All About The Patent Agent Exam: Read This First!

All About The Patent Agent Exam You Ever Wanted To Know

All About The Patent Agent Exam You Ever Want To Know!

Table of Contents

As it is the Patent Agent Exam 2020 season and as there are many who are asking us questions about the same, we are going to try and address some of the questions that have come our way.

Before we get into understanding the Patent Agent Exam, let’s start by looking at what Intellectual Property Right means:

Intellectual Property Rights’ (‘IPRs’) is a collective term for Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, Design Rights, Trade Secrets and others like legal rights. IPR offers protection to intellectual or creative labor in industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields for a specific period of time. Intellectual Property Rights like patents,  confidential information, copyright and designs, specifically deal with protection of ideas and information whereas rights such as trademarks, geographical indication etc., deal with methods of promoting and selling goods and services.

Patent Granted to Nikola Tesla - Electric Circuit Controller (Patented August 16, 1898)
Patent Granted to Nikola Tesla - Electric Circuit Controller (Patented August 16, 1898)

In simple words, Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are a set of rights that come out of the creations of mind, Inventions are protected by means of Patents, Literary and Artistic works are protected by the Copyright regime and names that we often use in trade and businesses are protected by the Trademark regime.

Intellectual Property rights offer exclusive monopoly right to the owner of the right, normally manifest on intangible property and in that way they differ from real property. IPR is not a branch of law, but it is the conglomeration of different areas of law. Patent Law, Copyright Law, and Trademark law are different branches of law. Copyrights law and trademark laws are different from patent law in the sense that the modes of establishing the right, creation of the right and the enforcement of the right are much different in patent law, copyright law, and trademark law.  

For example, in Patent Law, to prove infringement, you will have to look at the document that encompasses the patent right, which is what we call a patent specification and then look at the infringing act, which could be an act done by the infringer and map the act into the scope of the right that is covered in the patent specification.  This is how infringement is proved.  

If you look at copyright or even for that matter trademarks, the rights that are manifested in the trademark or copyright are proved by a normal comparison of the infringing right.  

For example, if there is a book that is copyrighted and there is also another work which is allegedly infringing the copyright, then all you need to do is read through the two books to see whether there is a likelihood of one work being the copy of the other. Similarly for trademarks the infringement is proved by looking at the two similar marks and the standard is one of reasonableness. If it is reasonably found that one mark could not have been made by looking at the other mark there is an initial case of infringement.

Thomas Alva Edison - Electric Lamp - Patented January 27, 1880
Thomas Alva Edison - Electric Lamp - Patented January 27, 1880

What is a Patent?

A Patent is a form of Intellectual Property Right granted and protected by the law, which grants a monopoly right over an invention. Like any other IPR, patents too, offer protection over intellectual creations of the human mind for a specified period of time. Patents are granted to protect technological inventions. ‘Patent’ refers to an exclusive right granted for an invention. However, all inventions cannot be protected by patent, but it is also not necessary to protect all inventions solely through patent. The final product arising as a result of the invention may be protected through other forms of IPRs, like trademarks, trade secrets and confidential information. In case a product has a novel design, and not a novel function, the product can be protected by design or copyright.

The word ‘patent’ implies openness and accessibility. The term patent originated from the Latin term literae patentes (Letters Patent) which means ‘open letters’. In Britain, it was so called as they were open and not sealed, bearing the Great Seal at the bottom and a proclamation from the sovereign to the subjects. The grant of a patent was a matter of the sovereign’s grace. The practice of issuing letters patent in Britain continued till the Patents Act 1977 came into force. However, in India, a statutory provision was made as early as 1911 by the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911, where a patent was granted by the Controller under the provisions of the Act and not by the Sovereign ruler. Under the Patents Act 1970, the Controller grants the patent with the seal of the patent office and records the date on which the patent is granted.

A patent is a temporary exclusive right granted by the State to an inventor, under a statute in return for the disclosure of technical information about the invention. This disclosure is made in a document known as the Patent Specification. Patent Specifications are filed before the Patent Office which examines and grants patents.

The Patents Act 1970 as amended and the rules made under it governs the laws relating to Patents in India. The Patents Act is a legislation passed by the Central Government in accordance with the powers vested under Entry 49 of the List I of Schedule VII of the Constitution of India that deals generally with IPRs including patents. 

History of Patents: When did the practice of patents start?

If we take a look back at history, we see can that there was a patent documented for “some kind of new-fangled loaf” of bread in 600 B.C. according to British intellectual property expert Robin Jacob. 

The first industrial filing according to historians dates back to 1421, attributing it to Filippo Brunelleschi, an architect from Florence, who developed a crane system which was used for shipping and transporting marble from the Carrara mountains.

A Flemish glassmaker, John of Utynam, is considered to be the first person on record that was awarded an English patent in 1449.  This patent was granted by King Henry VI, and John was given exclusive rights, a 20-year monopoly on producing stained glass — a technique that was until that point unknown in England.

Albert Einstein - Refrigeration Patent Drawing - Nov 11, 1930
Albert Einstein - Refrigeration Patent Drawing - Nov 11, 1930

The Patents Scene In India: When Did It Start?

While modern patent law is said to have originated in Venice in 1474 when patent rights were granted as a means to attract skilled merchants, there exists some evidence to show the prevalence of patent-like grant prior to that period in the United Kingdom. The origin of patent law in India can be traced back to the law and practice on patents in United Kingdom. The Indian Patents Act 1970 was modelled on the British Patents Act 1949, as amended. Until 1949, the British law did not provide for product patents for food, medicines and chemicals. Products patents were however granted under the British Patents Act 1949 and continue to be granted under the British Patents Act 1977. The Indian Act differs significantly as product patents for food, medicines and chemicals were allowed only from 1 January 2005.

The British in 1911 introduced the first Patent Legislation in India, the Indian Patents and Designs Act of 1911, to protect the interests of the inventors. A series of statutes, namely, Act VI of 1856, Act XV of 1859, Patterns and Designs Protection Act 1872, Protection of Inventions Act 1883 and the Inventions and Designs Act 1888 conferred ‘exclusive privileges’ before the introduction of the Indian Patents and Designs Act 1911 (1911 Act). The legal system underwent many socio-political and economic changes within the country, which required a new set of laws for patents. The main objective to introduce a new set of laws was to ensure that the patents are not worked against the detriment of the consumer or to the prejudice of industrial development in India.

In 1948, the Government formed the Tek Chand committee to review the working of the 1911 Act and to ensure whether the Indian Patent Laws was in line with broader national interests. A bill, largely modelled on the Patents Act, 1949 of the United Kingdom was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 1953. However, the bill lapsed with the dissolution of the first Lok Sabha. In 1957, the Government appointed a fresh committee under the chairmanship of Justice N. Rajagopala Ayyangar to study and recommend changes to the patent law in India. The committee’s recommendation on patents for food, medicine or drug along with few other changes were introduced in the Patents Bill 1965. It was re-introduced again in December, 1966 after certain amendments by the joint parliamentary committee. The bill received presidential assent on 19 September 1970. The Patent Rules was published in November 1971. The Act and the Rules came into force on 20 April 1972.

According to the World Intellectual Property (IP) Organisation, China has retained its position as the world leader in patent applications, with Chinese companies and individuals responsible for 40 per cent of all patent applications submitted last year.  China submitted 1.38 million of the total 3.17 million patent applications submitted. The numbers show that China is establishing itself as the undisputed world leader in intellectual property filings; this is the seventh year that China has led on patent applications.  This was the state of affairs until 2018 end.  

History of the Patent Agent Exam in India

Ever since the Patent Agent Exam was introduced in India, our country has produced about 4000 patent agents. Patent agents are one community that is required in huge numbers by our country, but we are not able to produce the required numbers because of many factors, the primary of it being lack of knowledge regarding the patent agent exam and related information.

India has been conducting the Patent Agent Exam from 2000 to 2008 approximately once every year, then onwards the exam is being conducted every now and then.  There have been 5 exams during the period 2009 to 2019. The last one was in 2018. This year the patent agent exam is planned for June 2020. We don’t know when the next one would be conducted.

Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions about the Patent Agent Exam in India.

Most Frequently Asked Questions About The Patent Agent Exam:

What is the Patent Agent Examination?

The Patent Agent Exam is an exam conducted by the Government of India to select professionals as Registered Patent Agents. After passing the examination, these professionals can start practising as Patent Agents. Patent Agents are very much in demand in Law firms, IP Firms, and in International companies specializing in Patents. The Patent Agents can also start practising on their own just like Lawyers and Chartered Accountants.

Who conducts the Patent Agent Examination in India?

The Patent Agent Examination in India is conducted by the Office of The Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks under the Indian Patents Office, Government of India.

When is the Patent Agent Examination usually conducted?

The Indian Patents Office does not follow any fixed frequency for conducting the Patent Agent Exam. The last exam was conducted in 2018. There was no exam in 2019. There is going to be one in 2020. You cannot predict when the next exam would be conducted.

If the applicants to the Patent Agent Exam are high in 2020, and if the Patents Office selects too many Patent Agents this year, then the next exam might be several years away – you never know! Our advice would be to give it your best shot this year and not wait for another exam.

When is the Patent Agent Examination going to be conducted in 2020?

As per the government notification, the Patent Agent Exam is going to be conducted this year on Sunday, the 28th of June 2020.

And don’t forget: The last date to register for the Patent Agent Exam in 2020 is the 15th of April 2020.

How to apply/register for the Patent Agent Exam 2020?

The registration for the Patent Agent Exam 2020 can be done online only. You may apply for the Patent Agent Exam on the ipindiaonline govt. portal. Here’s the link to apply for the exam: https://bit.ly/2WxMngh. Also, worth mentioning here is that the govt. fee for the Patent Agent Exam 2020 is Rs.1600, and can be made online at the time of application.

What is the eligibility criterion for appearing in the Patent Agent Exam conducted by Indian Patent Office? 

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

Minimum age: 21 years

Nationality: Indian

Qualification:  Minimum one science based graduation [degree in Science, Pharma, 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 regard – B.Sc., M.Sc., B. Pharm, M. Pharm, B.E, M.E, B.Tech, M.Tech, Ph.D (this list is incomplete and you need to refer to the website of the Intellectual Property of India http://www.ipindia.nic.in/ to get the complete list when the exam is notified.) 

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.

What is the syllabus for the exam? 

The syllabus for the Patent Agent Exam 2020 is pretty straightforward. It consists of two things:

The Patents Act 1970 &

The Patent Rules 2003 as amended by (Amendment) Rules, 2019

Even if you are not appearing for the Patent Agent Exam in 2020, but want to establish a career in Patent Law in India, you should know The Patents Act 1970 & The Patent Rules 2003 as amended by (Amendment) Rules, 2019.

What is the structure or pattern of the Patent Agent Exam?

The patent agent exam of 2018 had three parts.

Part 1 – Paper #1 – Total Marks: 100 and duration Two hours

This paper consists of 3 parts – Part A (60 marks), Part B (10 marks) & Part C (30 Marks).

Part A comprises of 60 marks and consists of 30 multiple choice questions with one option correct of 2 marks each.

Part B is of 10 marks and consists of true/false type questions of 1 mark each. For each question, out of four options only one option is correct. Answer should be given as a, b, c or d as given here in below: 

  1. Statement 1 is true, 2 is false 
  2. Statement 1 is false, 2 is true 
  3. Statement 1 and 2 both are false 
  4. Statement 1 and 2 both are true

Part C is of 30 marks and consists of 10 multiple choice questions of 3 marks each with more than one option correct (at least two options correct).

Part 2 – Paper #2 – Total Marks: 100 and duration Two hours

This paper consists of 3 parts -Part A (20 marks), Part B (30 marks) & Part C (50 Marks).

All questions in Part A and B are compulsory. 

Part C comprises Part C1 of 20 Marks and C2 of 30 Marks, Part C1 consists of 2 

questions and the candidates is required to answer any 1 of them, Part C2 consists of 2 questions and the candidate is required to answer any 1 of them.

Part 3 – Viva-voce examination

This will be based on what you know about patents and your domain knowledge.

Is the Patent Agent Examination a paper based exam or an online exam?

The Patent Agent Examination is a paper based exam.

What is the salary range that Patent Agents can expect after clearing the Patent Agent Examination?

As per the website payscale.com, the average salary of a Patent Agent in India is Rs.5 lakhs per annum – as of March 2020. Depending on your qualification and experience, your salary could go upto 20 lakhs per annum & beyond.

What is the last date to register for the Patent Agent Examination 2020?

The last date to register for the Patent Agent Examination 2020 is the 15th of April 2020, 05:30 pm.

What is the fees to register for the Patent Agent Examination in 2020?

The fees to register for the Patent Agent Examination is Rs.1600. This amount has to be remitted online along with the online application. There is no offline mode of application.

Patent Agent Exam Training Courses

If you are looking for some coaching for the Patent Agent Exam 2020, then let’s take a look at some of our courses. All our courses are online and can be taken at the comfort of your home or office.

FREE Introduction to Patent Law

We have a free course: Introduction to Patent Law: http://www.lexcampus.in/courses/introduction-to-patent-law-course/

The topics covered in the free introduction to Patent Law course are —

  1. Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights
  2. Patent Prosecution
  3. Why Protect IP?
  4. Fundamentals of Patents
  5. Patent Law in India
  6. What can be patented?
  7. Patentability
  8. Patent Timeline
  9. Statutory Amendments
  10. Structure of Patents Act and Rules
  11. Patent Manual
  12. Life of a Patent

Patent Agent Examination Training Course: Paper 1 – Patents Act and Rules


This course is structured keeping in mind Paper-I and parts of Paper-II of the Patent Agent Examination conducted by the Intellectual Property Office, Government of India. Now, learning IP law is made easy for beginners with no background to IP. The lectures are arranged so that incremental understanding of concepts happen after every lecture.  When a particular provision is explained, the appropriate forms and sections are displayed. Patent law involves a lot of complexity with multiple cross references to various sections and rules. The course has made this easier by bringing in and explaining the corresponding provisions with cross references.

These are the topics covered in our Paper 1 course:

Introduction to Patent Law

  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Rights
  • Patent Prosecution
  • Why Protect IP?
  • Fundamentals of Patents
  • Patent Law in India
  • What can be patented?
  • Patentability

Understanding the Patents Act

  • Patent Timeline
  • Statutory Amendments
  • Structure of Patents Act and Rules
  • Patent Manual
  • Life of a Patent
  • Extent and Commencement of Patents Act
  • Definition clause of Patents Act
  • Need for special definitions
  • Meaning of Prescribed
  • Definition clause of patent rules

Exceptions to Patentability

  • Invention Contrary to Natural Laws
  • Invention Contrary to Public Order
  • Discoveries are not inventions
  • Section 3(d)
  • Admixtures are not Inventions
  • Arrangement of known devices are not inventions
  • Method of Agriculture and Treatment not Inventions
  • Plants and Animals not Inventions
  • Business Methods and Software not Inventions
  • Literary Works, Scheme, Presentations not Inventions
  • Traditional Knowledge not Invention
  • Logic Behind Section 3(d)
  • Atomic Energy Inventions


  • Definition of Novelty
  • Definition of Anticipation
  • Determining Novelty
  • Disclosure and Anticipation
  • Exceptions to Anticipation
  • Anticipation by previous publication
  • Anticipation by previous communication to Government
  • Anticipation by public display etc.
  • Anticipation by public working
  • Anticipation by publication of provisional specification

Inventive Step and Utility

  • Inventive Step: Introduction
  • Inventive Step vs Novelty
  • Understanding Inventive Step
  • Inventive Step Problem and Solution Approach
  • Inventive Step Windsurfing Approach
  • Secondary Indication of Inventiveness
  • Capable of Industrial Application
  • Person Skilled in the Art

Patent Specifications

  • Patent Specification
  • Provisional and Complete
  • Contents of Specifications
  • Rule 13 Specifications
  • Rule 14 Amendments to Specifications
  • Drawings and Models
  • Structure of a Patent Specification
  • Reading a Patent Specification
  • Length of a Patent
  • Parts of Specification
  • Introduction to Patent Drafting Provisional
  • Specification
  • Introduction to Patent Drafting Complete Specification

Patent Applications

  • Who can Apply for a Patent
  • Form of Application
  • Undertaking Regarding Foreign Application
  • Patent Application Making What to Include and Types
  • Powers of Controller : Generally
  • Patents of Addition
  • Priority Dates

Publication and Examination of Applications

  • Publication of Application
  • Request for Examination
  • Examination of Application
  • Expedited Examination of Application
  • Search for Anticipation
  • Procedure in Case of Anticipation
  • Consideration of Report of Examiner
  • Refuse Require Amendment and Division of Applications
  • Dating of Application and Anticipation
  • Potential Infringement
  • Orders Regarding Substitution of Applicants
  • Putting Applications in Order for Grant
  • Amendments During Prosecution

Opposition, Secrecy, and Grant

  • Introduction to Opposition to Grant of Patents
  • Pre Grant Opposition
  • Post Grant Opposition
  • Obtained Inventions
  • Mention of Inventor
  • Opposition in General
  • Secrecy Provisions
  • Grant of Patents
  • Rights Conferred by Grant
  • Rights of Co-owner of Patents
  • Direction to Co-owners
  • Patent obtained by Fraud of True and First Inventor
    Term of Patent
  • Restoration of Lapsed Patents

Surrender, Revocation, and Patent Office

  • Surrender of Patents
  • Revocation of Patents
  • Register of Patents
  • Patent Office and its Establishment

Patent Agent, Government Use, and Penalties

  • Patent Agents
  • Use and Acquisition by Government
  • Penalties

Compulsory Licensing

  • Introduction to Compulsory Licensing
  • Working of Patents
  • Compulsory Licenses
  • Revocation of Patents
  • Powers of Controller
  • Licensing of Related Patents
  • Compulsory License on Notification by Central Government
  • Compulsory License for Export of Pharma Products
  • Termination of Compulsory License, Related Rules

IPAB, Infringement, and International Arrangements

  • Intellectual Property Appellate Board
  • Infringement Suits & Defences
  • Reliefs in Suits for Infringement
  • Declaration as to Non-Infringement
  • Groundless threat of Infringement Proceedings
  • Certificate of Validity
  • Scientific Advisors
  • International Arrangements
  • Miscellaneous
  • Fees

Patent Agent Examination Training Course:  Paper 2 – Patent Drafting


This course is structured keeping in mind the Paper-II of the Patent Agent Examination conducted by the Intellectual Property Office, Government of India. Like a good craftsman who understands his tool better, learn the nuances of drafting with simple norms and rules to keep in mind while drafting a patent.

Regardless of your skill and command in your domain, drafting a patent needs special attention as patents are instruments created at the interface of technology and law. It involves legal principles. That makes patent drafting much different from technical writing. But like any skill, patent drafting can be acquired with hard work and perfected with practice.

These are the lessons and topics we cover in our Paper 2 of the Patent Agent Exam course:


  • What are Inventions
  • Background
  • Field of Invention
  • Prior Art
  • Patent Classification
  • Technical Advance
  • What are not Inventions
  • Why People Invent


  • How Inventions Look
  • Where to look for Inventions
  • How to Catch an Invention
  • Getting a Working Disclosure
  • Searching with the disclosure
  • Outcome of Search

Patentability Search

  • What Is Patentability Search
  • Reasons for Ordering Patentability Search
  • When A Patentability Search is Not Needed
  • How To Order A Patentability Search
  • Limits of Patentability Search
  • Patentability Search Report

Problem-Solution Statement

  • How to Pitch an Invention
  • Identifying the Inventive Concept
  • Problem Solution Statement


  • Problem Solution to Claim
  • How to Search for a Granted Patent
  • Provisions Relating to Claim
  • Some Exceptions to Patentability
  • Structure of Claims
  • Preamble
  • Transition
  • Body
  • Form and Punctuation
  • Omnibus Claims
  • Structural and Functional Definitions
  • Cooperation

Types of Claims

  • Types of Claims
  • Dependent Claims
  • Apparatus Claims
  • Method or Process Claims
  • Claim Drafting Best Practice
  • Claim Drafting What to Avoid
  • How to Download Copy of Patent Specification
  • Amendment to Claim
  • Claim Analysis


  • Introduction to Specification Drafting
  • Enabling Disclosure
  • Best Method
  • Parts of the Specification
  • Background & Summary
  • Detailed Description
  • Parts of the Application
  • Evolution of Patent Specification

Patent Agent Exam Practice Course – 25 Revision Tests & 4 Mock Exams


This course comprises of a series of tests designed to provide revision practice before taking the Patent Agent Examination.

These tests cover the syllabus of both Paper 1 and Paper 2. This course can be effectively used with study strategies like self-quizzingspaced practiced and interleaving.

Our Revision Tests & Mock Exams are so comprehensive that if you answer all the questions covered in these, then you have a very high chance of clearing the Paper 1 and Paper 2 of the Patent Agent Exam.


Patent Agent Exam Training Courses


FREE Patents Act Book – 2020 Edition – PDF version in Bi-Colour

Patents Act 1970 – FREE Download – Bi-Colour Version – 2020 Edition – Fully updated with Patent Amendments 2019

Patents Act 1970 – Patent Law Handbook











Last date to apply for the Patent Agent Exam 2020: 15 April 2020

Date of the Patent Agent Exam 2020: 28 June 2020

Official link to apply for the Patent Agent Exam 2020: https://bit.ly/2WxMngh.

As soon as you leave this page, don’t forget to apply for the Patent Agent Exam 2020. This is your best chance. And we wish you the very best!

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Firstly it changed the approach of looking at the subject. At the first instance bare act seemed dry. The lecture series actually explained 'why' of the topic and statutes. Which helped in understanding the way the things are .

Nachiket Galgali

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