Patent Agent Exam 2016: Answer Keys and Changes in Format

We are happy to bring to you a guest post on the Patent Agent Examination 2016, co-authored by Roshan John, Research Associate under the IPR Chair at IIT Madras and Dr. Sudarsan Rajagopal, one of the candidates who wrote this exam. In an earlier post, we had shared with you an answer key to Paper-I, prepared by Mr. Muthu SenthilKumar. In this post, Roshan and Dr. Sudarshan discuss the changes made to the format of the exam this year and share with us the answer keys to both Paper-I and Paper-II as prepared by them.

Patent Agent Examination 2016

Roshan John & Dr. Sudarshan Rajagopal

The Patent Agent exam was conducted in November 2016, and this year too, had a number of changes to the format. Unlike earlier versions, multiple choice answers were clearly divided into two sections- one having a single answer, and another having at-least 2 correct options. While earlier versions of the exam did have multiple choice answers with more than one answer correct, they were distributed throughout the paper, and questions where multiple options would be correct were not earmarked. On the other hand, while earlier exams offered fractional marks for any of the correct options, this year round the bar was set higher, where answers would be given 3 marks only if ALL correct options were marked.

Several questions in the MCQs quizzed directly for knowledge of the relevant section numbers. This is reminiscent of the ‘fill in the blanks’ section from earlier exams, which also tested for memorization of all sections of the Act. Although having this in a multiple choice format does make it somewhat easier, it still seems to place an emphasis on rote memorization versus testing for a conceptual understanding. This would be a key point for all future aspirants to keep in mind during their preparation.

The reworking of the True/False section of the question paper from earlier years made this section trickier, now aiming for a more nuanced understanding to get the right answer. This reduces the probability of getting an answer right simply by making a wild guess.

The Patent Agent examination has always had a mixture of objective questions (MCQs, True/False, fill in the blanks), as well as those demanding a subjective answer. Earlier versions had the subjective questions distributed over both Paper I and Paper II, allowing for a more generous allocation of time for writing these answers. In the Nov 2016 exam, all questions with subjective answers were now placed in Paper II. This format makes sense from the point of view of the Patent Office, as it considerably eases the effort expended in evaluation- since the answers to Paper I could now easily be graded by an automated process. However, this seems to unduly skew the time consuming effort of writing answers by hand towards paper II, making the key to cracking paper II one more of effective management of time.

Have a look at our answers to the exam, and feel free to share your thoughts on the exam, as well as any queries you may have directed to our answer key.

Paper 1 Answer Key: Part I, Part II and Part III

Paper 2 Answer Key

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18 thoughts on “Patent Agent Exam 2016: Answer Keys and Changes in Format”

  1. Patent Agent Aspirant

    Thanks for the post. Can I request SpicyIP for a post on what is involved in the viva and how one should prepare for it?


  2. Why is there no official answer key published, like llb exam.
    Also why are the marks for those who didn’t clear web exam disclosed
    By when will it be disclosed, how can one get to know his marks?
    This looks like a lack of transparency

    1. The marks for all candidates, including those who haven’t qualified for the viva-voce, are going to be made available. One can gather this from the document published on 8th December by the Patent Office ( So, we can expect to see our scores in the coming weeks. I do agree that it would be a great help if there was an official answer key released, as it would resolve uncertainty surrounding some of the more confusing choices- can the inventor not be a person interested, for example?

      1. It is highly disappoint to see 123 candidates failed because of Viova-voce. Viva-Voice not conducting by fair and equal opportunity to all. It involves different type of questions and depends upon the persons (2) conducting the same.

        No one can judge the intellectual mind of a THEORETICALLY qualified by simply asking 3 bare viva questions.

        very very unfair in procedure.

  3. Somebody got 61+50+41 (152 Pass) and 62+50+39 (151 Pass)

    But 60+50+18 (128 Fail)

    See the miracle of Viva weightage. Same kind of knowledge (as per mark) people gets 40 and 18 how?

  4. What can be the reason for failing in Viva Voce Exam when you knew answers to all the questions asked and know that you have answered them correctly?
    Is it some personal bias or something else?
    Is it justified?
    Is there any machanism to question the credibility of marks allotted in Viva Exam?

  5. Exam Stat (for only those, who appears for Via)
    C: 87/111 (78.38%) Viva Voice; Pass- 20 to 46, Fail- 17 to 32
    D: 165/198 (83.33%) Via Voice: Pass- 24 to 45, Fail- 26 to 40
    K: 7/10 (70%) Via Voice: Pass- 25 to 35, Fail- 25 to 38
    M: 121/180 (67.22%) Via Voice: Pass- 15 to 39 Fail- 15 to 31 (only 5 manage to get 35 or above)
    N: 27/31 (87.10%) Via Voice: Pass-36 to 43 and Fail- 38 to 40

    1. Mumbai Center had all dumb candidates, as 59 fails due to Viva out of 180 and out of 180 only one person manage to get 39 and only five manage to get 35 or above in Viva.

      1. Is it a case of dumb candidates or very stringent selection criteria?
        What do you say about a person who answered all the question correctly and was still failed in Viva?
        I question the credibility of Viva Examination.

        1. It is very difficult to prove. As total fails are 123 out of which 59 from Mumbai itself. Moreover I appeared and within 5 minutes they judge and rate me 20/50. There is no provision for the Viva review, and for that required collective voice, same is difficult to manage, Otherwise, Next time it will happen with the same center or different.

  6. Patent Office differs with present solved papers of following.
    1) Q no. 27 of Paper set C- as per patent office Answer is (d).
    2) Q.35 of Paper set C- as per patent office Answer is (a) i.e. only first is true, and assignee of the person claiming to be the true and first applicant can’t file patent application.
    3) Q. 49. of paper set C- as per patent office Answers are (b) Form 14 and (c) Apply for compulsory license which is total blunder.

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