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Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find our question here, or need additional information, please contact us at director@patbar.com.

The Questions



The Answers

1. What is a patent?


A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a government to an inventor or applicant for a limited amount of time (normally 20 years from the filing date). The term "patent" originates from the term patere which means to lay open (to public inspection) and the term "letters patent," which originally denoted royal decrees granting exclusive rights to certain individuals or businesses. Per the word's original definition, one theory of patent legislation is to induce the inventor to disclose knowledge for the advancement of society in exchange for a limited period of exclusivity. Furthermore, as the grant of letters patent only grants the right to exclude others from practicing the invention and does not affirmatively grant the right to practice the invention, a patent is not considered a monopoly right.

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2. What is a patent application?


An inventor (or his or her representative) must file a nonprovisional patent application (either on paper or electronically) as prescribed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in order to have an invention reviewed for patentability (and other formalities) and receive a patent. A complete nonprovisional application contains a specification, an oath or declaration, drawings, when necessary, and filing fees.

A provisional application is filed for the purpose of establishing a priority date. A complete provisional application contains a cover sheet, a specification, drawings, when necessary, and a filing fee.

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3. What is patent prosecution?


After a nonprovisional patent application has been filed, it is reviewed for informalities and then forwarded to the appropriate Technology Center and assigned to an examiner. When the application is taken up for examination by the examiner, a series of correspondence ensues between the examiner and the inventor (or his or her representative) relating to the patentability of the claims and/or other requirements or objections made by the examiner. This stage before the examiner is generally called "prosecution."

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4. What is a patent agent?


A patent agent is any non-lawyer who has met the requirements to be registered before the USPTO in patent matters.

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5. What is a patent attorney?


A patent attorney is any lawyer or attorney who has met the requirements to be registered before the USPTO in patent matters.

The registration examination for both agents and attorneys is the same.

Patent agents and attorneys are sometimes referred to as "practitioners."

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6. What does the term "patent bar" mean?


The term "patent bar" is sometimes used to refer to the examination for registration as a patent agent or attorney in the USPTO. Sometimes it is referred to as the "patent agent's exam." The terminology "patent bar" is accurate since the filing of patent applications and prosecution before the USPTO is considered (by the Supreme Court) the practice of law.

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7. What is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)?


Congress established the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to issue patents on behalf of the government. The Patent Office as a distinct bureau dates from the year 1802 when a separate official in the Department of State who became known as "Superintendent of Patents" was placed in charge of patents. The revision of the patent laws enacted in 1836 reorganized the Patent Office and designated the official in charge as Commissioner of Patents. The Patent Office remained in the Department of State until 1849 when it was transferred to the Department of Interior. In 1925 it was transferred to the Department of Commerce where it is today. The name of the Patent Office was changed to the Patent and Trademark Office in 1975 and changed to the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2000.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office administers the patent laws as they relate to the granting of patents for inventions, and performs other duties relating to patents. It examines applications for patents to determine if the applicants are entitled to patents under the law and grants the patents when they are so entitled; it publishes issued patents, most patent applications filed on or after November 29, 2000, at 18 months from the earliest filing date, and various publications concerning patents; records assignments of patents; maintains a search room for the use of the public to examine issued patents and records; and supplies copies of records and other papers, and the like. Similar functions are performed with respect to the registration of trademarks. The USPTO has no jurisdiction over questions of infringement and the enforcement of patents.

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8. What is the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED)?


The OED has many responsibilities related to the registration of individuals and disciplinary matters, as follows:

Registering patent attorneys and agents. Only attorneys or agents who are admitted to its bar are permitted to practice before the USPTO in patent cases.

Develops and administers an examination to determine if applicants for registration have the necessary knowledge of patent law and practice to assist applicants for patents.

Checks the technological training and moral character of potential patent practitioners.

Publishes the names of persons seeking registration before they are registered.

Maintains a roster of attorneys and agents recognized to practice before the Office in patent cases. The register is available to the public and is updated weekly.

Investigating complaints alleging unethical conduct by registered patent attorneys and agents, as well as attorneys practicing before the USPTO in trademark cases (collectively "practitioners").

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9. What is the General Requirements Bulletin (General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office)?


The General Requirements Bulletin is a publication of the USPTO that includes the requirements for how to apply for the registration examination. It contains complete instructions and the necessary application forms. The forms are also available online as "fill able" PDF forms, and these should be used to file an application.

The Bulletin may be accessed at the following link: Exam Application
Credit card application form and instructions link: Credit Card Application


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10. When should you take the exam?


When to take the exam is, of course a matter of personal choice.

Many engineering and science graduates (who desire to be patent attorneys) prepare for and take the examination during the summer before entering law school or during the first summer in law school. This has the advantage of having this burdensome examination out of the way at an early point in time, freeing them up and qualifying them for important internships in law school. An internship is in many cases the key to securing employment upon graduation from law school.

Scientists and engineers who desire to be patent agents (and possibly attend law school at a more distant time in the future) should take the exam during a period of time where they have the necessary time to study for the exam without unreasonable distractions. For those with a full time job, try to prepare for the exam when you are not under a lot of job-related or family pressure.

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11. Who should take the exam?


Persons who should take the registration examination fall into a number of categories.

As indicated above, science and engineering graduates who have an interest in handling patent matters before the USPTO (i.e., mainly filing and prosecuting patent applications) must take the examination. By passing the examination (plus a few other formalities) the person becomes registered as a patent agent. Many patent agents are employed by law firms as technical specialists in their area of expertise.

Others may desire to do the same kind of work, and usually other legal work such as patent litigation, by attending law school and becoming a patent attorney.

Many scientists and engineers become involved in patents in their employment and have an interest in registering as a patent agent. Sometimes this allows them to become even more involved in this area, and they are sometimes called (as part of their job description) Patent Liaison or Patent Coordinator.

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12. How do you take the exam?


The exam is taken by filing an application (including a fee) to the OED as described in the General Requirements Bulletin. The application is reviewed, and if all qualifications are met the OED mails an admission letter to the candidate (usually within about 4-weeks, sometimes longer). The candidate must take and pass the exam within a 90-day period starting 5 days after the mailing date of the letter. Additional information is provided below.

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13. Why should you take the exam?


Practice as a patent agent or attorney can be a very interesting and lucrative career. It is a daily challenge with many rewards.

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14. What is the Patent Agent's Exam (sometimes called the Patent Bar or just Registration Examination)?


The USPTO allows certain qualified individuals (called practitioners) to file and prosecute patent applications (in fact, to handle all patent matters) on behalf of the inventors or owners. To register in the USPTO as a patent agent or patent attorney, applicants must:

I. File a complete application for registration for admission to the registration examination.

A complete application for registration includes:

(A) An application for registration form supplied by the OED Director wherein all requested information and supporting documents are furnished,
(B) Payment of the fees required,
(C) Satisfactory proof of scientific and technical qualifications, and
(D) For aliens, proof that recognition is not inconsistent with the terms of their visa or entry into the United States.

II. Pass the registration examination. The examination is a rigorous 6-hour exam (two 3-hour sessions) using a multiple choice type questions to test an applicant's knowledge of practice in patent matters before the USPTO.

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15. Who is eligible to take the exam?


An applicant applying for the examination must demonstrate that he or she possesses the scientific and technical training necessary to provide valuable service to patent applicants.

Applicants bear the burden of showing the requisite scientific and technical training. To be admitted to the examination, each applicant must demonstrate possession of the required scientific and technical training.

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16. Can former employees of the USPTO waive the examination?


In certain cases former patent examiners and other former employees of the USPTO may be admitted to practice as a patent agent or attorney without taking the registration examination.

Former patent examiners who by July 26, 2004 had not actively served four years in the patent examining corps, and were serving in the corps at the time of their separation must consult 37 CFR § 11.7(d)(1) for registration requirements premised on their service as patent examiner.

Former patent examiners who by July 26, 2004 had actively served four years in the patent examining corps, and were serving in the corps at the time of their separation must consult 37 CFR § 11.7(d)(2) for registration requirements premised on their service as a patent examiner.

Certain other former Office employees who were not serving in the patent examining corps upon their separation from the Office must consult 37 CFR § 11.7(d)(3) for registration requirements premised upon their service in the Office.

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17. What are the scientific and technical requirements?


An applicant applying for the examination must demonstrate that he or she possesses the scientific and technical training necessary to provide valuable service to patent applicants.

Applicants bear the burden of showing the requisite scientific and technical training. To be admitted to the examination, each applicant must demonstrate possession of the required scientific and technical training.

A showing is based on meeting the requirements of one of the three categories (Categories A, B or C) described in the General Requirements Bulletin.

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18. What is Category A?


Bachelor's Degree in a Recognized Technical Subject. 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:

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 Engineering
Civil 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

*Acceptable Computer Science degrees 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 (http://www.abet.org).

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19. What is Category B?


Bachelor's Degree in Another Subject. An applicant with a Bachelor's degree in a subject other than one of those listed in Category A, must establish that he or she possesses scientific and technical training equivalent to that received at an accredited U.S. college or university for a Bachelor's degree in one of the subjects listed in Category A.

To establish such equivalence, an applicant can satisfy one of the four options (Options 1-4). The applicant must submit the necessary documentation and objective evidence showing satisfaction of one of the options.

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20. What are Options 1-4?


Option 1: 24 semester hours in physics. Only physics courses for physics majors will be accepted.

Option 2: 32 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following:
- 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics, and
- 24 semester hours in biology, botany, microbiology, or molecular biology.
- The 8 semester hours in chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics must be obtained in two sequential courses, each course including a lab. Only courses for science or engineering majors will be accepted.

Option 3: 30 semester hours in chemistry. Only chemistry courses for chemistry majors will be accepted.

Option 4: 40 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following:
- 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics, and
- 32 semester hours of chemistry, physics, biology, botany, microbiology, molecular -biology, or engineering.
- The 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics must be obtained in two sequential courses, each course including a lab. Only courses for science or engineering majors will be accepted.

All acceptable coursework for Options 2 and 4 must be for science or engineering majors.

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21. What is Category C?


Practical Engineering or Scientific Experience. An applicant relying on practical engineering or scientific experience or who does not qualify under Category A or B above may establish the required technical training by demonstrating that he or she has taken and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test. The FE test is a test of engineering fundamentals The FE test is developed and administered by a State Board of Engineering Examiners in each State or comparable jurisdiction. Neither the USPTO nor any other U.S. Government agency administers the test. Applicants desiring to take the FE test should direct inquiries to the Secretaries of the appropriate State Boards. Official results of the FE test must be submitted to establish qualification under this category. Applicants attempting to qualify under Category C must submit an official original transcript showing the award of a Bachelors degree.

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22. What is the eligibility of applicants who are not U.Scitizens (aliens)?


Applicants who are not United States citizens and do not reside in the U.S. are not eligible for registration except as permitted by 37 CFR § 11.6(c). Presently, the Canadian Patent Office is the only Patent Office recognized as allowing substantially reciprocal privileges to those admitted to practice before the USPTO.

The registration examination is not administered to aliens who do not reside in the United States.

Aliens residing in the United States may apply to take the registration examination. To be admitted to the examination, an applicant must establish that recognition is consistent with the capacity of employment authorized by the Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (formerly U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS")). The evidence must include a copy of both sides of any work or training authorization and copies of all documents submitted to and received from the USCIS regarding admission to the United States and a copy of any documentation submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor. Qualifying non-immigrant aliens within the scope of 8 CFR § 274a.12(b) or (c) are not registered upon passing the examination.

Such applicants will be given limited recognition under 37 CFR § 11.9(b) if recognition is consistent with the capacity of employment or training authorized by the USCIS. Documentation establishing an applicant's qualification to receive limited recognition must be submitted with the applicant's application.

Qualifying documentation shows that the USCIS has authorized the applicant to be employed or trained in the capacity of representing patent applicants before the USPTO by preparing and prosecuting their patent applications. Any USCIS approval pending at that time will result in the applicant's application being denied admission to the examination.

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23. Who would be ineligible?


Convictions: Applicants convicted of a felony, or a crime involving moral turpitude or breach of trust, are not eligible for registration or to apply for registration during the time of any sentence (including confinement or commitment to imprisonment), deferred adjudication, and period of probation or parole as a result of the conviction and for a period of two years after the date of successful completion of said sentence, deferred adjudication, and probation or parole.

Disciplined Professionals: Applicants who have been disbarred from practice of law or other profession, or who have resigned a professional license in lieu of a disciplinary proceeding, are ineligible to apply for registration for a period of five years from the date of disbarment or resignation. Applicants suspended on ethical grounds from the practice of law or other professions are ineligible to apply for registration until expiration of the period of suspension.

Previously Denied For Lack Good of Moral Character and Reputation: Applicants refused registration for lack of present good moral character and reputation in a USPTO Director's decision; or in the absence of a USPTO Director's decision, in a recommendation of the OED Director and Committee on Enrollment, are ineligible to reapply for registration for two years after the date of the decision, unless a shorter period is otherwise ordered by the USPTO Director.

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24. How do you apply to take the exam?


An applicant must file a complete application.

A complete application for registration must be filed each time admission to the registration examination is requested.

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25. What is required in the application?


A complete application for registration includes:

(A) An application for registration form supplied by the OED Director wherein all requested information and supporting documents are furnished,

(B) Payment of the requisite fees,

(C) Satisfactory proof of scientific and technical qualifications, and

(D) For aliens, proof that recognition is not inconsistent with the terms of their visa or entry into the United States.

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26. How is the exam administered?


The exam is administered in two ways.

Computer Administered Exam. The USPTO moved to a computer-based test delivery system. A commercial test delivery provider, Thomson Prometric, will administer the computer-based examination. The location of Thomson Prometric test sites and Thomson Prometric test delivery policies are available at the Thomson Prometric web site, http://www.prometric.com. Thomson Prometric also provides a toll free number for USPTO registration examination applicants (1-800-479-6369).

Paper Based Exam. As an alternative to test administration by Thomson Prometric, a USPTO administered examination will be offered once per fiscal year in the Washington D.C. area.

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27. What are the differences between the two ways?


Computer Administered Exam. The vast majority of all exams are administered at computer testing centers. An applicant can make a reservation to take the exam on just about any business day at a local testing center in their area. There are around 500 testing centers nationwide.

Paper Based Exam. A small number of applicants will take the exam during a week specified by the USPTO (usually in July) at the USPTO in Alexandria, VA. The application to take this exam must be filed by a specific, rigid deadline (usually in April). The exam is paper based and not administered on computer.

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28. Is there a filing deadline?


The computer exam is offered daily based on a reservation system, so that no deadline is involved other than the short notice involved in making a reservation (usually around 48 hours is recommended, or longer to insure that you can reserve the date that you desire).

For applicants desiring to take the paper based exam, a strict deadline is involved usually around 3-months before the exam date.

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29. Suppose the application is incomplete?


INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS: The Office of Enrollment and Discipline will notify applicants by letter if additional information or documentation is required to complete the application and the extent to which applicant meets or falls short of the required scientific and technical qualifications, i.e., whether the application is sufficient to allow admission.

A 60-day time frame is provided for Applicants to complete their applications. Applicants not timely providing the additional documents and information must submit a new application with the required fees.

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30. Where is the application mailed?


The United States Postal Service mailing address is:

Mail Stop OED
Director of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office
PO Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

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31. Do you receive an acknowledgement or receipt from the OED?


Any applicant desiring acknowledgment by or from OED of receipt of an application or other paper must include with the application a self-addressed, postage-paid postcard to be used for this purpose. The postcard should be addressed to the applicant and identify each type of paper filed, e.g. application, oath, transcripts, etc. OED will stamp the receipt date on the postcard and place it in the outgoing mail.

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32. What happens after filing the application?


After the Office of Enrollment and Discipline receives an application, the fees are processed, the application, information and documentation submitted by the applicant is reviewed for completeness. Applications will be reviewed first for completeness, and then for sufficiency of scientific and technical training.

Applicants that are qualified and eligible for admission to the registration examination are sent an admission letter from the OED with further instructions on the examination process.

Applicants who submitted an application that is determined to be "incomplete" are sent a letter indicating that the application is incomplete and that more information, documentation or the fees must be submitted before an evaluation can be conducted.

An application is incomplete if it is missing information in the application form, missing fees, missing transcripts, or missing other required documentation. Once all missing information and documentation is noted, OED will evaluate the application to the extent possible for sufficiency of the information presented.

Applicants must submit both the application fee ($40.00) and either the $200.00 or $450.00 registration examination fee to receive an evaluation of their qualifications. Complete applications are evaluated and the OED staff sends the applicant a letter of admission.

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33. What is an admission letter?


Applicants that are qualified and eligible for admission to the registration examination are sent an admission letter from the OED with further instructions on the examination process.

An admission letter is an acknowledgement that the applicant is qualified to sit for the examination, including information about scheduling the exam with Thomson Prometric and other useful information. Applications received by the OED are issued a USPTO Identification Number (USPTO ID number), which is indicated in the admission letter.

Applicants should use the USPTO ID number when corresponding with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline. The USPTO ID number is critical for identifying an applicant, and must be used on all correspondence the applicant submits to OED after the USPTO ID number has been provided to the applicant.

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34. What is an incomplete application?


An application is incomplete if it is missing information in the application form, missing fees, missing transcripts, or missing other required documentation. Once all missing information and documentation is noted, OED will evaluate the application to the extent possible for sufficiency of the information presented.

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35. What if the application is disapproved?


An applicant dissatisfied with disapproval of an application may, upon payment of the fee, petition the Director of Enrollment and Discipline for review of the decision.

The petition and any additional documentation and information must be submitted within 60 days of the date of the notice of disapproval for a further review of qualifications.

The Director of the OED will review the Applicant's petition and send the Applicant a written decision.

The final decision by the Director of Enrollment and Discipline refusing admission to the registration examination may be reviewed upon petition to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Review by the USPTO Director requires the filing of a petition to the USPTO Director, payment of a fee, and must be filed within 60 days of the final decision of the Director of the OED. Any petition submitted after 60 days will be dismissed as untimely.

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36. Can you request accommodations for a disability?


Any applicant with a disability for which accommodations are necessary in order to take the examination must submit a separate letter with the application requesting reasonable accommodations. The letter must describe the disability and the reasonable accommodations requested. Supporting documentation, less than one year old, certifying the current severity of the disability and certifying that the accommodations requested are necessary for this disability must be sent by a licensed physician who has evaluated the condition. The letter requesting test accommodations and all supporting documentation must be filed with the initial application.

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37. What is tested on the exam?


The examination is designed to test an applicant's knowledge of patent laws, rules and procedures as related in the MPEP, and the ability to properly analyze factual situations and properly apply the patent laws, rules and procedures to render valuable service, advice and assistance to patent applicants in the preparation and prosecution of their patent applications.

Before taking this examination, an applicant must be familiar with the patent laws, rules, USPTO rules of practice, and procedure as related in the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure (MPEP).

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38. What types of questions are used?


The examination is 100 linear multiple-choice questions in two sessions. Fifty (50) questions will be asked in a three-hour morning session, and fifty (50) questions will be asked in a three-hour afternoon session. Each question has five choices. A total of six hours is permitted for completion of the examination.

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39. What can you bring into the examination room?


Applicants may NOT bring any documents, materials, machines, or electronic devices (including computers, telephones, recording devices, cameras, and typewriters) into the examination.

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40. What "open-book" resources are available?


Commercially administered exam: The MPEP will be available, for reference, on the computer delivering the examination questions. Thomson Prometric will provide a storage locker where items not allowed in the testing area can be secured.

USPTO administered exam: A paper copy of the MPEP will be provided to each applicant granted admission to the USPTO exam. Applicants granted admission to the USPTO exam may not bring their copy of the MPEP into the exam.

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41. How do you receive the results?


Applicants that take the commercially administered exam will receive their official results by mail soon after the date of the examination. Registration candidates taking the morning and afternoon sessions of the computer-delivered examination in a single day will receive an unofficial result at the end of the examination on the computer on which they take the examination.

Applicants that take the USPTO administered exam will receive the results by mail, soon after the date of the examination.

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42. How is the exam administered?


An applicant granted admission to commercial administration of the examination will receive an admission letter with instructions to contact Thomson Prometric and coordinate a date and location for administration of the examination. It is critical that applicants who receive an admission letter carefully review the personal information on the admission letter.

The name on the admission letter should be the name given on line 1b of the application form, and will be the name provided to Thomson Prometric for allowing entrance to the examination site.

The Internet web site and telephone number for Thomson Prometric will be shown in the admission letter. The admission letter specifies a 90-day time period during which the applicant should coordinate an exam date with Thomson Prometric and take the examination. After this 90-day time period expires, the applicant will no longer be able to schedule to take the examination and must file a new application and all fees.

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43. How does scheduling of the "commercial" administration of the exam work?


COMMERCIALLY ADMINISTERED EXAMINATION

Thomson Prometric Fee Collection: Thomson Prometric collects a $150.00 examination administration fee from each candidate. Thomson Prometric currently accepts Visa™, MasterCard™, and American Express™. Payment is due at the time the testing appointment is scheduled. Thomson Prometric collects no fees at the testing centers. All fees must be paid in advance; applicants will not be permitted to sit for the examination until the $150.00 examination administration fee has been paid to Thomson Prometric.

Scheduling the Examination Location: The applicant schedules an examination location directly with Thomson Prometric after OED has approved an applicant for admission to the examination. Applicants will be required to pay a $150.00 exam administration fee to Thomson Prometric at the time he or she schedules the examination. Instructions for contacting Thomson Prometric will be provided in the admission letter or e-mail sent to the applicant. Applicants are strongly urged to schedule your appointment for an examination test date promptly, because some test sites fill quickly. Availability of a particular site on a particular day is not guaranteed. Waiting until the last few weeks to schedule an appointment may necessitate that an applicant arrange to take the examination at a site and on a date differing from the applicant's preference.

Three Scheduling Options: The three-scheduling options apply only to the commercially administered examination. Approved applicants will have three options for scheduling the examination with Thomson Prometric. Applicants may schedule over the Internet, call a toll-free number at the Thomson Prometric customer service center, or contact the local testing center. The Thomson Prometric customer service center requires 48 hours lead time for making an appointment through the Candidate Services Contact Center (48 hours means that an appointment made on Monday before noon cannot be for a date earlier than Thursday). This allows Thomson Prometric to staff its centers accordingly.

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44. Who is Thomson Prometric?


Thomson Prometric is the company that received the contract from the USPTO to administer the commercially administered exam. Prometric operates around 500 testing centers nationwide and administers many examinations for various clients.

For more information about Prometric, you may visit their Internet web site at http://www.prometric.com.

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45. How is the exam scheduled?


Option 1. Scheduling with Thomson Prometric Over the Internet: Applicants may arrange the test date and testing center, and make payment arrangements, by visiting the Thomson Prometric Internet web site at http://www.prometric.com and following instructions there.

Option 2. Scheduling with Thomson Prometric by Telephone: Applicants may arrange the test date and testing center, and make payment arrangements, by calling the Thomson Prometric Candidate Services Contact Center using the toll-free phone number reserved only for USPTO exam takers at: 800-479-6369. Appointments made by telephone must be scheduled at least 48 hours in advance of the appointment. Applicants calling the Candidate Services Contact Center to make an appointment within the 48-hour window will be referred to the local Thomson Prometric Test Center for scheduling. The applicants can then verify with the center if an exception (an appointment) can be made.

Option 3. Walk-In Scheduling: Applicants who walk into a Thomson Prometric testing center may be given an appointment if the OED has submitted an eligibility file for the candidate in advance of the walk-in, and if there is a seat available at the testing center.

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46. Can the exam be rescheduled?


Late-arriving applicants and no-shows will be subject to Thomson Prometric rescheduling and fee policies. Thomson Prometric has no authority to schedule outside the 90-day testing window assigned by OED. The USPTO does not intervene in Thomson Prometric's rescheduling and fee policies.

It is Thomson Prometric's policy to charge 100% of the test fee for any applicant who calls within 48 hours of his or her appointment time to cancel the appointment (for example, an appointment for Thursday cannot be canceled or rescheduled after noon on Tuesday), fails to appear for the examination, or shows up more than 15 minutes late (he or she will be considered a .no show.).

If sufficient time remains in the 90-day testing period, an applicant who fails to show for his or her test appointment, arrives more than 15 minutes late, or cancels within 48 hours of their appointment may contact OED in an effort to have his or her eligibility file reset. Eligibility files are not automatically reset. OED will not automatically reset eligibility files for test administration outside the assigned 90-day testing period.

Thomson Prometric's Reschedule Policy: There are two methods by which an applicant may reschedule the examination. An applicant may reschedule through the Internet on the Thomson Prometric web site at http://www.prometric.com; or an applicant may reschedule by calling the Thomson Prometric toll-free number that has been reserved only for USPTO examination takers at 1-800-479-6369. It is possible that a testing center may have a technical problem or some other emergency (including weather). If a testing center is unable to provide the examination on the scheduled date, the examination will be rescheduled to the first available appointment of an applicant's choice, with no additional charge.

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47. Where is the exam administered?


The commercially administered exam is administered at approximately 500 testing centers throughout the country. The actual locations, addresses, phone numbers and other information can be found by opening the Thomson Prometric web site at http://www.prometric.com.

The USPTO administered exam is given only at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. Applicants admitted to the USPTO administered examination will receive notification of the date, time and location of their examination in their admission letter.

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48. What must you bring to the testing center?


For admission to enter the commercially administered or USPTO administered examination, an applicant must bring a current, valid State or Federal government issued ID, such as a driver's license or passport, containing both applicant's photograph and signature. A single ID with current photograph and signature will suffice. Applicant's name in the government issued ID must be exactly as it appears on line 1b in the application.

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49. Are all the testing centers the same?


It is apparent (from postings on a number of message boards) that some of the testing centers have very poor conditions, including old and antiquated computers and monitors. These old computers are problematic for exam takers resulting in fatigue from the monitors (flickering) and slow search rate speeds when using the search function.

It might be prudent to visit a testing center before scheduling there, or if possible, talk to somebody that has used the center for advice.

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50. What other protocols are involved?


Applicants will be required to sign a signature log. An electronic photograph will be taken of each applicant. The date and time that an applicant enters and exits the testing room will be recorded and the signature in the log will be verified against the photo ID.

Applicant also must sign the logbook each time he or she exits the testing room and at the conclusion.

Thomson Prometric has extensive test provider experience and has developed a test engine that is readily operated by even inexperienced computer users. A fifteen-minute tutorial* is provided prior to start of the examination to familiarize applicants with operation of the test engine. A fifteen-minute survey follows the end of the examination.

Thomson Prometric provides applicants with scratch paper and a pencil. Applicants may not bring their own scratch paper or notes. Other than the scratch paper and pencil provided at the testing center, no materials are permitted in the testing room. All scratch paper and the pencil will be collected at the end of the testing session, and the scratch paper will be destroyed. Applicants are not allowed to remove any portion of the scratch paper from the testing center.

There will be an optional timed and scheduled one-hour lunch break. No other timed or scheduled breaks are built into the examination. The applicant may take unscheduled breaks during which the test timing will continue.

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51. *Is there a link to the Prometric exam tutorial that can be accessed before the exam?


This is the link provided by the USPTO:

http://www.uspto.gov/cgi-bin/exitconf/internet_exitconf.pl?target=www.prometric.com/demos/uspto/starthere.htm

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52. What if you fail the exam?


An unsuccessful applicant, after receiving written notice of failing the examination, may reapply to again take the examination. There is no limit in the number of times an applicant may take the exam.

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53. Can you inspect the exam that you failed?


Within 60-days from the date of the letter notifying an applicant of a failing grade, the applicant may inspect, but not copy, the questions and answers he or she answered incorrectly. The questions and answers may be inspected only at the USPTO in Virginia. No notes may be taken, and copies of the questions or answers may not be obtained. An unsuccessful applicant may schedule a date and time for inspection by calling OED at 1-571-272-4097.

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54. Can you reapply to take the exam?


An applicant may reapply for admission to the examination upon receiving notice of failure from OED, but must wait 30 days after the date of the last examination before retaking the examination.

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55. What happens after passing the exam?


After passing the examination, an applicant who desires to be registered as an attorney must submit a certificate of good standing from the bar of the highest court of the State in which he or she is admitted to practice.

Applicants must notify OED in writing of any changes of address, telephone number, or other information provided on the application for registration to take the registration examination, before or after the examination.

A passing applicant must pay an additional fee. Additionally, the applicant's name is published for comment for a period of 30-days. In due course, subject to any possible investigatory matters as a result of the comment period, the applicant is registered by posting his or her name, address and phone number on the attorney/agent roster.

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