USPTO to Update Patent Bar Exam in August 2018

By Gene Quinn
May 3, 2018

The Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has announced that the patent bar exam will be updated once again. The latest update to the patent registration examination will be effective as of August 16, 2018.

In order to facilitate the switch over to a new patent bar examination, no examination will be administered from August 9, 2018 through August 15, 2018.

Once the new exam comes on line on August 16, 2018, the patent exam will cover all materials referred to in the source materials designated as testable by OED. These source materials for the updated examination beginning August 16, 2018 will not include the Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance and Training Materials that were previously included in the source materials for the registration examination through August 8, 2018. That does not, however, mean that patent eligibility will not be tested on the patent bar exam. According to OED, the topic of patent eligibility will be covered on the new updated examination beginning August 16, 2018, as set forth in the materials found in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), Ninth Edition, Revision 08.2017.

“This is a mere change in form, not substance,” according to John White, principle lecturer in the PLI patent bar review course. “The PTO will start testing the current version of the MPEP, and stop testing the miscellaneous memos and the like that are currently tested. But all of those memos have now been incorporated into the new MPEP, so there’s no change of substance. Just a change in citations.”

According to White, who has reviewed the new source materials for the exam, there is no new material being added to the patent bar exam, and nothing being taken off the exam. “There is no substantive advantage to taking the Exam before or after this change.”


In unrelated news, patent bar news, a written, paper-based examination for individuals seeking registration as patent attorneys and agents will be held Thursday, July 26, 2018 pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 2(b)(2)(D) and 37 CFR § 11.7. Friday, May 18, 2018 is the deadline for filing applications along with the appropriate application fee and the $450.00 examination fee and all necessary showings as required by 37 CFR § 11.7(b)(1)(i)(A) through (D). The written examination is an alternative to the computerized examination ordinarily administered, and is generally for purposes of providing accommodations for those who have some disability.

If you will want to take the July 26, 2018 written, paper-based patent bar examination it is critical to know that a timely filed application is one that is received in the Office on or before May 18, 2018, or mailed on or before May 18, 2018, in full compliance with the certificate of mailing provisions of 37 CFR § 1.8 or 37 CFR § 1.10. A mere postmark on an envelope is not sufficient to meet the deadline. Applications must bear applicant’s original signature and they may not be filed by facsimile or electronically.

The Office is also proposing to discontinue the administration of the paper-based version of the registration examination to practice in patent cases before the USPTO. The agency is considering this action due to the diminished interest in the paper-based version of the examination in recent years and to conserve the considerable resources including Office personnel that are dedicated each year by the USPTO to administer the examination.  Proposed rulemaking is anticipated, but in the meantime the Office is soliciting comments addressed to:  paul.nguyen-ba@uspto.gov, or by postal mail addressed to: Mail Stop OED, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450, marked to the attention of Paul Nguyen-Ba.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of IPWatchdog.com. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

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There are currently 2 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. Jordan May 4, 2018 5:57 am

    I trust John White, but when the USPTO tells me that they are going to “update” the exam, I get worried.

  2. Bo May 12, 2018 5:22 pm

    I`m also worried what will be updated? Test questions?

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