PTO POLICY ON ACCESS BY HANDICAPPED PERSONS
TO THE PATENT BAR EXAMINATION

The attached files are scans of the Patent Office policy manual on access to PTO activities as of the date of acquisition, December 1995, and the handicap access policy published in the General Requirements bulletin for the Patent Bar Examination..

In its present format (2000), the Patent Bar Examination is pro- young attorney and very discriminatory against older applicants and others with various medical conditions that would have NO detrimental affect on the practice of patent law. The Patent Bar Examination is simply too long and too intense, requiring intense concentration for 3 hours, the ability to read faster than most experienced engineers or similar (which is the ONLY pre-requisite for taking the patent bar exam). A headache, cold, flue, pregnancy, or any other thing that distracts is a high barrier to passing.

The patent bar examination experience can be summed up as: "If you go Pee, you Piss away your chance of Passing".

The author of this gripe was told that the PTO HAS, on at least one occasion, give an indulgence to a pregnant woman. Would they do the same for a diabetic, a man with common male problem, any person constructed with a small bladder, a person of "regular habits", etc, etc ???? If so, how to go about getting special consideration? The published policy does not have any thing to say about it.

What about the reading problem? Considering the sad state of our public schools, can it be considered a "race-based" discrimination. It has in industrial settings. A person can get through engineering school reading relatively slowly, but thoroughly, but can the same person get through law school. I think not. The same is true of those favored in other venues who do not speak or read English with great facility.

Hence, since the patent bar examination is designed by and for attorneys, (and being an attorney is NOT a requirement of the job being sought), the patent bar examination in its present format is DISCRIMINATORY in ways that if cited against industry, would result in a huge problem for the business. The full weight and furor of the State and Federal governments would descend on the hapless business.

Any one for suing hor helping to sue the PTO/OED for discrimination against the handicapped? Let's do it. Contact me at bross@seanet.com.

-------- reprint of exam and handicap statement from the General Requirements Bulletin ---------------

General Requirements Bulletin, November 1999

CONTENT OF THE EXAMINATION

The examination for registration will be administered in two sessions, one during the morning and one during the afternoon. To pass the examination, you must take both sessions and receive a passing score of 70% on the entire examination. PLEASE NOTE: The registration examination will receive one score only and will test all applicable material throughout the examination.

Six hours are permitted for completion of the examination, three hours in the morning session and three hours in the afternoon section session. The examination is designed to test your knowledge of patent law and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rules, practice, and procedure; your understanding of claim drafting and ability to properly draft claims; and your ability to properly analyze factual situations and properly apply the patent laws and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rules, practice, and procedure, such as would be required to render valuable service to patent applicants in the preparation and prosecution of their patent applications. 35 U.S.C. § 31. The examination may also include questions dealing with standards of ethical and professional conduct applicable to registered patent attorneys and agents.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

If you have a disability for which special accommodations must be made for the upcoming examination, you must submit a separate letter with your application requesting disabled status. Your request must set forth your disability and the special accommodations that you need. Additional documentation, less than one year old, certifying the current severity of your disability and certifying that the accommodations requested are necessary for this disability should be sent by a licensed physician who has evaluated you regarding this condition certifying your disability. This documentation must be submitted for each examination for which special accommodation is requested. In order to insure that arrangements can be made in sufficient time before the examination date, the request for disabled status and all required documentation must be submitted no later than August 16, 1999.

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Editor's comment --- Note that there is no provision either in the Exam Requirements Bulletin or the complete official policy presented below that covers simple conditions that make sitting for a 6 hour exam almost impossible to pass.
Note also that the cut-off date for consideration is 3 months before the exam. Being 3 months pregnant or having newly discovered diabetes, bladder infection, bad cold, or some other such malady is just too bad, tuff nuggets, as far as the PTO is concerned.

Present your TS card to the proctor for punching.

------- Reprint of the official handicap policy of the PTO -------

Page 1, PTO DISABILITIES ACCESS POLICY

Page 2, PTO DISABILITIES ACCESS POLICY

Page 3, PTO DISABILITIES ACCESS POLICY

Page 4, PTO DISABILITIES ACCESS POLICY

Page 5, PTO DISABILITIES ACCESS POLICY

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Back to Patent Bar Examination pages.

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