Category: USPTO

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.

Invalidating a competitor’s patent: too easy?

Very few people have heard of it, but a case currently in front of the Supreme Court of the United States may have a significant impact on how patents are reviewed after they are granted.

In Cuozzo Speed Technologies v. Lee, the nation’s highest court is weighing arguments over whether the United States Patent and Trademark Office can use a different standard than the one used by federal courts to determine the validity of a patent that is being challenged. More than that, writes Forbes contributor David Pridham, the court is questioning the “bizarre” Inter Partes Review system because nearly nine of every 10 challenges brought to the Patent and Trial Appeal Board ended with the cancellation of one or more patent claims. More than two-thirds of those challenges, he writes, were brought by defendants facing patent infringement suits.

“Whatever else you call this ‘bizarre’ system—BusinessWeek last week called it a ‘patent death squad’—it’s clearly a great way for infringers to escape the court’s justice,” writes Pridham. “It has also proved to be a lucrative get-rich-quick scheme for financial speculators, who short the stock of a company owning a valuable patent, then file an IPR against that company and watch the stock drop as investors react to being put in the crosshairs of the ‘patent death squad’.”

Read the full article here.

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.”

Careers Website Recommends Patent Law to Life Scientists

Bio Careers® for post-graduate Life Scientists says there is a “substantial need” among pharmaceutical and biotech companies for professionals who are registered to practice before the USPTO.

J. G. Hilton specialist Robert Hagan says some scientists prefer to prepare for and take the Patent Bar Exam before they attend law school. “For those who pass and become patent agents,” Hagan writes, “it provides a good opportunity to experience the practice of patent law before making the decision to attend law school.” If patent agents then choose to pursue the law degree, “it may provide a great opportunity to work part-time during law school, or even work full-time while attending law school on a part-time basis.”

Hagan says a good home-study course like PatBar® Patent Bar PREP is particularly beneficial for students with existing work and school schedules, allowing them to digest the material and prepare at their own pace to sit for the Exam.