Patent Bar Information
Tips from a fellow IP student who recently passed the Patent Bar.
- Eligibility requirements are posted on the USPTO website.
When to take the exam:
- Anyone interested in taking the Patent Bar should take it the first chance they get. Taking the exam before law school is the best approach. Current students should consider taking the exam at the end of the summer - late August. 1Ls should probably focus on school instead of the patent bar, but should be aware of the eligibility requirements.
- Rising 2Ls may want to consider taking the exam in June or July so they can have their registration number on their resumes when it comes time for OCI.
How to study:
- Purchase a review course. There are several to choose from, including PRG ("the Kayton course"), PLI and Patbar.com. Kayton is very well respected but is very expensive. PLI is moderately priced (approximately $2,000 with the student discount) and is effective. Patbar.com is the least expensive (approximately $1,000) but some people suggest is it not as good as the other two. The courses are expensive but necessary to pass the exam. Also, after passing, you may be able to sell your course on eBay. You may also want to consider purchasing study materials from eBay, but be sure they are fairly recent. The Patent Bar continually changes as different versions of the MPEP come out. Make sure that any course you buy uses the most recent edition of the MPEP.
- Study the review course. This could take up to 200 hours, so plan ahead. Having a background in patents is not necessary but can be helpful. Taking IP or Patent law in law school will introduce many topics that will be on the exam but you will need more time to study. The exam focuses on small nuances. No one question is conceptually difficult. The difficulty resides in the amount of knowledge you need to have a command over.
- Get familiar with the MPEP. This is the 2,000+ page book, published by the USPTO, which forms the substance of the exam. It is not necessary to read the MPEP, but it is necessary to know what chapters contain what information. A PDF version of the MPEP will be available on the exam. It is important to know where certain information is located in the MPEP so you can quickly look it up during the exam.
- Take old practice tests. You can get some from the USPTO website or through your review course. This is the best way to study for the exam. The exam always includes several questions from previous exams. The questions are unchanged and they are a great source for easy points.
Why to take the exam:
- If you are going to be a patent attorney, you will need to take it eventually.
- Taking it early shows that you are committed to patent law (which is very important to some employers)
- It is impressive since the exam is difficult.
- Having a registration number will give you instant credibility in an interview and will increase your chances of landing a job as a summer associate. The patent bar alone will not get you a job, but it will certainly help.