Boston Intellectual Property Law Association Response to USPTO Request for Comments Regarding Proposals to Expand Criteria for Admission to Practice Before the Office

Jonathan Roses co-authored on behalf of the Boston Intellectual Property Law Association (BIPLA) a January 2023 Response to USPTO Request for Comments regarding proposals to expand the criteria for admission to practice before the Office. The Response supported the USPTO’s proposals to periodically review applicant degrees for inclusion in the “Category A” of degrees that automatically qualify an applicant to sit for the examination for registration to practice in patent cases before the USPTO (commonly referred to as the “Patent Bar Exam”), to allow for computer sciences degrees to so qualify an applicant regardless of whether they are accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Commission of the Computer Science Accreditation Board or by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (“ABET”).

The Response also advocated for the implementation of a separate “design patent bar examination” that would enable applicants to register to practice in design patent cases before the USPTO without the requirement that applicants be U.S. attorneys. Finally, the Response reiterated its May 24, 2021 Comments on administrative updates for the requirements to sit for the patent bar exam, advocating for a flexible approach to determine whether an applicant’s degree should be considered under Category A, and explaining that this would encourage participation of those presently underrepresented in the innovation ecosystem.