The Patent Bar is the informal name of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Examination's Goal: "The examination is designed to test an applicant's knowledge of applicable patent laws, rules and procedures, and the ability to analyze factual situations and properly apply the patent laws, rules and procedures to render valuable service, advice and assistance to patent applicants in the preparation and prosecution of their patent applications."
"The examination is 100 multiple-choice questions in two sessions. Fifty (50) questions will be asked in a three-hour morning session, and fifty (50) questions will be asked in a three-hour afternoon session. Each question has five choices. A total of six hours is permitted for completion of the examination."
Successfully passing the Patent Bar, entitles one to become a "Patent Agent" or a "Patent Attorney" and 37 C.F.R § 11.6 defines Patent "Agent" and "Attorney."
37 C.F.R. § 11.6 Registration of attorneys and agents.
(a) Attorneys. Any citizen of the United States who is an attorney and who fulfills the requirements of this part may be registered as a patent attorney to practice before the Office….
(b) Agents. Any citizen of the United States who is not an attorney, and who fulfills the requirements of this part may be registered as a patent agent to practice before the Office....
USPTO EXAMINATION PREPARATION MATERIALS: The MPEP and other reference materials are available on their website.
Other Sources for Patent Bar Review
EXAMINATION PREPARATION COURSES: This is not an exhaustive list of Patent Bar Review courses available and Oklahoma City University does not endorse nor recommend any of the above courses. The list above is purely informative.
Before an applicant can sit for the "Patent Bar," they must demonstrate that they possess the required scientific and technical training required. The USPTO has three categories that may be used to satisfy this requirement:
CATEGORY A: Bachelor's Degree in a Recognized Technical Subject.
An applicant will be considered to have established to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she possesses the necessary scientific and technical training if he or she provides an official transcript showing that a Bachelor's degree was awarded in one of the following subjects by an accredited United States college or university, or that the equivalent to a Bachelor's degree was awarded by a foreign university in one of the following subjects:
*Requires specific type of accreditation (See USPTO General Requirements Bulletin for Admission (III)(A) for more details)
Bachelor's Degrees in other Subjects/ Graduate Degrees: The applicant must show to the satisfaction of the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) requisite scientific and technical training under either Category B or Category C below.
CATEGORY B: Bachelor's Degree in Another Subject.
An applicant with a Bachelor's degree in a subject other than one of those listed in Category A, must establish to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she possesses scientific and technical training equivalent to that received at an accredited U.S. college or university for a Bachelor's degree in one of the subjects listed in Category A. To establish such equivalence to the satisfaction
of the OED Director, an applicant can satisfy one of the following four options, other training, or other education listed below. The applicant must submit the necessary documentation and objective evidence showing satisfaction of one of the options or other means of qualifying.
Option 1: 24 semester hours in physics. Only physics courses for physics majors will be accepted.
Option 2: 32 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following: 8 semester hours of chemistry or physics, and 24 semester hours in biology, botany, microbiology, or molecular biology.
The 8 semester hours in chemistry or physics must be obtained in two sequential courses, each course including a lab. Only courses for science or engineering majors will be accepted.
Option 3: 30 semester hours in chemistry. Only chemistry courses for chemistry majors
will be accepted.
Option 4: 40 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following: 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics, and 32 semester hours of chemistry, physics, biology, botany, microbiology, molecular biology, or engineering. (For Computer Science, see other acceptable course work.)
The 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics must be obtained in two sequential courses, each course including a lab. Only courses for science or engineering majors will be accepted. For Computer Science, see other "Other Acceptable Course
All acceptable coursework for Options 2 and 4 must be for science or engineering majors.
(See USPTO General Requirements Bulletin for Admission (III)(B) for more details)
CATEGORY C: Practical Engineering or Scientific Experience.
An applicant relying on practical engineering or scientific experience or who does not qualify under Category A or B above may establish the required technical training by demonstrating that he or she has taken and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test. The FE test is a test of engineering fundamentals. The FE test is developed and administered by a State Board of Engineering Examiners in each State or comparable jurisdiction. Neither the USPTO nor any other U.S. Government agency administers the test. An applicant desiring to take the FE test should direct inquiries to the Secretaries of the appropriate State Boards. Official results of the FE test must be submitted to establish qualification under this category. An applicant attempting to qualify under Category C must submit an official transcript showing the award of a Bachelors degree.
(See USPTO General Requirements Bulletin for Admission (III)(C) for more details)
The USPTO moved to a computer-based test delivery system. A candidate for registration to practice in patent cases before the USPTO must apply to Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) by completing a registration application form and submitting all required documentation and government fees. A commercial test delivery provider, Prometric, will administer the computer-based examination. An applicant seeking admission to the examination for the first time should send documents to Mailstop OED, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450. Also, instructions for completing the Application Form PTO 158 can be found in section IV of the General Requirements Bulletin. More information about registration can be found at USPTO Exam Registration and Prometric Registration.
The Patent Bar has various fees associated with application and examination, see General Requirements Bulletin for details.