Maybe Patent Agents Were Needed In Puerto Rico.

It’s a short trip from S. Florida to Puerto Rico, but what’s there to do there. You could stroll a white sand beach along Playa Brava, or spend eight hours at the Univ. P.R. – Mayaguez making an illicit copy of a standardized exam. The defaulting defendant in National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying v. Cameron-Ortiz, 2009 WL 1674768 (D.Puerto Rico June 16, 2009) chose the latter.

To sit for the patent bar exam, the OED requires an engineering degree, or credit hours in pure sciences and math, and then, there are Category C applicants. To be Cat. C, anĀ applicant must pass the FE exam, but that is not easy. Defendant Cameron-Ortiz may, or may not, have planned to spawn a horde of new patent agents, but she did sit for the FE planning to copy the entire test. As the decision notes, the exam proctors suspected copying, and “a search of her jacket and bag” found “recording and transmitter devices … sewn into the pockets of her jacket and her bag, including: (1) a wireless audio/video transmitter module with a built-in microphone, (2) a mini video camera, (3) a receiver, (4) a pocket video recorder, (5) a cradle used to connect to a TV or computer with audio/video input, and (6) two battery packs … to power the equipment …[which] allowed Cameron-Ortiz to copy, transmit, duplicate, and otherwise reproduce the contents of the exam.”

The FE exam is copyrighted, but not in the public domain, because of a regulatory exception for registering a “secure test.” 37 C.F.R. 202.20. As a consequence of the infringement, NCEES “retired one copyrighted exam form, and a portion of another copyrighted exam form.” Damages allowed by statute were based “upon the cost of replacing the test questions” which resulted in an award “total of $1,021,630.80 in actual damages, plus “costs and attorney’s fees.”

So, in this week of federal court awards of non-recoupable copyright damages, the RIAA leads the NCEES by several hundred thou.