Administrative Updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration To Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 15467-15469 [2021-05940]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 54 / Tuesday, March 23, 2021 / Notices expansion of existing technologies and supporting the country’s homeland security, national defense, and other critical needs of government missions. NTIA will post a detailed agenda on its website, http://www.ntia.gov/category/ csmac, prior to the meeting. To the extent that the meeting time and agenda permit, any member of the public may address the Committee regarding the agenda items. See Open Meeting and Public Participation Policy, available at http://www.ntia.gov/category/csmac. Time and Date: The meeting will be held on April 8, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EDT. The meeting time and the agenda topics are subject to change. Please refer to NTIA’s website, http:// www.ntia.gov/category/csmac, for the most up-to-date meeting agenda and access information. Place: This meeting will be conducted in an electronic format and open to the public via audio teleconference. Individuals requiring accommodations are asked to notify Mr. Richardson at (202) 482–4156 or arichardson@ntia.gov at least ten (10) business days before the meeting. Status: Interested parties are invited to join the teleconference and to submit written comments to the Committee at any time before or after the meeting. Parties wishing to submit written comments for consideration by the Committee in advance of the meeting are strongly encouraged to submit their comments in Microsoft Word and/or PDF format via electronic mail to arichardson@ntia.gov. Comments may also be sent via postal mail to Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4600, Washington, DC 20230. It would be helpful if paper submissions also include a compact disc (CD) that contains the comments in one or both of the file formats specified above. CDs should be labeled with the name and organizational affiliation of the filer. Comments must be received five (5) business days before the scheduled meeting date in order to provide sufficient time for review. Comments received after this date will be distributed to the Committee, but may not be reviewed prior to the meeting. Additionally, please note that there may be a delay in the distribution of comments submitted via postal mail to Committee members. Records: NTIA maintains records of all Committee proceedings. Committee records are available for public inspection at NTIA’s Washington, DC office at the address above. Documents including the Committee’s charter, VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:45 Mar 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 member list, agendas, minutes, and reports are available on NTIA’s website at http://www.ntia.gov/category/csmac. Dated: March 18, 2021. Kathy Smith, Chief Counsel, National Telecommunications and Information Administration. [FR Doc. 2021–05976 Filed 3–22–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–60–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No. PTO–P–2021–0005] Administrative Updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration To Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Request for comments. AGENCY: This request for comments seeks public input on proposed administrative updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (GRB). There are three categories of technical and scientific qualifications that may typically make applicants eligible: Category A for specified bachelor’s degrees, Category B for other bachelor’s degrees with technical and scientific training, and Category C for practical engineering or scientific experience, which may be demonstrated by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering test. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) evaluates the criteria for applicants to sit for the registration examination on an ongoing basis. Based on this ongoing evaluation, the USPTO is looking into changing the criteria to: Add common Category B degrees to Category A, accept advanced degrees (i.e., master’s and doctoral degrees) under Category A, and accept a combination of core sciences under Category B, Options 2 and 4, so long as one of the core science courses has a lab component. DATES: Comment Deadline Date: Written comments must be received on or before May 24, 2021. ADDRESSES: For reasons of government efficiency, comments must be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the portal, one should SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15467 enter docket number PTO–P–2021–0005 on the homepage and click ‘‘Search.’’ The site will provide search results listing all documents associated with this docket. Commenters can find a reference to this notice and click on the ‘‘Comment’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach their comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in portable document format (PDF) or DOCX format. Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that the submitter does not desire to make public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the comments. Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal for additional instructions on providing comments via the portal. If electronic submission of and access to comments is not feasible due to a lack of access to a computer and/or the internet, please contact the USPTO using the contact information below for special instructions. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Covey, OED Director, by telephone at 571–272–4097 or by email at oed@uspto.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Summary In this request for comments, the Office seeks feedback and information regarding proposed administrative updates to the GRB to the criteria of applicants who sit for the registration examination. Background The Director of the USPTO is given statutory authority to require a showing by patent practitioners that they possess ‘‘the necessary qualifications to render applicants or other persons valuable service, advice, and assistance in the presentation or prosecution of their applications or other business before the Office.’’ 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(D). Thus, courts have determined that the USPTO Director bears primary responsibility for protecting the public from unqualified practitioners. Pursuant to that responsibility, USPTO regulations provide that registration to practice in patent matters before the USPTO requires a practitioner to, inter alia, demonstrate possession of scientific and technical qualifications.1 The role of patent 1 Legal representation before Federal agencies is generally governed by the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 500, which effectively defers to the individual States as to who may act as an attorney. That statute, however, provides a specific exception for representation in patent matters before the USPTO. E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM Continued 23MRN1 15468 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 54 / Tuesday, March 23, 2021 / Notices practitioners with scientific and technical backgrounds in providing full and clear patent specifications and claims has long been acknowledged. The USPTO publishes the GRB that sets forth guidance for establishing possession of scientific and technical qualifications. The GRB is available at www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/ documents/OED_GRB.pdf. The GRB lists three categories of scientific and technical qualifications that typically make one eligible for admission to the registration examination: (1) Category A for specified bachelor’s degrees, (2) Category B for other bachelor’s degrees with technical and scientific training, and (3) Category C for individuals who rely on practical engineering or scientific experience and have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering test. If a candidate for registration does not qualify under any of the categories listed in the GRB, the USPTO will conduct an independent review for compliance with the scientific and technical qualifications. The OED has evaluated, and continues to evaluate, the list of typically qualifying training set forth in the GRB. These evaluations seek to clarify guidance on what will satisfy the scientific and technical qualifications and to identify possible areas of improved administrative efficiency. The following proposals reflect the results of those evaluations. Request for Public Comments The Office seeks written comments from the public on proposed administrative updates to the GRB for those who sit for the registration examination. The goal of the proposed updates is to ensure fairness in the application process while also ensuring that patent practitioners who represent inventors are qualified, understand the technology, and are able to communicate effectively with inventors regarding the technical features of the invention. The Office welcomes any comments from the public on the proposals covered in this notice. The Office also poses specific questions below and invites public feedback on those questions. Proposal 1: Add Common Category B Degrees to Category A As explained further in the GRB, bachelor’s degrees listed under Category A present prima facie evidence of the requisite technical and scientific 5 U.S.C. 500(e). See 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(D) [formerly 35 U.S.C. 31]. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:45 Mar 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 qualifications. Currently, the bachelor’s degree may be in one of the following subjects: Biology, biochemistry, botany, computer science, electronics technology, food technology, general chemistry, marine technology, microbiology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, pharmacology, physics, textile technology, aeronautical engineering, agricultural engineering, biomedical engineering, ceramic engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, electrochemical engineering, engineering physics, general engineering, geological engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgical engineering, mining engineering, nuclear engineering, and petroleum engineering. Acceptable computer science degrees must be accredited by the Computer Science Accreditation Commission of the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board or by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology on or before the date the degree was awarded. Starting in early 2020, the OED undertook a review of Category B applications to identify bachelor’s degrees that are routinely accepted as demonstrating the requisite scientific and technical qualifications. This review is ongoing. Based on the analysis to date, and understanding that Category A cannot be an exhaustive list of all degrees that would qualify and that current practice is to accept degrees wherein the transcript demonstrates equivalence to a Category A degree (for example, molecular cell biology may be equivalent to biology), the Office proposes expanding the list of Category A degrees to expressly include the following degrees that are routinely accepted: Aerospace engineering, bioengineering, biological science, biophysics, electronics engineering, genetic engineering, genetics, marine engineering, materials engineering, materials science, neuroscience, ocean engineering, and textile engineering. Listing these Category B degrees under Category A would improve operating efficiency and streamline the application process for prospective patent practitioners. The USPTO invites comments on the inclusion of any of these degrees in Category A, as well as any additional degrees that should be considered. Proposal 2: Accept Advanced Degrees Under Category A Category A does not currently include post-baccalaureate degrees. The USPTO PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 proposes updating the GRB to list possession of a master’s or a doctoral degree in a Category A subject as demonstrating acceptable technical and scientific training. The USPTO invites comment on whether to include master’s or doctoral degrees in a Category A subject as qualifying technical and scientific training. Proposal 3: Accept a Combination of Core Sciences Under Category B, Option 4 Category B, Option 4 in the GRB requires a combination of 40 credit hours in acceptable technical and scientific courses, including at least 8 hours in either chemistry with a lab or 8 hours in physics with a lab. Category B, Option 2, which focuses on training in biology and related sciences, has a similar requirement. The requirement for lab-based core science courses is meant to ensure familiarity with the processes involved in conducting valid experiments, the scientific method, and proper analysis of scientific data. However, it is not clear whether multiple courses in either chemistry or physics alone, with a lab, provide an appreciable benefit over general core science training. Accordingly, the USPTO proposes revising Category B, Option 4 by changing ‘‘8 semester hours in chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics . . . obtained in two sequential courses, each containing a lab’’ to ‘‘eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry, physics, and/or biology, with at least one course including a lab.’’ Category B, Option 2, which already requires training in biology, would be revised to require at least ‘‘eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry and physics, with at least one course including a lab.’’ The USPTO invites comments on whether to change the requirement under Category B, Option 4 from two sequential courses in chemistry or physics, each containing a lab, to that of eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry, physics, and/ or biology, with at least one course including a lab, and whether to change the similar requirement under Category B, Option 2 to eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry and physics, with at least one course including a lab. Questions Regarding Administrative Updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration To Practice in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office As noted above, the Office welcomes comments from the public on any portion of the proposed updates to the E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 54 / Tuesday, March 23, 2021 / Notices General Requirements Bulletin for registration to practice in patent matters. The Office is particularly interested in the public’s input on the following questions: 1. What additional degrees should qualify under Category A? 2. Should the USPTO include master’s or doctoral degrees in a Category A subject as qualifying technical and scientific training? 3. Should the USPTO change the Category B requirement of two sequential courses in chemistry or physics, each containing a lab to that of eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry, physics, and/or biology, with at least one course including a lab for Option 4; and to eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry and physics, with at least one course including a lab for Option 2? Andrew Hirshfeld, Commissioner for Patents, Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. [FR Doc. 2021–05940 Filed 3–22–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–16–P CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION: Alberta E. Mills, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, 301–504–7479 (Office) or 240–863–8938 (Cell). Dated: March 18, 2021. Alberta E. Mills, Commission Secretary. [FR Doc. 2021–06017 Filed 3–19–21; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6355–01–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System [Docket Number DARS–2020–0047; OMB Control Number 0750–0003] Information Collection Requirement; Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Requests for Reimbursement Under Section 3610 of the CARES Act Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Defense Acquisition Regulations System has submitted to OMB for clearance, the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act. DATES: Consideration will be given to all comments received by April 22, 2021. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title and OMB Number: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), Requests for Reimbursement under Section 3610 of the CARES Act; OMB Control Number 0750–0003. Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved collection. Obligation to Respond: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profit and not-for-profit institutions. Number of Respondents: 16,224. Responses per Respondent: 1.5 approximately. Annual Responses: 24,337. Average Burden per Response: 63 hours approximately. Annual Burden Hours: 1,523,053. Reporting Frequency: On occasion. Needs and Uses: Section 3610 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Pub. L. 116–136), enacted on March 27, 2020, authorizes, but does not require, contracting officers to modify contracts and other agreements, without consideration, to reimburse contractors for paid leave a SUMMARY: CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meeting Notices Thursday, March 25, 2021, 10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m. PLACE: Due to the COVID–19 Pandemic, the meetings will be held remotely. STATUS: Commission Meeting—Open to the Public. MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED: Decisional Matters: Notice of Availability—Proposed Guidance for Industry and Test Method Developers: CPSC Staff Evaluation of Alternative Test Methods and Integrated Testing Approaches and Data Generated from Such Methods to Support FHSA Labeling Requirements FY 2021 Mid-Year Review All attendees should preregister for the Webinar. To pre-register for the Webinar, please visit: https:// attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/ 3191636378501841677. TIME AND DATE: Thursday, March 25, 2021; 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. PLACE: Due to the COVID–19 Pandemic, this meeting will be held remotely. STATUS: Commission Meeting—Closed to the Public. MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED: Decisional matter. TIME AND DATE: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:45 Mar 22, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15469 contractor provides to keep its employees or subcontractors in a ready state, including to protect the life and safety of Government and contractor personnel, during the public health emergency declared for Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19). A contractor request for reimbursement under section 3610 must include sufficient documentation to support the request and enable the contracting officer to determine whether a contractor is eligible for reimbursement under section 3610 and, if so, the amount of reimbursement to provide to a contractor. Contractors’ requests for reimbursement under section 3610 will vary in dollar amount and complexity; as such, so will the amount and type of information needed from a contractor to support their reimbursement request. Based on this variation, contracting officers will use one of three DoD reimbursement checklists to advise contractors of the information needed to support their request. The information described in the checklists is necessary to collect from contractors in order to ensure that contracting officers are able to determine whether to approve the request for reimbursement and expediently modify the affected contract(s) for the authorized reimbursement amount. Section 3610 also requires that any reimbursements made under its authority are reduced by the amount of credit a contractor is allowed under other provisions of the CARES Act and division G of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (Pub. L. 116–127). As the status of such credits may not be known at the time of reimbursement, DFARS clause 252.243– 7999, Section 3610 Reimbursement (Deviation 2020–O0021), requires contractors to notify the contracting officer of any credits received after receiving reimbursement under section 3610 and make any repayment, as necessary, to comply with the requirements of section 3610. This information is necessary so that contracting officers may comply with the provisions of section 3610. Comments and recommendations on the proposed information collection should be sent to Ms. Susan Minson, DoD Desk Officer, at Oira_submission@ omb.eop.gov. Please identify the proposed information collection by DoD Desk Officer and the Docket ID number and title of the information collection. You may also submit comments, identified by docket number and title, by the following method: Federal eRulemaking Portal: https:// E:\FR\FM\23MRN1.SGM 23MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 54 (Tuesday, March 23, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 15467-15469]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-05940]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-P-2021-0005]


Administrative Updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for 
Admission to the Examination for Registration To Practice in Patent 
Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of 
Commerce.

ACTION: Request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This request for comments seeks public input on proposed 
administrative updates to the General Requirements Bulletin for 
Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent 
Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (GRB). There 
are three categories of technical and scientific qualifications that 
may typically make applicants eligible: Category A for specified 
bachelor's degrees, Category B for other bachelor's degrees with 
technical and scientific training, and Category C for practical 
engineering or scientific experience, which may be demonstrated by 
passing the Fundamentals of Engineering test. The United States Patent 
and Trademark Office (Office or USPTO) evaluates the criteria for 
applicants to sit for the registration examination on an ongoing basis. 
Based on this ongoing evaluation, the USPTO is looking into changing 
the criteria to: Add common Category B degrees to Category A, accept 
advanced degrees (i.e., master's and doctoral degrees) under Category 
A, and accept a combination of core sciences under Category B, Options 
2 and 4, so long as one of the core science courses has a lab 
component.

DATES: Comment Deadline Date: Written comments must be received on or 
before May 24, 2021.

ADDRESSES: For reasons of government efficiency, comments must be 
submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at 
www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the portal, one should 
enter docket number PTO-P-2021-0005 on the homepage and click 
``Search.'' The site will provide search results listing all documents 
associated with this docket. Commenters can find a reference to this 
notice and click on the ``Comment'' icon, complete the required fields, 
and enter or attach their comments. Attachments to electronic comments 
will be accepted in portable document format (PDF) or DOCX format. 
Because comments will be made available for public inspection, 
information that the submitter does not desire to make public, such as 
an address or phone number, should not be included in the comments.
    Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal for additional instructions on 
providing comments via the portal. If electronic submission of and 
access to comments is not feasible due to a lack of access to a 
computer and/or the internet, please contact the USPTO using the 
contact information below for special instructions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William Covey, OED Director, by 
telephone at 571-272-4097 or by email at [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Summary

    In this request for comments, the Office seeks feedback and 
information regarding proposed administrative updates to the GRB to the 
criteria of applicants who sit for the registration examination.

Background

    The Director of the USPTO is given statutory authority to require a 
showing by patent practitioners that they possess ``the necessary 
qualifications to render applicants or other persons valuable service, 
advice, and assistance in the presentation or prosecution of their 
applications or other business before the Office.'' 35 U.S.C. 
2(b)(2)(D). Thus, courts have determined that the USPTO Director bears 
primary responsibility for protecting the public from unqualified 
practitioners.
    Pursuant to that responsibility, USPTO regulations provide that 
registration to practice in patent matters before the USPTO requires a 
practitioner to, inter alia, demonstrate possession of scientific and 
technical qualifications.\1\ The role of patent

[[Page 15468]]

practitioners with scientific and technical backgrounds in providing 
full and clear patent specifications and claims has long been 
acknowledged. The USPTO publishes the GRB that sets forth guidance for 
establishing possession of scientific and technical qualifications. The 
GRB is available at www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/OED_GRB.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Legal representation before Federal agencies is generally 
governed by the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 500, which effectively defers 
to the individual States as to who may act as an attorney. That 
statute, however, provides a specific exception for representation 
in patent matters before the USPTO. 5 U.S.C. 500(e). See 35 U.S.C. 
2(b)(2)(D) [formerly 35 U.S.C. 31].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The GRB lists three categories of scientific and technical 
qualifications that typically make one eligible for admission to the 
registration examination: (1) Category A for specified bachelor's 
degrees, (2) Category B for other bachelor's degrees with technical and 
scientific training, and (3) Category C for individuals who rely on 
practical engineering or scientific experience and have passed the 
Fundamentals of Engineering test. If a candidate for registration does 
not qualify under any of the categories listed in the GRB, the USPTO 
will conduct an independent review for compliance with the scientific 
and technical qualifications.
    The OED has evaluated, and continues to evaluate, the list of 
typically qualifying training set forth in the GRB. These evaluations 
seek to clarify guidance on what will satisfy the scientific and 
technical qualifications and to identify possible areas of improved 
administrative efficiency. The following proposals reflect the results 
of those evaluations.

Request for Public Comments

    The Office seeks written comments from the public on proposed 
administrative updates to the GRB for those who sit for the 
registration examination. The goal of the proposed updates is to ensure 
fairness in the application process while also ensuring that patent 
practitioners who represent inventors are qualified, understand the 
technology, and are able to communicate effectively with inventors 
regarding the technical features of the invention.
    The Office welcomes any comments from the public on the proposals 
covered in this notice. The Office also poses specific questions below 
and invites public feedback on those questions.

Proposal 1: Add Common Category B Degrees to Category A

    As explained further in the GRB, bachelor's degrees listed under 
Category A present prima facie evidence of the requisite technical and 
scientific qualifications. Currently, the bachelor's degree may be in 
one of the following subjects: Biology, biochemistry, botany, computer 
science, electronics technology, food technology, general chemistry, 
marine technology, microbiology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, 
pharmacology, physics, textile technology, aeronautical engineering, 
agricultural engineering, biomedical engineering, ceramic engineering, 
chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, 
electrical engineering, electrochemical engineering, engineering 
physics, general engineering, geological engineering, industrial 
engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgical engineering, mining 
engineering, nuclear engineering, and petroleum engineering.
    Acceptable computer science degrees must be accredited by the 
Computer Science Accreditation Commission of the Computing Sciences 
Accreditation Board or by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the 
Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology on or before the 
date the degree was awarded.
    Starting in early 2020, the OED undertook a review of Category B 
applications to identify bachelor's degrees that are routinely accepted 
as demonstrating the requisite scientific and technical qualifications. 
This review is ongoing. Based on the analysis to date, and 
understanding that Category A cannot be an exhaustive list of all 
degrees that would qualify and that current practice is to accept 
degrees wherein the transcript demonstrates equivalence to a Category A 
degree (for example, molecular cell biology may be equivalent to 
biology), the Office proposes expanding the list of Category A degrees 
to expressly include the following degrees that are routinely accepted: 
Aerospace engineering, bioengineering, biological science, biophysics, 
electronics engineering, genetic engineering, genetics, marine 
engineering, materials engineering, materials science, neuroscience, 
ocean engineering, and textile engineering. Listing these Category B 
degrees under Category A would improve operating efficiency and 
streamline the application process for prospective patent 
practitioners. The USPTO invites comments on the inclusion of any of 
these degrees in Category A, as well as any additional degrees that 
should be considered.

Proposal 2: Accept Advanced Degrees Under Category A

    Category A does not currently include post-baccalaureate degrees. 
The USPTO proposes updating the GRB to list possession of a master's or 
a doctoral degree in a Category A subject as demonstrating acceptable 
technical and scientific training. The USPTO invites comment on whether 
to include master's or doctoral degrees in a Category A subject as 
qualifying technical and scientific training.

Proposal 3: Accept a Combination of Core Sciences Under Category B, 
Option 4

    Category B, Option 4 in the GRB requires a combination of 40 credit 
hours in acceptable technical and scientific courses, including at 
least 8 hours in either chemistry with a lab or 8 hours in physics with 
a lab. Category B, Option 2, which focuses on training in biology and 
related sciences, has a similar requirement. The requirement for lab-
based core science courses is meant to ensure familiarity with the 
processes involved in conducting valid experiments, the scientific 
method, and proper analysis of scientific data.
    However, it is not clear whether multiple courses in either 
chemistry or physics alone, with a lab, provide an appreciable benefit 
over general core science training. Accordingly, the USPTO proposes 
revising Category B, Option 4 by changing ``8 semester hours in 
chemistry or 8 semester hours of physics . . . obtained in two 
sequential courses, each containing a lab'' to ``eight semester hours 
in a combination of chemistry, physics, and/or biology, with at least 
one course including a lab.'' Category B, Option 2, which already 
requires training in biology, would be revised to require at least 
``eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry and physics, with 
at least one course including a lab.'' The USPTO invites comments on 
whether to change the requirement under Category B, Option 4 from two 
sequential courses in chemistry or physics, each containing a lab, to 
that of eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry, physics, 
and/or biology, with at least one course including a lab, and whether 
to change the similar requirement under Category B, Option 2 to eight 
semester hours in a combination of chemistry and physics, with at least 
one course including a lab.

Questions Regarding Administrative Updates to the General Requirements 
Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration To Practice 
in Patent Cases Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office

    As noted above, the Office welcomes comments from the public on any 
portion of the proposed updates to the

[[Page 15469]]

General Requirements Bulletin for registration to practice in patent 
matters. The Office is particularly interested in the public's input on 
the following questions:
    1. What additional degrees should qualify under Category A?
    2. Should the USPTO include master's or doctoral degrees in a 
Category A subject as qualifying technical and scientific training?
    3. Should the USPTO change the Category B requirement of two 
sequential courses in chemistry or physics, each containing a lab to 
that of eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry, physics, 
and/or biology, with at least one course including a lab for Option 4; 
and to eight semester hours in a combination of chemistry and physics, 
with at least one course including a lab for Option 2?

Andrew Hirshfeld,
Commissioner for Patents, Performing the Functions and Duties of the 
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2021-05940 Filed 3-22-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-16-P