« on: April 27, 2005, 01:56:44 PM »
I am a 0L as well, but I have taken the patent bar and passed, so I can help you out.
As he said, passing the bar makes you a patent agent, this means that you can prosecute patents at the USPTO. In the rare instance that a case goes on appeal outside the office, you cannot prosecute there, but thie almost never happens. As a patent agent, you can do a large amount of work and sign your own work, which is unique for someone in law school. You do not need to pass the patent bar to do litigation (infringement, etc.) but you do need ti to do prosecution whether you have passed a state bar or not.
The patent bar actually is not technical in any sense, and there is only one patent bar. It is focused on the laws and rules that govern the prosecution of patents. There are no technical questions and some of the hypotheticals will be from biotech, chemistry, electrical engineering, etc. The point is to understand the law and know what the correct course of action is. Sample tests are available on the USPTO web site and also under the specific patent law section of the Suffolk University Law School web site.
If you have no background in patents, you need to take some kind of prep course. I was an examiner, so I had a good background. I still took a course, although it probably wasn't necessary. It may be daunting at first, but I passed first try and it definitely can be done. The test has about a 45% pass rate, so you don't want to wing it, but it can be passed.
The test itself is made up of 100 multiple choice questions split into a morning and afternoon section. You have full use of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) which is like the patent office Bible. You must be intimately familiar with this book as it is thousands of pages in print and you will not have time to find an answer you have no clue on. You need to know at least the chapter to go to.
Anyway, that's a quick rundown. I was going to wait to take it, but several people told me to take it before 1L to relieve some stress about it. I'm glad I did now.