So you’re a “Category B” Patent Bar Person, Eh?

Ouch.  But hey, look on the bright side – at least you’re not Category C, right?

The easiest way to qualify to sit for the Patent Bar Examination is to hold a Bachelor’s degree in one of the PTO’s pre-approved subject areas.  This would make you a Category A applicant, and your path to taking for the exam would be much clearer.

If your degree is not in one of the listed areas, you can still qualify to take the exam by meeting one of four requirements.


Option 1: 24 semester hours in physics.
Note: Only physics courses for physics majors will be accepted.


Option 2: 32 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following:

  • 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics, obtained in two sequential courses, each course including a lab, and
  • 24 semester hours in biology, botany, microbiology, or molecular biology.

Note: Only courses for science or engineering majors will be accepted.


Option 3: 30 semester hours in chemistry.
Note: Only chemistry courses for chemistry majors will be accepted.


Option 4: 40 semester hours in a combination consisting of the following:

  • 8 semester hours of chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics, obtained in two sequential courses, each course including a lab, and
  • 32 semester hours of chemistry, physics, biology, botany, microbiology, molecular biology, or engineering.

Note: Only courses for science or engineering majors will be accepted.


If you meet one of these requirements, fantastic – you’re well on your way to becoming a Patent Agent or Patent Attorney.  If you don’t, you may still qualify under Category C, Practical Engineering or Scientific Experience.

How long will it take to hear back from the PTO after applying to take the Exam?

2 Comments

  1. [...] you don’t meet the requirements of Category A or Category B, you may still qualify to take the exam under Category C, a special pathway for applicants with [...]

  2. [...] the above listed areas, don’t fret!  You may still qualify to sit for the examination as a Category B or Category C [...]

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