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How To Becoming a Patent Attorney

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The basic steps in how to become a registered patent attorney recognized by the USPTO. The steps given below are a simple outline based on the official USPTO General Requirements For Taking The Patent Bar. The reader must also read and understand the official requirements.
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: Depends on Your Prior Education
Here's How:
  1. If you have not already done so take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and get a law degree and pass your state bar. You must be licensed to practice law to become a patent attorney.
  2. Obtain a Bachelor's degree in a field of technology recognized by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). A complete list of educational options can be found in the PDF file entitled the USPTO General Requirements For Taking The Patent Bar.
  3. A recognized Bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent will make you a category A applicant for the patent bar. A few examples of what you will find under category A are degrees in biology, computer science, electronics technology, chemistry, pharmacology, physics, and numerous engineering degrees. Check the PDF file for the complete list.
  4. You can apply as a category B or C applicant if you have a degree in a different subject. The USPTO gives you many options for a Bachelor's degree or foreign equivalent combined with course credits, alternative training, life experiences, military service traing, graduate degrees, and other conditions. Check the PDF file for the complete list of options under category B or C.
  5. B and C applicants should allow for a longer time for their applications to be processed. You will be judged on a case by case basis and you will need greater documentation to prove that you are skilled in technology.
  6. A patent agent does not need a law degree. Both USPTO registered attorneys and agents can prepare, file, and prosecute patent applications.
  7. Only patent attorneys can help clients with issues such as patent validity, infringement cases, and all patent litigation. Only patent attorneys can prepare, file, and prosecute trademarks and service marks applications.
  8. Study for your Patent Bar Exam and review previous patent bar exams online.
  9. Optionally, you can use our directory of study courses and products that might help you prepare for the exam. Editor's note: I have not personally reviewed these products.
  10. Read the PDF file and make sure that you have a complete list of all the documents and fees that you will need to submit.
  11. The USPTO will require that all applicants be citizens, alien residents in good standing, or foreigners in good standing to serve with their own patent offices. All applicants must be of good moral standing. Applicants convicted of a felony must provide proof or reform and rehabilitation.
  12. The current application form for the Patent Exam Bar is included at the end of the above PDF form.
  13. This exam is now given by Thomson Prometric anytime, nationwide, and once a year at a physical location determined by the USPTO.
  14. You can schedule an exam by calling Thomson Prometric at 1-800-479-6369.
Tips:
  1. Do not pick a law school based on what intellectual property courses are offered. Study up for your LSAT test and get into the best law school possible.
  2. Law students may want to take the Patent Bar Exam in their second or third year of law studies and moonlight as a patent agent, however, you must still complete your law degree and pass the bar exam in your state in order to become a patent attorney.
What You Need:
  • Bachelor's Degree - Official/Original Copy of Transcript w University Seal
  • B and C Applicants - Official Complete Course Descriptions
  • Certified English Translations of all Foreign Documents
  • Official proof of anything else required for your individual case
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