First off I would like to say what a pain in the butt applying for the patent bar exam is. But don’t stress out because I am here to help you! To start off you have to read the General Requirements Bulletin and fill out a form provided by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). But that’s not all. You have to make sure you send in your transcript, UNOPENED. For some reason I thought I could open my transcript and still be able to send it in, but I was wrong. So I had to have my transcript sent to me again. You also have to fall under one of the three categories in order to take the exam. The three categories include Category A: bachelor’s degree in a recognized technical subject, Category B: bachelor’s degree in another subject but for this one you have to explain courses you’ve taken that make you qualify (for this category you are allowed to have an opened transcript to highlight specific courses), and Category C: practical engineering or scientific experience which means you have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test. One more thing is that there is a couple of questions on the form where you have to say yes or no. One of the questions is about having any kind of traffic violations. It is important to list any violations that were under $100. It is also important to explain the traffic violation in full detail. Another thing is the certificate of mailing form that should be filled out. All of the appropriate forms are located at the end of the General Requirements Bulletin document.
If the forms, transcript, or descriptions of the traffic violations are not included in the information sent to the USPTO, then they will deny you from being able to take the exam. But on the bright side they will let you submit the missing things in order to be allowed to take the exam. This will all take a couple weeks so make sure you plan accordingly. Also it is very important to read the General Requirements Bulletin because I read that you can be denied if you put your middle initial instead of your full middle name. It’s kind of a silly thing to be denied for but it can happen. The USPTO really just wants you to have a good moral character and reputation.
Stayed tuned for one of my future blogs to find out how I did!
According to the ever so popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I classify as an introvert although my friends would probably tell you otherwise. The idea of introducing myself, public speaking, and large crowds has always made me feel uneasy and although a career as a patent agent aligns exceptionally well with my sentiments, GETTING THE JOB DOES NOT! I knew upon enrolling into the program I would have to network, ask questions, and partake in other aspects of “putting myself out there”.
At every Lunch and Learn last semester I introduced myself to the speaker and told him or her a little about myself and to be honest it wasn’t too bad. After a few times it became second nature, it was important for me to tell the speaker about me in a sense. Now that I’m “actively seeking employment” I’ve been able to reach out to some of those same speakers for advice ranging from ways to strengthen my resume to potential interview questions.
I can’t say enough to go beyond your comfort zone, I know you’ve probably grown accustomed to your labmates or undergrad buddies but you have to take the next step for your career development. The relationships I’ve established extend beyond the scope of “can you help me find a job”, but these connections are with people I know I could contact even after I get my dream job (speak it into existence) to encourage me and act as mentors. One thing I’ve learned is becoming a great patent agent doesn’t happen overnight and having skilled people in one’s corner drastically increases the chances of him or her having a long and successful career.
Learning from the mistakes and triumphs of other patent agents/attorneys is invaluable. In addition to all the extremely beneficial courses in the MSPL curriculum, extend yourself to guest speakers and connect with people on LinkedIn. You know you’re really growing up when LinkedIn is the preferred app over Twitter and Instagram but it provides you with an opportunity to broaden your network and not to mention connecting with ND/MSPL alumni makes a world of difference.
MSPL Professor and Director, Dr. Karen Deak, was interviewed recently by the Cheeky Scientist about careers in patent law, specifically as a patent agent. Listen to an excerpt here, or become part of the Cheeky Scientist community on LinkedIn to hear the whole interview.
Thank you such much guys and gals for reading my blog throughout this first semester of the MSPL program. My goal coming into the program was to write this blog from a place of transparency with a pinch of humor. In a way I was hoping this program would be the magic cure for all of the career frustrations I had while in grad school. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the research I was conducting and the relationships I was building but I didn’t want to continue on that career path.
The MSPL program has forced me out of my comfort zone and at some moments made me question myself as a trained scientist, but it has all been for the better. I sucked at claim writing…..SUCKED, but Karen was patient enough to work with me and we’ve both noticed improvements. For the life of me I can’t figure out why I thought I was going to come into the program writing claims like I had been doing this for 20+ years. Learning to write claims is a very humbling experience to say the least.
For people that are interested in the MSPL program that are transitioning from grad school, it will be tough in the beginning and you’ll realize just how comfortable you were at the bench, but eventually you’ll get better at this patent law thing. I’m closing out this semester on a high note and preparing for next year which is already setting up to be extremely busy with interning, IP Clinic and competing with my business team peeps. I look forward to seeing what next semester brings and I will be sure to share all the juicy details with you all. Happy Holidays!