I listened to the webcast (was already registered )
. Gee whiz it was heavy on the sales pitch... and TBH I don't have $1900 kicking around as a (non-law) student to buy the PLI materials. Mark, I appreciate your input but it doesn't seem to me that the exam cannot be passable unless you buy the PLI review. I don't think the USPTO would make it so that unless you had very specialized expertise, since there's no old test material reflecting the new changes to the exam, you can't pass on your own. It seems that there are about 80 pages of new material between Bilsky and KSR via: http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/oed/exam/reg_exam_source_material.jsp
. The question is whether or not a given Patent Bar question would ask something that is in MPEP E8R8 but also in those supporting documents (which supercede E8R8) and whether there would be a way to be tricked into an answer that was correct on E8R8 but updated and now incorrect in view of the new materials.
I understand the motivation of the PTO to try to increase the applicability of what examiners/agents/attorneys learn towards current practice, but they can't make the exam full of trick questions, and they should understand that instead of searching just the MPEP, you now have 5 other documents to search, which obviously will take extra time. Furthermore, from what I can tell, it looks like there is redundancy in the E8R8 and updated materials, with the new materials having precedence over the E8R8. Surely they won't all of the sudden make the exam much more difficult - that doesn't sound like the government to me.
Here is a general question... Do employers like to see a later date of passing the exam so that the agent/attorney is more up to date with current USPTO practices? My guess is no, it doesn't matter, but i could see how e.g. if you wanted to work at the USPTO you could leverage the fact that you're more up to date with Bilsky and KSR decisions by the passing of a later/more modern exam. Furthermore, with the rumors that the USPTO will be going to a "first to file" arrangement like other countries, it will only further complicate the exam...I wonder if waiting until this update is in effect would be worthwhile so that you are known to be up-to-date with the current practices viz the "first to file" of the USPTO.
Thanks for anyone's help. Sorry to be so high-strung and worried, but this is the kind of person that the law, in general, encourages.