Introduction to the Patent Bar Exam

The Patent Bar Exam is an exam given to those seeking to practice and prosecute patent applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) CEH v10 . Those that pass the exam become either a patent attorney or a patent agent. A patent attorney is someone that has usually completed law school and passed a state bar exam. A patent agent is someone that has not passed a state bar exam, but has passed the patent bar exam. Note: it is not necessary to have a law degree to become a patent agent.

A person can become a patent agent as soon as they have completed their undergraduate course requirements and graduated from an accredited college. There is very little difference in terms of patent prosecution work between a patent attorney and a patent agent. If you are considering a career in patent law, it would be wise to consider taking the patent bar exam prior to going to law school, as this will often help you in your future legal job search.

To be eligible to take the exam, you must have a technical background as evidenced by your college degree or courses. There are two ways to qualify.You have an engineering or hard science degree from an accredited university.You have taken enough credit hours of hard science classes as shown on your transcripts.To qualify under either scenario, you must submit your transcripts with your application to take the patent bar exam.

If the USPTO determines that you have completed the necessary course requirements to take the patent bar exam, your application will be approved. Normally, this process takes between two and three weeks to receive notification, after sending your application to the USPTO.

After receiving the USPTO’s approval notice, your confirmation will have a unique ID number with which you can register to take the patent bar exam. The Patent Bar Exam is given by Prometric testing centers on a computer. With your ID number, you can register over the phone or online with Prometric and schedule your exam. You will have ninety days from the date of your application approval to take the exam. Normally, the patent bar exam is given five days a week at Prometric testing centers, but you should check with your closest testing center to verify this.

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