Taking the Patent Bar as a “Category C” Applicant

If 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 “Practical Engineering or Scientific Experience.”

The PTO states,

An applicant relying on practical engineering or scientific experience or who does not qualify under Category A or B above may establish the required technical training by demonstrating that he or she has taken and passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) test. The FE test is a test of engineering fundamentals. The FE test is developed and administered by a State Board of Engineering Examiners in each State or comparable jurisdiction. Neither the USPTO nor any other U.S. Government agency administers the test. Applicants desiring to take the FE test should direct inquiries to the Secretaries of the appropriate State Boards. Official results of the FE test must be submitted to establish qualification under this category. Applicants attempting to qualify under Category C must submit an official original transcript showing the award of a Bachelors degree

I have personally never known anyone who has tried to qualify under Category C, so I can’t say much about the Category C application process.  However, Gene Quinn, on his excellent website IPWatchdog, says that it is a very difficult path, and that he has never known anyone to qualify, no matter how brilliant or technically sophisticated.

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

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