Registration examination

The examination for individuals seeking registration or recognition to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office is offered year round via computer at test centers across the country and on a date and time chosen by the applicant. Applicants who take the computer-delivered examination will receive an unofficial result at the end of the examination on the computer on which they take the examination.  
 
A paper examination is also given one time each July at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. Information about the paper exam is available below.
 

For further information and the application form, consult the General Requirements Bulletin(link is external).

Registration examination questions

The computer-delivered examination includes 100 multiple-choice questions, of which 90 are scored. To pass the examination, a candidate must correctly answer seventy percent of the scored questions (63 of 90). Each scored question has been used on previous examination forms and has been psychometrically analyzed to ensure the question provides a useful assessment of a candidate's legal qualifications.

Ten of the questions on the computer-delivered examination and the paper-based examination will be undergoing beta testing. The ten beta test questions will be distributed throughout the examination. These questions will not be identified and will not be scored. These questions will be psychometrically analyzed to assess whether the questions are too simple, complex, or ambiguous to serve as an adequate basis for measuring candidates' legal qualifications. Accordingly, these questions will not be included in the scoring of the candidate's examination or in determining whether a candidate has passed or failed an examination. Beta test questions will not be available for review by candidates who do not pass the examination.

Beta test questions that are found to accurately measure candidates' legal qualifications will be introduced into future examination forms and scored. The future examination forms will include different beta test questions. In this manner, the USPTO will continue to beta-test new questions in the registration examination to identify questions capable of measuring candidates' legal qualifications and add those questions to the database of questions that can be used and scored in the registration examination.

Tutorial

computer-delivered examination tutorial is available to help prospective examination-takers prepare.
 

Exam statistics

Information regarding exam results and statistics.

Notice of non-disclosure agreement

Anyone taking the registration examination is expressly prohibited from disclosing, publishing, reproducing, or transmitting the content, or substantially similar content, of the examination, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose. At each test site, every applicant is required to enter into a non-disclosure agreement as a condition to sitting for the examination. 

Any information tending to show that an applicant failed to abide by the non-disclosure agreement will be considered when determining whether an applicant has demonstrated good moral character for the purposes of registration or recognition. See 37 CFR § 11.7(g)(2). If an applicant discloses information that appears to be substantially similar to the content of the examination, OED will consider whether an ordinary reasonable person would recognize the essence of an examination question based upon the information disclosed.

Review sessions

Applicants who failed their registration examination will be able to schedule a review session through Prometric at a location selected by the applicant for a fee of $195. Reviews must take place within 65 days after the date of the examination. Applicants will review only those scored questions they answered incorrectly (37 CFR § 11.7(e)). Complete instructions for scheduling these review sessions will be provided with the result letters.

Examination updates and source materials

The USPTO updated the registration examination on December 16, 2016. The updated examination covers the same topics as the prior examination. The updated examination will cover all material referred to in the source materials, including subject matter eligibility guidance and training materials.(link is external)

USPTO-administered paper examination

The USPTO-administered paper examination is offered once per year in Alexandria, Virginia. The USPTO-administered examination will use paper examination booklets, mark-sense answer sheets, and reference materials furnished by the USPTO. This examination uses the same reference materials as the computer-delivered examination. Information regarding any future paper exam will be posted here by April 1st of each year.

USPTO 2017 Administered Exam (only on July 27, 2017 at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia)

An examination for individuals seeking registration before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) as patent attorneys and agents will be held Thursday, July 27, 2017 pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 2(b)(2)(D) and 37 CFR § 11.7. Friday, May 19, 2017 is the deadline for filing applications along with the appropriate application fee and the $450.00 examination fee and all necessary showings as required by 37 CFR § 11.7(b)(1)(i)(A) through (D). A timely filed application is one that is received in the Office on or before May 19, 2017, or mailed on or before May 19, 2017, in full compliance with the certificate of mailing provisions of 37 CFR § 1.8 or 37 CFR § 1.10. A mere postmark on an envelope is not sufficient to meet the deadline. Applications must bear applicant's original signature and they may not be filed by facsimile or electronically. 37 CFR § 1.4(e). For further information, please contact the Office of Enrollment and Discipline by calling (571) 272-4097.

The USPTO-administered examination is given only at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia. The USPTO-administered examination is NOT given at any other location.

The USPTO-administered examination will use paper examination booklets, mark-sense answer sheets, and reference materials furnished by the Office. The USPTO-administered examination will use the same reference materials used with the computer-delivered examination. A list of these reference (source) materials is available on the USPTO Internet website. For further information and the application form, consult the General Requirements Bulletin available on the USPTO Internet website. A printed copy of the General Requirements Bulletin is available from the OED for a prepaid fee of $15.00 per copy.

Applicants are encouraged to file early to allow ample time for notification and correction of incomplete applications in advance of the July 2017 examination. Applications filed after Friday, May 19, 2017 may be accepted. However, an application filed after the May 19 deadline, and any application filed prior to the May 19 deadline with a deficiency, must be completed on or before Friday, June 16, 2017.  All items to complete an application must be received in the Office on or before June 16, 2017, or mailed on or before June 16, 2017, in full compliance with the provisions of 37 CFR § 1.8 or 37 CFR § 1.10.

Registration does not qualify one for practice before the Office in trademark cases. Such recognition is governed by 37 CFR § 11.14.

For further information, please contact the Office of Enrollment and Discipline by calling (571) 272-4097.