The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will update its registration examination and provide new reference materials effective April 12, 2011. The changes will help ensure that newly registered patent attorneys and agents are fully qualified in the most current patent laws, rules and procedures. This change marks the first change to the exam in approximately 5 years, and will bring the patent bar exam current with law, rules and regulations through the Winter of 2011. Those who are interested in taking the patent bar exam should consider this update a major revision, indeed such a major revision to the test that old patent bar exams circulating the Internet will be an insufficient means to study for the new exam.
“Patent applicants and examiners will benefit from the updated registration examination because newly registered patent attorneys and agents will have demonstrated familiarity with the most current patent laws, rules and procedures,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos.
All applicants wishing to practice in patent cases before the USPTO must pass the registration exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions. The revised exam questions will be based on the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) Edition 8, Revision 8, along with other published USPTO policy and procedure reference materials. Administration of the previous version of the registration examination ceased April 4, 2011. Effective April 12, 2011, the computer-delivered registration examination will be updated to utilize the following reference materials:
- Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), Edition 8, Revision 8
- Examination Guidelines Update: Developments in the Obviousness Inquiry After KSR v. Teleflex
- New Interim Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Examination Instructions, August 2009
- Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos
- Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos, July 2010
- Supplementary Examination Guidelines for Determining Compliance with 35 U.S.C. § 112 and for Treatment of Related Issues in Patent Applications
For those wishing to take the exam, the General Requirements Bulletin includes all information necessary for applying to the examination.
A tip of the hat to Director Kappos and his team! Director Kappos has now been at the Patent Office for approximately 20 months. During that time he has undertaken a great many tasks, which are aimed at resulting in a better, smoother, quicker patent process. The fact that he and his team have focused efforts on the patent bar examination demonstrates that no corner of the Patent Office will go without review under his tenure, which bodes well for the patent system as a whole.
For more information about the patent bar examination see: