"Why Should I Take the Patent Bar Exam?"
There are many reasons why the Patent Bar Exam is critical to your professional development. Clearly if you aspire to a career as a patent prosectution attorney or patent litigator, passing the patent bar is the foundation of your professional existence.
However, there are numerous other scenarios in which passing the patent bar serves as a valuable credential that will earn you not only significantly increased professional value and earning porential whatever your occupation, but also invaluable practical skills that will serve you for a lifetime.
Patents are the global currency through which companies and inventors define and protect their inventions. Needless to say, the business of patents is an enormously lucrative and robust industry, offering practitioners in the field almost unlimited earning potential. The patent industry is resilient, tending to be less affected by economic downturns than other industries.
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Monetary considerations aside, becoming invoved in the business of patents is extremely rewarding, offering practitioners the chance to work on the most engaging and challenging scientific and legal issues, with complex subject matter. If you enjoy technology and science, becoming a patent practitioner is a brilliant choice. Patent agents and attorneys are highly regarded throughout all segments of our society and your skills will always be in high demand.
However, there is one hurdle that confronts all who seek entry to this exclusive club: the patent bar exam. Passing the patent bar is the only way to acquire a voice and a face before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In a nutshell, passing the patent bar is your ticket to interfacing with the USPTO, one of the most complex bureaucracies known to mankind. Mastering the material tested on the patent bar is the toolset that will allow you to strategically and effectively navigate the complex waters of the USPTO and obtain the best and most potent patents for your clients or yourself.
"Why is this exam the way it is?"
The difficulty of the patent bar exam is well known. And, candidly, the process of preparing for this exam carries a somewhat grim reputation. It has been known to make grown men and women weep. There are, however, understandable reasons for the emphasis and focus of the patent bar exam.
There are effectively three general areas of expertise one needs to be an effective patent practitioner. First, it is essential to have a deep and robust understanding of the relevant scientific or technical areas in which you will practice. This is precisely why registration to sit for the patent bar is limited to candidates with the requisite scientific and technical training. Second, it is critical to develop a strategic ability to draft meaningful patents that will robustly protect the intellectual property of your clients or yourself. Third and by no means least, it is absolutely essential to develop the skills for navigating the complex rules and laws by which the USPTO operates. No matter how much finesse and expertise you bring to crafting beautiful patent applications, they will live or die depending upon your knowledge and ability to operate effectively within the USPTO procedures. It is this procedural aspect that is primarily tested on the patent bar exam.
"Who should take the patent bar?"
Patent prosecutors and litigators
If you plan to become a patent prosecution attorney or patent litigator, passing the patent bar is the threshold requirement for practicing in this field. You will be required to take the exam after you are hired. It is in your best interest to get this exam out of the way as soon as possible. Why wait until you are inundated with your job responsibilities, which will force you to juggle time and energy?
Scientists and engineers
For non-attorneys with a technical background in science or engineering, being a registered patent agent is an invaluable credential. Patents are the lifeblood of technology companies and the most efficient way to protect important technical developments spawned by research and development centers, corporations, and individuals.
Regardless of your job role, in many companies being a registered patent agent can only boost your economic value and hence your bargaining power when negotiating compensation.
Many people have an inventor lurking inside them. Becoming a patent agent or attorney will allow you to expeditiously protect your own ideas.
Anyone with a science or engineering background
Developing your skills as a patent practitioner will inevitably boost your value and earning potential regardless of your chosen profession.