USPTO opens opportunities to practice before the agency by evolving admissions criteria for patent bar

Published on: 05/16/2023 10:29 AM


Patent Alert

US Patent and Trademark Office

USPTO opens opportunities to practice before the agency by evolving admissions criteria for patent bar

On October 18, 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) requesting public input on whether to modify the scientific and technical criteria for admission to practice in all patent matters. Per the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (GRB), there are three categories of technical and scientific qualifications that typically make applicants eligible to sit for the registration examination in order to practice in all patent matters: (1) Category A for specified bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degrees; (2) Category B for other bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. degrees with technical and scientific training; and (3) Category C for practical engineering or scientific experience.

Based on the comments and support received, the USPTO published an FRN implementing the suggested changes. These changes include: (1) requiring the USPTO to review certain applicant degrees in Category B every three years to determine whether they should be moved to Category A, (2) making a modification to the accreditation requirement for computer science degrees such that all Bachelor of Science in computer science degrees from an accredited university or college will be accepted under Category A, and (3) providing clarifying instructions to applicants for limited recognition.

“Expanding the admission criteria of the patent bar will encourage broader participation and keep up with ever-evolving technology,” remarked Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “This is part of our effort across the Agency to deploy and keep up with the fast pace of technological change and to lower barriers to our innovation ecosystem.”

These changes are reflected in the newly published GRB on the USPTO’s website.


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