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Patent Bar Exam Update: New Information Tested and More Changes to Come

Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) February 07, 2013

The Patent Bar Exam, the test generated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office which acts as a bar one must pass before becoming a registered Patent Agent or Patent Attorney, has already gone through some major changes within the past few months. On October 2nd, 2012, the USPTO added a substantial amount of testable material to the exam, which was included in six Federal Registers. These changes come on the heals of the America Invents Act (AIA) implementation.

What's caused some confusion, is that there are three phases to the implementation of the AIA, each with different rules and subsets of information. This has been a source of challenge, not just for current Patent Practitioners, but also for those studying to take the Patent Bar Exam.

The implementation of the AIA looked/looks like this:

AIA Phase I: Went into effect and started to be tested April 2011.
AIA Phase II: Went into effect October 16th, 2012, and is showing up on the exam
AIA Phase II: Goes into effect March 16th, 2013, and will begin to be tested heavily.

According the USPTO, "The United States Patent and Trademark Office will be updating the content of the registration examination on April 2, 2013. The updated examination will include provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) that will take effect March 16, 2013. Specifically, the updated examination will additionally cover the following topics: Derivation Proceedings and First-Inventor-to-File."

These changes and updates are not insignificant. While the exam still remains a 100 multiple-choice test, passing the exam is becoming more difficult. This is due to the sheer fact that the amount of information test-takers are responsible for knowing is expanding. On top of this, the material being added directly affects some of the older materials and rules that have been in place for years, which could cause much confusion if a student is not adequately prepared.

Currently, the USPTO has developed a computerized and randomized exam which is administered by prometric. In the past, the exam was all paper-based and was offered a limited amount of times through the year. Thus, the "pool" of questions remained somewhat stable. However, with the computerized exam, questions are selected randomly (from an ever increasing database of questions). In an attempt to administer exams that are fair across the board, each question on the exam is giving a "hardness" ranking. This means, questions are ranked from 1 to 10 in their difficulty factor, so that each exam "created" can have the same difficulty level based on the questions pulled.

That being said, from past history, when the USPTO implements changes to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) and to the exam, they often draw a larger proportion of questions from this new material, meaning anywhere from 15-20 questions are likely to be "brand new" covering this material. That's 1/5th of the exam, that if individuals do not know, probably means a guaranteed failing grade on the exam.

While many of the AIA Phase II material questions are appearing on exams, everyone is still anticipating the changes to come April 2nd and the types of questions that will be added to the exam database. Specifically, the entire patent landscape is changing, with "first-to-file" changing many definitions and rules, including what is/isn't prior art. These seemingly small changes have far reached implications, as the definition of what prior art is directly influences many, many, rules and guidelines (for instance, determining cases of obviousness). But probably more drastic, is that the date of invention will no longer be relevant under the firs-to-file system. The new system will award a patent to the first inventor to file a patent application at the USPTO. Therefore, patenting becomes more of a "race" to file first (hence the name), rather than proving who invented what first.

Again, all this means that potential exam takers will need to learn the new material/changes, which is why Wysebridge is encouraging anyone seeking to take the exam to both 1) obtain study materials and resources to learn the current tested materials that have been added and 2) take the exam prior to the end of March. "We've taken the time to provide users with as simple to understand materials, covering the AIA changes," says Bryan Doreian, President of Wysebridge Patent Bar Review. "We're laying out our plans to cover the first-to-file changes, and will be keeping our ears and eyes on the materials the USPTO releases concerning the changes to the exam questions. Yes, studying for the new exam and new materials will be harder, but we'll provide you with everything you'll need to pass the exam." If taking the exam prior to the end of March is impossible, Wysebridge suggests pushing the exam date back towards the end of April, to allow time to learn the new materials and get a better understanding of what's being tested.

You can follow Wysebridge Patent Bar Review using a variety of social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn Stay updated on the latest tips, study suggestions, exam changes, and intellectual property updates.

About Wysebridge Patent Bar Review
Wysebridge Patent Bar Review is an information and educational company formed in 2012 dedicated to assisting individuals study for and pass the patent bar exam.

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