In a circular (30/2014) of 30 October, the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, Asa Kling, announced that under authority divestd to him by the Minister of Justice, the top 20% of graduating students from a recognized masters’ program in intelectual property law will not have to sit the Oral exam to qualify as an Israel patent attorney, provided that the syllabus of the degree program covers all aspects of IP Law. Candidates will still have to gain practical experience working under a licensed practioner and will have to pass the written exam which tests patent drafting ability.
I am a little unhappy with a decision to recognize a percentage of candidates. I believe that the qualification should be based on objective standards and not on relative ability. That said, I am sure that a dedicated academic course covering the material will be better preparation for the profession than ad hoc study. One wonders if in the past, oral examiners have worked to unwritten guidelines to allow only the top 20% of candidates. This seems to be about the pass rate. One hopes not.
I suspect this decision may be more effective in promoting such masters programs than in changing the knowledge and ability of new practitioners.