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.