always reflect the latest version of the MPEP. It often lags behind (sometimes it lags behind as much as a full year or more).
Currently, the tested version of the MPEP is the 8th Edition, Revision 9.
Since the Patent Bar was just updated in Jan of 2014 to include a few additional supplements, it will not likely be updated again to cover the newly released 9th Edition of the MPEP for a little while. This is only speculation, but it may not be updated until the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.
Currently, in order to be fully prepared for the Patent Bar exam, you need to study the MPEP 8th Edition, Revision 9 along with 14 different supplements covering the America Invents Act (AIA).
The 9th Edition includes much of the AIA from these supplements all wrapped into it.
Therefore, it seems likely that the next time the USPTO updates the materials covered on the exam we will not need to worry about supplements (or at least not very many). That would be a nice change since the last 3 or so years have required candidates for the exam to study a large number of supplements in addition to the MPEP.
Does This Really Help You?
In all reality reducing the number of AIA supplements while incorporating AIA material into the MPEP keeps the volume of information you need to study the same. Volume is what really matters when you’re up late at night trying to get through it all.
However, only having one source (the MPEP) may make it seem more organized. But in the end, there’s still the same volume of material to learn. And there’s a lot of it, for now and in the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, there are a few major organizational changes with regards to the material. As noted in the forward of the 9th Edition, most of the changes to the laws, rules, and practice necessitated by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act have been added to sections of the MPEP.
Fortunately, many chapters are not impacted and have stayed the same between the 9th Edition and the 8th Edition, Revision 9, August 2012). These include Chapters 800, 900, 1000, 1300, 1700,1800, 1900, 2000, 2300, 2400, and 2500.
One major change is that in the 9th Edition, Chapter 2800 has been added. This chapter covers Supplemental Examinations. These have been covered extensively in AIA supplements so again, the material is not necessarily new, it’s just newly added to the MPEP.
In addition, the MPEP 9th Edition includes the First-Inventor-to-File laws and rules in Chapter 700 and throughout other chapters where it is applicable. This is a big addition and does help organize the material to a small extent instead of having to piece things together from various supplements. However, on the flip side, having it in supplements makes it easier to find as Chapter 700 in the MPEP is already a long chapter to have to wade through.
So it’s really a toss up as to whether the exam is going to get any easier.
Again, many of the chapters don’t necessarily change much, but have simply added in the AIA information where relevant.
All this means is the future for test takers is about the same as that for current test takers.
Currently, the MPEP is the major source, while the supplements contain the new AIA information. In the future, the MPEP will move back to being the main source of information and there hopefully won’t be as many supplements, which may help the tested materials seem more organized.
We’ll take what we can get, even if the volume still stays the same. It’s likely that the next update to the Patent Bar exam will not be as major as those over the past few years have been. If anything, the Patent Bar will have settled into new questions covering the AIA and things will level off as AIA is assimilated to a greater degree into the MPEP.