The Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases ("patent bar exam") is overseen by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The exam is offered in a computer-based format ($200) or paper-based format ($450); however, most applicants choose take the computer-based version of the exam. The computer-based exam is offered most business days at testing centers across the country. The paper-based version is not offered often. A discussion of the test begins on page 21 of the March 2012 USPTO General Requirements Bulletin for Admission.
The exam itself focuses on the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure (MPEP). The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions, of which 90 will be graded. The other ten are beta questions being tested for future exams. 50 questions will be given in a three hour morning session and 50 questions will be given in a three hour afternoon session. A score of 70% correct (or 63 of the 90 graded questions) is required to pass the exam. A copy of the MPEP is available to test takers during the examination.
Although the MLS-Patent Practice program will provide graduates with the information needed to pass the patent bar exam, patent bar exam preparation is not the primary goal of the program. The main goal is to prepare graduates for successful patent practice after passing the patent bar exam, which requires a focus much broader than just the MPEP.
There are many commercial patent bar preparation courses available that focus solely on preparation for the patent bar exam. The College of Law encourages MLS-Patent Practice students to purchase a commercially available patent bar prep course when preparing to sit for the exam. In some circumstances, the College of Law may be able to assist MLS-Patent Practice students with the costs of purchasing a commercially available prep course. Contact us to discuss particular circumstances.
For full time MLS-Patent Practice students, the College of Law encourages purchase and use of a commercially available prep course during the Spring semester and sitting for the patent bar exam between the Spring semester and Summer sessions. Part time students timing will vary, based on individual circumstances.