Patent Bar Exam Prep - Cram or take my time?

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Patent Bar Exam Prep - Cram or take my time?

Postby ckb614 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:38 pm

I'm planning to take the patent bar in January after (2L) winter break if I get an IP SA for next year. Is this something I'm better off just spending a month preparing for full-time or something I should start researching now and doing a few hours a week before December? I've already taken my school's patent law doctrinal, so I have some of the substantive basics but none of the procedural stuff.

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Re: Patent Bar Exam Prep - Cram or take my time?

Postby trmckenz » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:18 pm

As someone who passed the patent bar before law school, I would recommend waiting to take it until after the state bar. Reasons why:

- firms hire law students based on patent bar eligibility, not patent bar admission
- firms pay for prep courses and related expenses

Having the patent bar under your belt is no more than a small plus. Unless you have patent agent experience to match, you won’t really get a leg up in hiring. Mere eligibility is everything, and you apparently already have that.

Also, the patent bar isn’t typically something you can cram for in a month. Not saying you can’t pass in December, but you better start preparing ASAP if you’re truly committed to taking it while in law school.

Why stress about this now, unnecessarily, when you could follow the path that nearly all firms lay out for its associates? Summer Associate / Law Clerk -> pass state bar exam -> Associate -> pass the patent bar -> Patent Attorney

I say delay, and enjoy your time in law school and over winter break!


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Re: Patent Bar Exam Prep - Cram or take my time?

Postby pfunkera » Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:51 pm

I crammed for about a month (PLI course) and took it a few days before Thanksgiving break last year. I had a few finals right after Thanksgiving so it was not the best time to take it, but I wanted it done. I ended up failing by scoring a 68% where you need a 70% to pass. That sucked!! However, you can retake the patent bar (with a fee of course) every 30 days if you want. Well, I passed it the second time when I took it a few days after Christmas. That was not a good time to take it because I had to cram after finals plus all the holiday distractions. Also, I was already signed up to take the regular Bar exam in February. Oh yeah, I worked full time while attending law school and trying to take the patent and regular bar exam. You can do anything you put your mind to :)

If you do decide to cram and take it, concentrate on the AIA rules and law. I might have had one question on pre-AIA law on both exams. Also, there will be at least 5 repeat questions from past exams. I basically memorized the 300 or so past patent bar questions I had so I could save valuable time on those questions on the actual exam.


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Re: Patent Bar Exam Prep - Cram or take my time?

Postby markdighton » Fri Jun 22, 2018 2:47 pm

But even if you could wait to take it later, you might want to get it out of the way sooner rather than later. Law school is hard, but being a lawyer is harder, generally. Do you really want to worry about this on top of billable hours?! We tell people that one month of full-time study or two months of part-time study is ideal. Since you've got some background in the area, one month of full-time should be fine.
Mark Dighton, Esq.
Admin. Director, Patent Office Exam Course

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Re: Patent Bar Exam Prep - Cram or take my time?

Postby totesTheGoat » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:25 pm

trmckenz wrote:Having the patent bar under your belt is no more than a small plus.

Disagreed for 3 reasons.
1) Often, there are opportunities for getting some prep and pros experience in 3L, and the very beginning is the steepest learning curve for prep and pros. Some of the opportunities don't require reg. numbers, but most law firm part-time job type opportunities do. For example, we're keeping our 2L SA on for the fall semester because he has a reg. number and goes to school in town.
2) I had a partner at a law firm explain to me that whenever he was looking at prep or pros work product, he always checked the reg. no. of the drafter to contextualize his opinion of the work. (The implication being that the lower the number the more benefit of the doubt he gave) Frankly, I think this is a stupid way to approach things, but there are people like that out there. A number that's a few thousand lower may break in your favor if you encounter somebody like that.
3) At the very least, you have a fleeting familiarity with the MPEP and aren't starting from square one. It takes some stress off while youre acclimating to life in a law firm. You're also going to be ahead of your peers in your class who haven't taken the patent bar. How better to get ahead in the partner rat race? :P (please don't take the last sentence seriously)

Also, the patent bar isn’t typically something you can cram for in a month.

Disagreed again. I crammed for it in a month and passed. 2 months would've made it more comfortable, but this isn't the LSAT or the state bar. It's an open book multiple choice test. I studied over Christmas break and took it during the second week of the spring semester. I would recommend buying a patent bar prep course, though. I did PLI.

Not saying that everybody can pass after studying for a month, but let's not pretend that the patent bar is as complex as the state bar.

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