Does the version of the MPEP you’re tested on matter?

USPTO Seal The current Patent Bar Examination tests your knowledge of version 8, revision 4 of the Manual of Patent Examination Procedure (MPEP).  This is despite the fact that the current version (as of the time of this writing) is version 8, revision 8.

Does it matter?

According to Jim Longacre, it doesn’t matter one bit.

I am more familiar with this exam than any other person on this earth. I have never run across an exam question which had a different answer based on the present edition of the MPEP, as opposed to the version being tested. So I don’t care.

Moreover, this is a highly unfair and arbitrary exam. You want to be so well prepared that you will pass no matter how many flawed questions or unfair ones are tossed your way. If you lose a point or two on this point, well, then it won’t matter because you will have passed anyway.

Along with John White, Jim Longacre was the original creator of PLI’s patent bar review course.   So when Longacre speaks, I’m inclined to listen.

So what does this mean for you?  If you’re studying for the exam, I’d still recommend using the version that’s being tested.  But if you’re using a newer version, don’t sweat it – it’s probably not going to matter.

Jim stated in his post that it’s nearly impossible to obtain a copy of the older version of the MPEP.  It is on the USPTO’s website, but maybe it’s hard to find.  If you’re looking for a copy, here’s a direct link.

Leave a Comment