Practitioner Registration Examination: In with KSR, Bilski, and the MPEP Ed.8 Rev.8

By Joseph Mandour on February 16, 2011

bible-thumb-200x150-43265 California – For those contemplating soon taking the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), be advised that the USPTO is updating the content of the exam in April.

According to information released by the USPTO on February 11th, the current exam will cease to be administered after April 4th and it’s replacement is scheduled to become operational on April 12th. There will be a blackout period between these dates during which the exam will not be administered at all. And, with David Kappos as Director of the Patent Office, and the revitalization efforts therein, these dates are probably firm.

Generally, the update in the content of the exam will be accompanied by an update in the source material for the questions. Source material will be updated to include sources beyond the MPEP itself in an effort to more-closely conform exam content to current practice. These reference materials will be available on the computer monitor during the examination and are centered around A) the revised MPEP, B) developments in the obviousness inquiry after KSR v. Teleflex, C) determining subject matter eligibility for process claims in view of Bilski v. Kappos, and D) supplementary guidelines for determining compliance with 35 U.S.C. § 112.

For more information, the updated reference materials are listed below (PDF files):
1. Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP), Edition 8, Revision 8.

2. Examination Guidelines Update: Developments in the Obviousness Inquiry After KSR v. Teleflex.

3. New Interim Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Examination Instructions, August 2009.

4. Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos.

5. Interim Guidance for Determining Subject Matter Eligibility for Process Claims in View of Bilski v. Kappos, July 2010.

6. Supplementary Examination Guidelines for Determining Compliance with 35 U.S.C. § 112 and for Treatment of Related Issues in Patent Applications.

However, the overall format of the exam will remain the same, consisting of 100 multiple-choice questions. So, while the adventurous types wait for the new exam to arrive just before Tax Day, the rest had better get back to studying.

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