Boston Patent Law Association Response to Request for Comments on Administrative Updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office

June 1, 2021

Jonathan B. Roses
Jonathan Roses co-authored on behalf of the Boston Patent Law Association's (BPLA’s) Patent Office Practice Committee a May 2021 Response to USPTO Request for Comments on proposed updates to the USPTO’s General Requirements Bulletin, which sets forth requirements for admission to the exam required to practice in patent cases before the USPTO (also known as the Patent Bar Exam). The Response expressed support for the USPTO’s proposal to expand the list of “Category A” bachelor’s degrees, which presumptively qualify an applicant to sit for the Patent Bar Exam, and proposed additional degrees for consideration for inclusion in Category A. The BPLA also advocated for a flexible approach in determining whether a specific degree falls within Category A, even if not listed therein verbatim, explaining that an overly rigid approach could discourage applicants, in particular those presently underrepresented in the innovation ecosystem. Finally, the Response agreed with the proposal to accept advanced degrees under Category A, while advocating for a common sense review to determine whether such degrees match those listed, and agreed with proposed clarifying changes to other options for admission.