What is the eligibility criteria for appearing in Patent Agent Exam conducted by Indian Patent Office – Age, Qualification, Citizenship etc?

Eligibility criteria to appear in the Indian Patent Agent Exam are simple and as follows:

Minimum 21 years
Indian Nationality

Minimum one science based graduation

[degree in science, engineering or technology from any university established under law in India or possesses such other equivalent qualifications as the Central Government may specify in this behalf – BSc, MSc, B. Pharma, M. Pharma, BE, ME, B.Tech, M.Tech, PhD, MBBS etc (this is just a small list of degrees qualifying for Indian Patent Agent Exam and may not be complete. If you have any doubt about your degree, don’t hesitate to call IIPTA)
Graduation should be complete. Final year candidates are also eligible as long as they are able to produce final degree, mark sheets etc within 2 months of declaration of the Patent Agent Exam result they are appearing for.
2) What is the date of the Patent Agent Exam?

For the last 2 years, the exam is being conducted in the mid of January and on weekends. But the exact date of the next exam can be intimated only after Indian Patent Office issues the notice or announcement of the next exam. To register for alert, you can register your phone number and email id on the iipta.com Patent Agent info and Alert form.

3)      When will the Forms to apply to appear for Patent Agent Exam be released by Patent Office of India?

The notification and the form are released by the Indian Patent Office at the same time.

4)      What are the career prospects, advantages of becoming a Patent Agent?

a.       I m an engineer

b.      I m a researcher

c.       I m a PhD

d.      I m a teacher

e.      I m an inventor

f.        I m a pharmacy graduate

What ever is your profession or present specialization, becoming Patent Agent does not in any way mean that you are changing your field. Please refer to the presentation on Introduction to intellectual property and career to have a better view for this question.

5)      Can I practice in the US, Europe etc also with this certification?

NO. Indian Patent Agent Examination is only for Indian citizens and is recognized only by Patent Office of India. To practice as a patent agent in other countries, one has to qualify patent agent exams of the respective countries.

6)      Do I have to become a lawyer to practice on my own or otherwise?

NO. There is absolutely no need to become a Lawyer to practice as a patent agent in India. Once you qualify the exam, you can work in any company requiring patent agents and also start your own consultancy firm.

7)      What is the syllabus for the exam?

There is no set syllabus prescribed by the Indian Patent Office for the exam, but it is stated that to clear the exam one should be through with the all the Patent Office practices and procedures. If you wish to know more on what comes in the exam, you may want to see the books prescribes by IIPTA for the exam.

8)      What is the structure of exam?

The exam is a three (3) part test.

·         Paper #1 will have 40 objective type questions of one mark each and descriptive type questions of 60 marks.

·         Paper #2 will have a set of two questions (different sets for science and engineering) on drafting of 30 marks each consisting of:

o   Drafting of specification from given claims and background.

o   Drafting of claims from given specification and the rest will be descriptive/interpretative type questions of 40 marks.

·         Viva-voce examination will be based only on domain knowledge.

The passing score is a minimum of 50% in each and overall 60%.

9)      What is the number of seats announced by Indian Patent Office for the exam?

There is no number specified by Indian Patent Office as maximum number of seats per year for registering Patent Agents. Seeing the past trends the number is only increasing every year.

10)   Is coaching with IIPTA compulsory?

No. Coaching is not compulsory. In fact Indian Patent Office has not recognized any institute, college or university for the same. For the same reason, knowing the credentials, expertise in IPR and experience of the institute providing Patent Agent Exam training can be handy while choosing its course or programs for your preparation. Check out how to choose an institute for patent or IPR studies.

11)   Where will be the exam conducted?

Till 2010, the exam was conducted at the 4 patent offices of Indian, namely, Delhi (exactly in Dwarka, Delhi NCR), Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai. But as the number of applicants is increasing in 2011, Patent Office allotted college and university centers for conducting the exam. So it is expected to be same in the future. The Centre is mentioned in the admit card you will receive via mail from the Indian Patent Office.

12)   What is the number of attempts allowed?

There is no maximum number of allowed attempts notified by Indian Patent Office till date i.e. you may appear for the exam as many times as you wish and until you qualify as a Registered Patent Agent.

13)   How difficult / easy is the exam?

Please read the 10 myths about patent agent exam for this. Myth # 7 and 8 about patent agent particularly explains this in detail.

14)   Difference between patent agent and patent attorney?

Please read the article on 10 Myths about Patent Agent Exam. Myth # 3 about patent agent exam will answer your concern.

New Most Asked Questions – Answering the questions asked through comments on this post.

15) What is form fee for this exam and where I can get these form? (added on 19th August 2011)

The form that you have to fill to apply and sit for Indian Patent Agent Examination is a Application Form by Patent Office of India. Form for 2011 Patent Agent Exam is attached to this post (Find where the post ends, right click and save as) as a sample. The actual form will be out soon along with the notification of the date for Patent Agent Exam.

15.1) What is the fee for this form?

Following is the abstract from Official Notification for 2011 Patent Agent Exam. This should answer this question.

How to apply

Applications in the prescribed proforma and enclosures along with the prescribed fee of Rs.1000/- (Rupees  One Thousand Only) in the form of D.D. in favour of “Controller of Patents” payable at Mumbai   should be sent to  “The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks”, BoudhikSampada Bhawan, S.M. Road, Antop Hill, Mumbai 400 037” so 
as to reach on or before  15 th  November 2010 which is the last date for receiving the application. Envelopes containing the application should be clearly marked on top as “Patent Agent Examination -2011.”  
Documents to be attached with the application :-  
i. Self attested copy of proof of age;  
ii. Self attested copy of degree certificate;  
iii. Two copies of self attested passport size photographs

Consider the above a template and wait for the actual notification for come. To get alert for the notification, register for the alert here.

16) What is the Syllabus for the Indian Patent Agent Exam? (Added on 19 August 2011)

There is no syllabus prescribed by the government in the notifications

Rule 110 of Section 126 the Patent Act 1970 which govern the Patent Agent Examination part says:
110. Particulars of the qualifying examination for patent agents. – (1) The qualifying examination referred to in clause (c) (ii) of sub-section (1) of section 126 shall consist of a written test and a viva voce examination.
(2) The qualifying examination shall consist of the following papers and marks, namely:
Paper T Patents Act and Rules 100 Paper II – Drafting and interpretation of patent
specifications and other documents. 100
Viva Voce 100
(3) The qualifying marks for each written paper and for the viva voce examination shall be fifty per cent each, and a candidate shall be declared to have passed the examination only ‘.f he obtains an aggregate of sixty per cent of the qualifying marks.

According to me:

1) Not all the section are asked in the exam, there are some particular important sections which are always asked.
2) But as the trends are changing objective type question can be asked on pin pointed sections and rules of Patent Act 1920
3) Case Study type questions have become a very important part of the paper 2 now. External guidance might be needed. If you are trying to make your own case studies try to incorporate as many sections as possible in a single case study to make it complex. This way you will get use to understand what should happen if more than just 1 condition is applied in real life situations.
4) Patent Drafting ability is very important part for qualifying the exam and some time you will really need guidance on this part.
5) Viva Voice is again a important part of the exam. Question which cannot be discussed in the written paper are asked in the viva. Both pin pointed and purely subjective questions are asked by the examiners. Having a question bank can help. Also understand by making you a Registered Patent Agent – government is making you an extension of it self to help in the work which it cannot do as there are only 4 patent office in India and the demand for Patent professionals is too high. So they are expecting you to be able to help clients or other inventors in the filing procedure – again real life case studies can be asked.
6) All in all clearing Patent Agent Exam means you completely understand the rights and duties of an inventor or researcher with respect to the invention and also that of the government towards these inventors. You will be a Government agent helping it file patents for inventors and helping them increasing the scope of their invention.