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.”