Category: Studies

FAQ: Review Courses and Current Exam Questions

“Some Patent Bar Review courses claim to have new, actual exam questions. How is this possible?”—D. H., Alexandria, VA

It’s not.

Shortly before the implementation of the America Invents Act (AIA), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) stopped releasing data specific to the Patent Bar Exam. In addition, people taking the Exam are now required to sign a non-disclosure agreement outlining severe penalties for anyone failing to abide by the agreement. This includes the release of Exam questions.

The same is true for any Review course. Any course attempting to cull new questions directly from the Exam faces penalties that may include severe financial loss or the immediate closure of their businesses.

More likely, these companies are being less than forthcoming about what constitutes “actual exam questions”.

Only PatBar® offers its students new questions written by Program Director David Meeks and based on his 25-plus years of experience in training his students to pass the Patent Bar Exam. PatBar® provides an exclusive, insider’s view of the questions you will see on Exam day, along with David’s tested lookup strategies to help you find—and find quickly—the answers to any questions you don’t recognize.

New Questions Added Each Week

For the week of November 14, 2016:

Beta Company filed a patent application on September 16, 2012. The application has not been published as a patent and is still pending before the USPTO. Beta has been discussing a licensing agreement with Alpha Company and Alpha wants to access the patent files in the USPTO. Who may sign a written authority for access to the application?

(A) the applicant
(B) the practitioner of record
(C) the assignee
(D) an inventor
(E) any of the above

 

 

ANSWER: (E). See MPEP 104, subsection I, and 37 CFR 1.14(c).

Questions prepared by David E. Meeks, Esq. © 2016 Institute for Patent Studies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Update: Job Market Better than It Seems

It has not been easy recently for available lawyers to find employment. In 2011, for example, nearly half of all Law School graduates could not land a job in their chosen profession. When there’s a glut of lawyers, there are scant few openings.

Still, that means at least half of you are finding jobs. Why? Credentials. The more credentials you have, the more in-demand you are. Patent Lawyers either work for a law firm or in-house at a company, or they work for themselves and represent their own clients. Starting salaries are well above the norm, and can top $300,000 per year for those with some experience.

Meantime, the University of Denver Sturm College of Law says analysts tend to look at national employment figures, when some locations (including Colorado) expect to have more than one job opening for each graduate.

Bottom line: employers are looking for—and are hiring—the right people with the right credentials. In one month since mid-June, Patently-O has added 42 listings for patent attorneys and agents, in numerous locations including California, Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

MD Prof Wants Looser Restrictions for PBE—Likely?

A Baltimore, MD, law professor with extensive experience in patent law has written that he’d like to see any US lawyer qualify to sit for the Patent Bar Exam, essentially removing the existing restriction to only those in specific STEM fields. Is that likely to happen? A co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship doesn’t think so.

Writing for Patently-O, University of Missouri School of Law Professor Dennis Crouch says the courts and Congress, together with the USPTO, intentionally shifted focus over the years toward detailed technological improvement, rather than a more abstract notion of an invention.

“My experience is that a technology-savvy patent attorney will be better able to cost-effectively understand the important technological details,” Crouch writes. “The technological-education requirement of the patent bar places one hurdle in that framework, but the market continues to operate in this area as well. For instance, many companies only hire patent attorneys with relevant experience in the appropriate technological area and don’t simply rely upon the ‘patent attorney’ status as a total qualifier.”