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cheesepep
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some n00b questions
« on: Aug 21st, 2006, 12:07pm »
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Hello all,
 
I want to pass the patent bar exam soon, but I have no background in patent law at all.  I do qualify for the exam however and I do not want to pay for any courses to prep me for the exam (because they are pricey!).  I did however buy 3 patent law books online from amazon and will be reading those.  I also have been studying the Oct 2003 exam morning sessions and I had some questions on those also.  Is it possible to pass the exam w/o taking any courses like I plan on doing?  I consider myself a pretty smart guy...I passed and scored above the mean on the GRE, GMAT w/o studying.
 
Also, I had the following questions:
 
1) What does PCT mean?  I've seen some people use this term here.
2) The exam often states "under 35 USC 122" or similar, but the solutions often uses "MPEP 713.02" or similar.  How will I know to look for MPEP when the question is referrencing the USC thing?  How are the two manuals related?
3) So I am correct in stating that the exam I will take will use all of the questions from previous exams with just 10 beta questions thrown in?  Are the questions exactly the same or have they been revised some?
 
Thanks for all of your help.
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tonyp
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Posts: 34
Re: some n00b questions
« Reply #1 on: Aug 21st, 2006, 12:58pm »
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on Aug 21st, 2006, 12:07pm, cheesepep wrote:
Hello all,
 
Is it possible to pass the exam w/o taking any courses like I plan on doing?  I consider myself a pretty smart guy...I passed and scored above the mean on the GRE, GMAT w/o studying.

 
Yes.  However, the patent bar isn't a test of how "smart" you are, in the sense of most standardized tests.  That is, it's not a test of intelligence or general reasoning ability.  It's a test of how well you know (or are able to look up) specific content knowledge.  Because of this, I'd say it's virtually impossible to pass the test "without studying," as might be the case for the GRE, etc.
 
Quote:

1) What does PCT mean?  I've seen some people use this term here.

 
Patent Cooperation Treaty, the law that defines procedures for filing international patent applications.  Discussed in chapter 1800 of the MPEP.
 
Quote:

2) The exam often states "under 35 USC 122" or similar, but the solutions often uses "MPEP 713.02" or similar.  How will I know to look for MPEP when the question is referrencing the USC thing?  How are the two manuals related?

 
Title 35 of the United States Code is the portion of the statute that establishes the legal basis for the patent system.  Rather than codify every single detail, it grants discretion to the Director of the USPTO to make rules implementing patent procedures.  These are collected in Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).  
 
The MPEP is the PTO's "operations manual" that explains how the statute and rules are to be applied.  Sometimes, a question has an answer that is clear on its face from the statute - such as, whether a given item of prior art qualifies as 102(a), (b), (e) art for an application.  In other instances, a question is about procedure, such as what sort of amendments an applicant is entitled to submit after a final rejection.  While the answers to procedural questions can often be found directly in the rules, further explanation (as well as verbatim answer choices) are typically located in the MPEP section that expounds upon the rules.
 
Knowing where to look is a function of practice and familiarity with the MPEP.  There isn't a hard and fast answer - actually, the question itself suggests that you need to spend more time reviewing the structure of the MPEP, so that you can understand its general architecture.  Over time you'll come to realize that questions pertaining to patentability rejections are mostly found in 2100, appeal is in 1200, etc.  
 
Quote:

3) So I am correct in stating that the exam I will take will use all of the questions from previous exams with just 10 beta questions thrown in?  Are the questions exactly the same or have they been revised some?

 
No, the exam will not use "all of the questions from previous exams."  Anecdotal reports suggest that the current exams have repeats of anywhere from 10-40 questions from 2001-2003 exams, give or take.  The remaining questions are new.  In some instances, there have been reports of old exam questions being modified to alter the call of the question, subtle facts in the setup, or the answer options.
 
You should check out the Prometrics thread for a lot more detail on question types, folks' preparation strategies, etc.
 
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HarrisonBergeron
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Posts: 20
Re: some n00b questions
« Reply #2 on: Aug 21st, 2006, 2:41pm »
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Search EBay for "patent course" (or similar keywords).  You'll turn up a lot of women's leather shoes in addition to exam manuals.  I paid $500 for my set (books, not shoes), and will sell them there for about the same in a couple of months.
 
You can also "just" read through the MPEP, which is available as a free download from the PTO website.  The course I bought basically summarizes the most important parts in simpler language.  I found that it misses some key points, and so I've switched to reading the MPEP in full and then reading the course books to refresh the major points.
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blakesq
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Re: some n00b questions
« Reply #3 on: Aug 21st, 2006, 4:06pm »
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I would recommend buying a bound copy of the MPEP, that comes with the 37 CFR and 35 USC.  And study that book, and make sure to tab it.
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cheesepep
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Re: some n00b questions
« Reply #4 on: Aug 21st, 2006, 4:34pm »
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Thanks for the responses, but I do believe that the new computer rules states that you cannot bring anything into the test room since they already have an online copy of the MPEP.  But it would be nice if we could bring in other stuff like a dictionary or some other refernece guides.
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