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Who Can Take the Patent Bar Exam?

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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In order to represent inventors in their quest to obtain US patents you must be admitted to practice in front of the United States Patent Office. In order to become a patent attorney or patent agent it is necessary to take and pass the Patent Bar Examination. Only those individuals with scientific education are allowed to sit for the examination, and you do not need any legal training to take the exam. The burden is placed on individuals applying for the examination to demonstrate that they possess the scientific and technical training necessary to provide valuable service to patent Applicants. An Applicant will be considered to have 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:

Science Degrees Engineering Degrees
  • Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Botany
  • Computer Science*
  • Electronics Technology
  • Food Technology
  • General Chemistry
  • Marine Technology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Physics
  • Textile Technology
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Agricultural Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Ceramic Engineering
  • Chemical EngineeringCivil
  • Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electrochemical Engineering
  • Engineering Physics
  • General Engineering
  • Geological Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering


Please note that with Computer Science degrees the school the degree is awarded by must be accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Commission (CSAC) of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board (CSAB), or by the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), on or before the date the degree was awarded. Computer science degrees that are accredited may be found on the Internet (

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An applicant with a Bachelor’s degree in one of the approved subjects must submit an official original transcript from the college or university. A diploma, copy of the diploma, or copy of the transcript will not be accepted. The official original transcript will be accepted from applicants. The college or university transcript must be official/original and include the university stamp or seal.

An applicant with a Bachelor’s degree in a subject not listed, such as Biological Sciences, Pharmacy, Mechanical Technology, or a Computer Science degree from an institution that was not accredited by the CSAC of the CSAB or by the CAC of ABET on or before the date the degree was awarded must establish to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she possesses the necessary scientific and technical training under either Category B or Category C.

Ironically, the Patent Office does not accept advanced degrees as per se evidence that the applicant has sufficient scientific training to presumptively qualify to sit for the Patent Bare Exam. Thus, an applicant who has a Master’s or higher level degree in one of the subject areas listed above, but does not have a Bachelor’s degree in such subject, must established to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she possesses the necessary scientific and technical training. Possession of the necessary scientific and technical training may be satisfactorily established in the manner set forth under either Category B or Category C.

For information on how to become patent bar eligible please see Becoming Patent Bar Eligible: What Courses are Accepted?

About the Patent Bar Exam

For more information please these articles:


About the Author

Eugene R. Quinn, Jr.
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
US Patent Attorney (Reg. No. 44,294)
Zies, Widerman & Malek

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University
J.D., Franklin Pierce Law Center
L.L.M. in Intellectual Property, Franklin Pierce Law Center

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Gene is a US Patent Attorney and the founder of Known by many as “The IPWatchdog.” Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website in 1999, and since that time the site has had millions of unique visitors.Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.