long-time USPTO patent examiner here .... Ask me anything

I'll try to answer everything you want to know about PTO as stuckingov03/15/13
Are you an attorney? How much did you make when you first enwanka03/15/13
I have a JD. I went to night school for 4 years while workinstuckingov03/15/13
I am a patent attorney, 3rd year associate, at a boutique IPnho1605/06/13
Yes, there are part-time examiners. But I'm not sure they histuckingov05/07/13
I will have my JD soon. I am considering becoming a patent eimpactwave05/13/13
I guess no1 knows the anwer.impactwave05/25/13
I have a degree in BSEET from Devry. Will the PTO hire me? Imrsrpd2408/09/13
Yes - I found out that you can be hired as an EE Patent Exammrsrpd2409/02/14
I was just "selected" and have several questions. 1. I hengineernotjd10/06/13
stuckingov, I ran across the forum but see that there haslucylew07/30/14
Do you think the current round of hiring will be substantialmaxwell03/15/13
I know someone that was hired without a science background (wanka03/15/13
Impossible to get hired as a patent examiner without a scienmaxwell03/15/13
Well s/he just got hired and the background isn't in sciencewanka03/15/13
I think the position deals with Trademarks (based on linkediwanka03/15/13
The requirements to be minimally qualified are publicly avaimaxwell03/15/13
Aight...wanka03/15/13
Maybe she examines design patents.patentesq03/16/13
I really have no idea how the current round of hiring will gstuckingov03/15/13
Is the work pretty boring? Like diagrams of new chips? Or iteject03/15/13
Examiners are placed in a specific technology area and tend stuckingov03/15/13
how smart "sharp" need one be to keep the job as a EE examiasstvillageidiot03/15/13
Currently, the minimum GPA is 3.0maxwell03/15/13
To keep a job as an examiner, you need to be a good writer/cstuckingov03/15/13
As an examiner, does it bother you to get a reply, lets say maxwell03/15/13
doesn't make a bit of difference either way ... most 103 issstuckingov03/15/13
I've encounter some really, really rude examiners. Some speimoothereforeim03/15/13
The prevalence of non-native English speakers is a big problstuckingov03/15/13
Still better than DMV..IMOimpactwave05/13/13
Do Trademark Examiners really treat new applications based oeverywherethebezzle03/15/13
I'm sorry, I can't help you with that. I literally know zerostuckingov03/15/13
What good are you :)everywherethebezzle03/15/13
Ha! Patents > TMs any day of the week!stuckingov03/15/13
When with the USPTO begin to make a real effort to reject pajeffm03/15/13
wow, I don't have enough hours in the day to answer with questuckingov03/15/13
stuckingov you know way more than me, but in my experience, maxwell03/15/13
okay, yeah, every app gets published nowadays, unless it is stuckingov03/15/13
Right, but just because it does not seem commercially viablemaxwell03/15/13
Yeah, commercial viability is irrelevant to patenting somethstuckingov03/15/13
Ah, any comment on tomorrow's shift to first-to-file and howcynicalobserver03/15/13
I don't think it will affect much of anything as far as workstuckingov03/15/13
1. What percentage of Examiners are JDs and has this amount malletofmalice03/15/13
1. I would say under 5% and I have no idea how that number hstuckingov03/15/13
Great thread! Thanks stuckingov.admin03/15/13
Agreed. Great thread.tttjd03/15/13
How about applying for an IPR judge position? What kind of imoothereforeim03/15/13
Honestly, I don't know. Pat attys with former PTO experiencestuckingov03/15/13
How kind of pension do you get? Is it awesome?imoothereforeim03/15/13
FERS + TSP is legit. Agency matches 1st 5% on TSP. but stuckingov03/15/13
So have you come to terms with being a "lifer"? For all itstrolleybus03/15/13
The longer I stay, the harder it is to leave. Maybe in 10 yestuckingov03/15/13
I am confused. You didn't use the money they gave you for tutrolleybus03/15/13
I had to take loans for the 1st semester. That was the only stuckingov03/15/13
Yeah, I went thought the same 4 years of pt law school and Ptrolleybus03/15/13
10 years ago, there was a guy in my office who was working Fstuckingov03/15/13
And after all that, you are still in fedgov :) I personallytrolleybus03/16/13
Agreedstuckingov03/16/13
OP, I think OPM is taking ALJ application soon / now hwillworkforfood03/15/13
they are insanely backlogged, so this news isn't shockingstuckingov03/15/13
1. Why do some examiners NEVER return a phone call? Like EVEphillybum03/15/13
1. Primaries can act like tenured professors. Some just do nstuckingov03/15/13
how many examiners are there? what is anticipated hiring lowiqgentile03/15/13
thousands and thousands ... before long, every man, woman, astuckingov03/15/13
POPA = "butt" in some Slavic languages, which I think is an trolleybus03/15/13
On the contrary, It seriously feels like the PTO has in-sourtrolleybus03/15/13
Truth. There are about 8,000 Nguyensstuckingov03/15/13
How many months is the backlog for EE hardware patents? Iasstvillageidiot03/15/13
what would the starting salary be for T2 JD with 15 years exasstvillageidiot03/15/13
EE hardware backlog... Not exactly sure. 18-30 mos is my guestuckingov03/15/13
Did you go to an accredited law school?lawbaron03/15/13
Yes. Why do you ask?stuckingov03/16/13
Just was wondering, because you are a JD, but don't appear tlawbaron03/16/13
I passed the bar exam in my state last Febstuckingov03/16/13
SJ = San jose, california......I thought that they were goinasstvillageidiot03/15/13
I think you are right. Security, telework, benefits, and nonstuckingov03/16/13
Do software patents get more than a cursory "uh, yeah, whatesilk03/16/13
They get serious treatment just like everything else. 80-90%stuckingov03/16/13
Did the PTO ever open an office in the Detroit area? Is it frankythefly03/16/13
Yes to all 4 questionsstuckingov03/16/13
How do you prefer to be adresses in e-mails and interviews. phillybum03/16/13
That seems to be the customary practice. Personally, I don'tstuckingov03/16/13
I know I could look up some of this, but you said ask anythipropita03/16/13
Why'd you go for an English degree?aynwrong03/16/13
I had my AA and got a job in aerospace, one my hiring boss spropita03/17/13
1. I don't know if a satellite office is open in CA. Check ustuckingov03/16/13
I wonder if a background in physics would be competitive fornapoleone03/17/13
iirc, physics degree is acceptablestuckingov03/17/13
will you guys be affected by the "sequester"? does the PTO masstvillageidiot03/17/13
More like "Congress snatches any surplus from PTO" ... I'd bstuckingov03/17/13
Do you know anything about the PEEP program at PTO by any chjungwoojj03/19/13
I had to look up what PEEP was. At first I thought you were stuckingov03/19/13
Okay thank you for your time.jungwoojj03/22/13
Did the PEEP program last year. Applied end of December and 4lg2lb03/22/13
Do you truly have to have majored in some science or technolgarrettn03/24/13
No, you can get around the degree requirement.... http:/stuckingov03/24/13
Good to finally find some info on the PEEP program! QAS or Atva914504/09/13
Good luck sir! QAS = quality assurance specialist APJ = stuckingov04/10/13
are patents really worth it? seems like a rip off to me findcjbitcoin04/10/13
Dude.. true rip off is copyrights. Do you know people still impactwave05/13/13
I'm a CHEG/Lit double-major who is an aspiring patent examinlabarrister04/10/13
I dunno, brown-nose whoever you want if you think it might bstuckingov04/11/13
How much $$$ do you make and how many hrs do you work a weekbizzybone131304/11/13
I'm billing the agency 40-42 hours/week at >$60/hrstuckingov04/13/13
I hope this thread is still going... I've looked into gcldlaw704/17/13
I'm a fedgov lifer so I'm not entirely sure what your prospestuckingov04/19/13
What do you know about the effects of the sequester on the Uangelula04/30/13
Sorry, I don't have any more info on this.stuckingov04/30/13
Hey stuckingov, I was curious of your thoughts on workingeddiep08/04/13
This is based entirely on my personal opinion, but I dont thimpactwave05/13/13
This is wrong. The PTO doesn't keep the money it brings in, tttjd05/14/13
The sequestration is having some affect on the PTO. As I undpatentesq05/25/13
stuckingov- I got selected GS9, I've heard some horror storimaxwell05/26/13
just curious - what are the horror stories that you have heamalletofmalice05/26/13
Is PTO hiring right? On it's website, there is no vacancy. Himpactwave05/28/13
do they ask for u/g or JD transcripts?? Is there a minimum Gxstockholmsynhostag05/29/13
I just got an offer from the USPTO (GS9). I know the GS pay justme12345605/31/13
I've been trying to figure this out as well since I will be maxwell06/02/13
justme123456 (May 31, 2013 - 2:28 pm) When did you apply anpvmurty06/02/13
Applied repeatedly.... I was interviewed for the last time ajustme12345606/02/13
stuckingov, do you dress left, right, or n/a?silk06/02/13
I have a phone interview with the PTO soon. What is the inteczheng1206/05/13
Great thread! Really love the hints and advice. Same queskdb1206/07/13
I was hired via phone (no interview) only on the basis of mystuckingov06/15/13
Ok, here's what I got: Computer Engineering BSE from T25 agpp06/18/13
Pretty goodstuckingov06/20/13
Since your close friend is a SPE, you would probably have momaxwell06/19/13
If there's a hard-line about GPAs, wouldn't it have been lisagpp06/19/13
First, If you applied for a patent examiner position (CE), imaxwell06/19/13
"First, If you applied for a patent examiner position (CE), crisis06/19/13
I stand corrected. You're right, I should have read it moremaxwell06/20/13
Thanks for the clarification, crisis. Honestly, Maxwell whaagpp06/19/13
I guess I was being kinda of a douche. Apologies. I can tellmaxwell06/20/13
Has anyone heard anything (through the grapevine or otherwisskyla39306/20/13
Maxwell: thanks for graciously acknowledging your faux pas.lowiqgentile06/20/13
I live near the pto in Alexandria. Running around old town,maxwell06/21/13
I have been an avionics engineer for past 12 years. I've beereset06/24/13
I have been an avionics engineer for past 12 years. I've beereset06/25/13
Nick: When did you apply for Patent Examiner position Detropvmurty06/26/13
Nick: When did you apply for Patent Examiner position at Dpvmurty06/26/13
Nick: How many days after interview did you receive your jojason06/26/13
102(b) rejection question claim claims an input shaft andmich196806/26/13
Well you can argue just about anything, but if the Examiner malletofmalice06/27/13
It gets around the 102(b) but is there some benefit or advanpatentesq07/01/13
Maxwell: Reckoned from date of interview how long does it tjason06/28/13
jason- the time line from interview to job offer varies. I maxwell06/28/13
Maxwell: Glad to know you are selected for PE position at Djason06/29/13
My question...is it worth to switch career from avionics engreset07/01/13
reset-I would try the following: First, I would try and cmaxwell07/01/13
Maxwell, I understand that examining is a dead end for enginreset07/08/13
I'm not sure if examining would open opportunities in non-enmaxwell07/12/13
Maxwell: I was interviewed on June 18. Received email notifjason07/09/13
I've never heard of anyone reviewing a non selection. As famaxwell07/12/13
Maxwell: Thanks. I am 64 years of age, have a PhD in Mechanjason07/14/13
Hello all, I was interviewed on 6/18 too, and still waitilegendmine07/23/13
Maxwell: I applied in March for the mechanical examiner in seekingnewjob07/23/13
I was about to tell you to take the patent bar, however, I jmaxwell07/23/13
I noticed the posting as well. It will be near impossible foseekingnewjob07/24/13
Maxwell: Thanks. You are right. I saw the openings. Please jason07/24/13
Has anyone got hired as examiner after the job was posted onimpactwave07/28/13
Hello all. Just an update. Had a phone interview with an kdb1207/29/13
Random follow up question. Does it hurt to reapply when new kdb1207/29/13
Hi everybody. I also applied for the GS7 PE (Electrical tbv907/29/13
Hi If you are "selected" is that confirmation that the PTimjusttryingtomakeit07/29/13
Great thread...hope it's still active. I've got a few questcacycle08/02/13
"Should I consider being an examiner at the USPTO for a coupmaxwell08/03/13
I have never seen a person being hired as a "patent agent" uimpactwave08/19/13
Maxwell: I was interviewed for GS-9 at Detroit and not selejason08/03/13
I know people that re-apply while having pending applicationmaxwell08/03/13
Maxwell: Your advice is on the whole the best. I have been jason10/12/13
Maxwell: Thanks. update shows that my application for Desigjason08/03/13
good luck.impactwave08/05/13
Hey stuckingov or anyone else, I was curious of your thoueddiep08/04/13
Hi Eddiep, Most new pe struggle to a certain degree for thactionsperdisposal12/11/13
And I should say it takes at least 4 to 5 years to hit primaactionsperdisposal12/11/13
Hello, If you're still answering questions I'd appreciate ygregorco08/15/13
yesimpactwave08/15/13
Hello, Is it possible to get hired as a patent examiner ishaku08/19/13
Hello: Has anyone got hired against March 2013 job posting jason08/19/13
As far as I know, some ppl got job offer from March 2013 posimpactwave08/27/13
Have anyone got response from PTO form August 2013 job postiimpactwave08/26/13
I have a phone interview with the PTO soon. What is the intejjohn09/09/13
Mostly behavioral questions, about 45 minutes. They will promaxwell09/09/13
How far is the good news about your selection?jason09/26/13
Thank you Maxwell for your thorough answer. Any idea if the jjohn09/09/13
Hmm... will gov shut down affect hiring?impactwave09/30/13
Pretty sure the PTO is going to have a hiring freeze if the patentesq09/30/13
From the PTO website: USPTO Operation Status In the evepatentesq09/30/13
Hello, I applied to for the GS-7 Patent Examiner EE posiomaruspto10/02/13
Have you heard anything from USPTO? It is almost 4 weeks sinjason10/07/13
Have you heard anything from USPTO? It is almost 4 weeks sinjason10/07/13
***2nd Post- first one is wedged toward the top of the threaengineernotjd10/07/13
engineernotjd Gld to hear. When did you apply and when werjason10/08/13
I also received a tentative offer 2 weeks ago. I applied Augimpactwave10/12/13
Maxwell: Maxwell: Your advice is on the whole the best. I jason10/12/13
I am sorry to hear that. I really hoped you get the job sincimpactwave10/12/13
impactwave: My first interview lasted very short time in cojason10/14/13
Maxwell: Your advice and that of impactwave are very satisfjason10/14/13
I recently got the Patent Examiner job offer at GS9. My curruserl04/04/14
when did you apply? how long did it take for you to get the jason05/12/14
I had a horrible telephone interview not long ago. At the entryingtomakeliving04/27/14
is this thread still going? made a cert for 7 and 9 for desirlgoo04/29/14
I was wondering if the thread was still going on myself. I alucylew07/30/14
How does the quota system work at pto? How difficult is it ffoliage06/26/14
If you are good at doc review and have some brain capacity timpactwave08/28/14
Do you know if uspto has stopped hiring due to Alice case? navi2307/17/14
Do you know if it's ok for me to send an e-mail uspto HR andnavi2307/17/14
navi23: What is the Alice case? I know they had a cut-off folucylew07/30/14
thanks lucylew, Article about Alice is here: http://ipspotlnavi2308/14/14
Got OF-306 form and filled it out, still waiting for offer, navi2308/21/14
Hello navi23, I also submitted my OF-306 this week. It sefab70308/22/14
navi23, You have already gotten your interview. Did they lucylew08/22/14
lucylew, I got the offer. They called first then followenavi2308/28/14
Hello navi23, please if you don't mind, can I know what youraakindel09/03/14
navi23, I am really glad that you got the job offer. I amlucylew08/28/14
lucylew, I applied back in mid May, the process did take navi2308/29/14
Yes, navi23 I did. My orientation is on Set. 22. Lucylew fab70308/29/14
Did anyone who interviewed on August 14 hear back yet? Thankpat1208/29/14
pat12, Was the cutoff date for yours July 10? If so, I amlucylew08/29/14
Thanks for the reply! Yup, the cutoff date for mine was Julypat1208/29/14
Hello pat12, please if you don't mind, can I know what your aakindel09/03/14
I applied for the mechanical engineering position. You can fpat1209/03/14
thanks for your responseaakindel09/03/14
aakindel, What discipline are you applying for?lucylew09/03/14
Hello lucylew, I am applying for Chemical Engineering/Petrolaakindel09/03/14
aakindel, Go to glassdoor.com and read all of the reviewslucylew09/04/14
thanks so much for the advice. I really appreciate your effoaakindel09/04/14
Hello pat12, I did the interview already, please can you letaakindel09/14/14
pat12, Good luck to you! Keep us posted when you hear somlucylew08/30/14
I got in the interviw one week after receiving status referrnavi2309/05/14
navi23, No, I haven't had the interview yet. pat12: Dlucylew09/07/14
pat12, Did you get "selected"?lucylew09/09/14
First, this Q&A has been very helpful. Thank you! I just ealangarri09/15/14
langarri, Welcome to the forum and thank you for taking tlucylew09/16/14



stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 3:49 pm)

I'll try to answer everything you want to know about PTO as best I can, but I'm not comfortable giving away too many personal details that might reveal who I am..... Otherwise, AMA

Reply
wanka (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:26 pm)

Are you an attorney? How much did you make when you first entered? Did you have a jarb as an attorney before this?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:35 pm)

I have a JD. I went to night school for 4 years while working f/t.

I started at 50k in the early 2000's

No prior jobs after college (unless you count bussing tables for 6 mos.)

Reply
nho16 (May 6, 2013 - 3:54 pm)

I am a patent attorney, 3rd year associate, at a boutique IP firm. As with most law firms, I work long hours and have minimum billing requirements. As a working mom I am looking for something with a more flexible schedule. Does the USPTO hire part time Examiners? Can the Examiners work remotely (I do not live in the DC area).

Thank you in advance.

Reply
stuckingov (May 7, 2013 - 9:13 am)

Yes, there are part-time examiners. But I'm not sure they hire new examiners on a part-time basis.

Lots of examiners work from home (like me). After about 3-4 years or so you would become eligible for working from home.

Reply
impactwave (May 13, 2013 - 2:59 pm)

I will have my JD soon. I am considering becoming a patent examiner. However, I am also an inventor and have a patent application filed under my name. I know exmaminers can't file patent application. But how about a person who filed a patent application and try to get a PTO job? Do I have to withdraw or abbandon my application?

Reply
impactwave (May 25, 2013 - 6:45 pm)

I guess no1 knows the anwer.

Reply
mrsrpd24 (Aug 9, 2013 - 7:51 am)

I have a degree in BSEET from Devry. Will the PTO hire me? I was able to apply for the patent bar exam last year, but didn't pass. I plan on re-taking it later this year.

Reply
mrsrpd24 (Sep 2, 2014 - 2:40 pm)

Yes - I found out that you can be hired as an EE Patent Examiner. Keep applying. I applied twice and got in the 2nd time I applied.

Reply
engineernotjd (Oct 6, 2013 - 2:07 pm)

I was just "selected" and have several questions.

1. I haven't seen the offer yet, will there be any ability to negotiate starting or target GS grade/step pays?
2. I can handle doing the same thing for a while (years) but eventually get a bit bored. Would there be opportunities every few years (2-6) to advance/ change roles? I see going to law school, but after that...
3. I have a PhD, background as chemical engineer with a focus on electrochemistry and fuel cells. I also have a battery background but have a preference toward the first. If I get assigned to a battery patent group, am I stuck there for life?
4. I also like to have interactions with people on a regular basis- discussion of work, team environment. Does any of that exist or is this position more preferable for hermits?
5. How much overtime can one get? Is it always available or is it dependent upon other factors. Prior posts suggested it is based on the unit and the funds at any given moment. Just curious how it works in reality.
6. How is performance evaluated?

The benefits all seem good and DC would be a fun place to live, though expensive. With PTO and flex scheduling, I figured the working days in a calendar year to be comparable to a teacher- sounds pretty good to me.

Thank you in advance for your time and help!

Reply
lucylew (Jul 30, 2014 - 8:01 pm)

stuckingov,

I ran across the forum but see that there has been no activity since 2013. Are you still answering people's questions as they relate to working at USPTO? It is so hard trying to find a long-term Patent Examiner who is willing to answer questions. I am on the hunt to work for USPTO and wanted to know the low-down of stuff that may have not already been answered.

Reply
maxwell (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:35 pm)

Do you think the current round of hiring will be substantial? I understand that grade 7/9 positions do not require prep/pros experience, but how realistic is getting a gig without any of the above experience? What UG degree is considered the best for getting in?

Wanka- Current pay scale for each grade is publicly available information, available on the PTO site.

Reply
wanka (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:37 pm)

I know someone that was hired without a science background (I think s/he did theater or some shit...how does that happen.

Reply
maxwell (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:40 pm)

Impossible to get hired as a patent examiner without a science background. Even with a science background, it depends very much on your specific science background on whether you'll actually get in.

Reply
wanka (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:41 pm)

Well s/he just got hired and the background isn't in science. Not making it up, I am just as confused as you.

Reply
wanka (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:46 pm)

I think the position deals with Trademarks (based on linkedin) if that makes a difference, but still no science background...it can happen apparently.

Reply
maxwell (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:47 pm)

The requirements to be minimally qualified are publicly available, your friend is not a patent examiner without a science degree! He might work as a trademark attorney for the PTO, but not as an examiner.

Reply
wanka (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:00 pm)

Aight...

Reply
patentesq (Mar 16, 2013 - 12:58 am)

Maybe she examines design patents.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:01 pm)

I really have no idea how the current round of hiring will go. It might be attenuated by the sequester mess, but I can't say for sure. I got hired as a gs-7, step 10. Some people get hired on as a 9, and I know of one phd who started as an 11.... depends on education level and prior experience...

I would say BSEE is best for getting hired

Reply
eject (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:40 pm)

Is the work pretty boring? Like diagrams of new chips? Or it interesting?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:06 pm)

Examiners are placed in a specific technology area and tend to only do apps from that area. Semiconductor chips and such is a massive field and it might be broken down into many different specialty areas based on many different factors.... To get a feel for the breakdown of tech areas, take a look at the U.S. patent classification system

I was placed into my tech area by chance. I had no prior exp in my field nor did I take any EE classes on the subject in school. All my learning came on the job... Mostly by reading and understanding the case in front of me via-a-vis the prior art patents out there


ETA: as far as it being "boring" .... Yeah to some extent it really is boring... But if you are in a technology area that interests you, you prob won't be bored most of the time

I had a friend who was in the "video game" art unit .... I thought that would have been the best thing ever ... Def not boring

Reply
asstvillageidiot (Mar 15, 2013 - 4:40 pm)

how smart "sharp" need one be to keep the job as a EE examiner.....is there, practically speaking, a minimum GPA? Do you see a lot of unemployed PhD's?
is the job kinda boring?
can you see opportunities evolving from your stint at the USPTO....especially as non patent agent?
If someone is alreadt earning 100K + as an engineer does pursuing the USPTO really make any sense?

Reply
maxwell (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:00 pm)

Currently, the minimum GPA is 3.0

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:19 pm)

To keep a job as an examiner, you need to be a good writer/communicator. It's not easy to communicate about complex technical and legal issues in writing and face-to-face... It is kind of an acquired skill that only comes with practice. You don't need to be a tech wiz, but you do need to be capable of learning unfamiliar technologies .... Once you settle into a particular tech area though, it gets a lot easier. The learning curve is steep the first few years, but if you are diligent about learning and keeping pace and not making the same mistakes over and over, the job will not be difficult...

Minimum gpa? I dunno. I'd be uncomfortable if I had under 3.0 ... Not sure if there is a hard threshold

Yes, the job is kinda boring. But defeating and sparring with pat attys sometimes makes it fun

I can't see anything out there for me in industry or the private sector other than atty work.... A Fortune 500 co. isn't going to call me up and want to do anything for them, as an engineer or otherwise, unless I have prior bigpatlaw exp. as an atty. PTO is a dead-end for engineers

If you already make 100k as an engineer, I could see moving to the PTO. ... Job security plus work at home is enough for some

Reply
maxwell (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:00 pm)

As an examiner, does it bother you to get a reply, lets say a reply in response to a 103 rejection, which cites case law instead of the MPEP? Even if it doesn't bother you, do you consider it less persuasive than direct MPEP citations?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:25 pm)

doesn't make a bit of difference either way ... most 103 issues turn on the facts, not the law

Notwithstanding my feelings, I think examiners relate more to what is in the MPEP. We read it and refer to it everyday. You can cite caselaw, but the avg examiner isn't gonna read the opinion or give two shits about it anyway

Reply
imoothereforeim (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:14 pm)

I've encounter some really, really rude examiners. Some speak a language that cannot be described as English.

Do you hate them as much as we do?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:29 pm)

The prevalence of non-native English speakers is a big problem for PTO. I don't "hate" these people, but I do wonder how in holy hell they are able to put in writing very fine legal and factual points in a clear and concise manner. A lot of them are very good writers even if they don't speak very well, and then of course, there are many who don't speak or write English at a very high level....

I don't know if there is a correlation between English proficiency and rudeness, but I can understand prosecution getting strained because the examiner can't effectively communicate. I know I'd be pissed if I were a client who had to pay for several extra rounds of prosecution just because the examiner had a language deficiency...

Reply
impactwave (May 13, 2013 - 4:08 pm)

Still better than DMV..IMO

Reply
everywherethebezzle (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:29 pm)

Do Trademark Examiners really treat new applications based on to how prior marks were treated or do they acknowledge that they just make it up as they go along ? Namely, that the the whole USPTO trademark system is a sick random contradictory joke in which new applications are successful (or not) solely based upon the randomness of the Examiner that gets the new application ?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:32 pm)

I'm sorry, I can't help you with that. I literally know zero about the trademark side ... in fact, I'm not even acquainted with a single TM atty at the office.

Reply
everywherethebezzle (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:38 pm)

What good are you :)

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:44 pm)

Ha!

Patents > TMs any day of the week!

Reply
jeffm (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:37 pm)

When with the USPTO begin to make a real effort to reject patent claims by those who are clearly engaging in patent abuse? A simple patent search pulls up far too many obvious ideas - example, putting a gps device in a dog collar.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:48 pm)

wow, I don't have enough hours in the day to answer with question.

I'll just say this: for every 1 embarrassing patent that slips though, there might be 1000 others like it that got squashed and never issued. BUT the 0.1% that do see the light are a big problem and the uppity-ups at PTO absolutely HATE when embarrassing shit gets issued.... When I started at PTO, we had the stick patent, the bathroom reservations on an airplane patent, and the sideways-swing patent ... this is a never-ending dilemma on quality vs. efficiency that will never die IMHO

Reply
maxwell (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:54 pm)

stuckingov you know way more than me, but in my experience, obtaining an issued patent is a long and costly process. When you conduct a search, it is important to realize that patent application publications are not the equivalent of having an issued patent. Just because a patent application is published is by no means a guarantee of obtaining the patent. BTW, Interactive Communication and Tracking Dog Collar is a publication and not an issued patent.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 6:04 pm)

okay, yeah, every app gets published nowadays, unless it is subject to secrecy for whatever reason


I think it is good for the public to see all the ridiculous shit out there that gets filed. I have a stack of ridiculous apps and patents somewhere in my office... I mean, blow-your-mind type of crazy shit.


ETA: how about "AIDS: The Board Game" ... looks like a monopoly board ... they have tombstones and shit on the board... I don't think AIDS is funny, but a g-d boardgame about it is so morbid it cracks me up

Reply
maxwell (Mar 15, 2013 - 6:20 pm)

Right, but just because it does not seem commercially viable (even ridiculously non-commercially viable), does not mean it is non-patentable. Right? Questions of patentability are distinct from commercial viability. My point being that it is hard for me to see obvious variations of known ideas as issued patents considering the long, rigorous, and costly process. Now, I'm sure an embarrassing patent gets by here and there, but by no means do I agree that there are far too many obvious idea issued patents.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 6:26 pm)

Yeah, commercial viability is irrelevant to patenting something.

If you're relying on a "commercial success" argument to get around a 103, you might as well not bother. I've never seen that work, prob never will... It's such a high bar to meet

Reply
cynicalobserver (Mar 15, 2013 - 6:07 pm)

Ah, any comment on tomorrow's shift to first-to-file and how it will or won't affect workload at PTO?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 6:11 pm)

I don't think it will affect much of anything as far as workload goes .... just one step in the direction of global harmonization ...

I can count on one hand how many times I've been persuaded by a rule 131 dec

Reply
malletofmalice (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:39 pm)

1. What percentage of Examiners are JDs and has this amount changed in the past years?

2. How is the effect of JD/prosecution experience factoring into hiring of Examiners nowadays? I keep hearing that the PTO is expecting more and more of its hires to have prior prosecution experience now.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:55 pm)

1. I would say under 5% and I have no idea how that number has changed over the last 5-10 years... but it is very popular for kids to be examiners for 30 minutes and then jump-ship to LS just to put "examiner" on their resume ... this is quite, quite common.

Also, PTO reimburses tuition for LS. At least, their reimbursement program comes and goes over the years based on funding, so a lot of kids take advantage of that. (Like me) Not many of us stay at the office too much longer after finishing LS, although I do know several that stayed, and a few others than went to a firm and then came back to PTO in short order.


2. When the economy is shitty and jobs are hard to come by, peeps flock to PTO. When industry is humming and everyone has million-dollar stock options, PTO begs peeps to come ... we happen to be in a downswing and PTO can afford to be choosy right now.

I really have little idea how the hiring process goes these days. I was hired solely based on my internet application. A SPE called me up one day and asked if I'd like to work at PTO. I said, "Okay, I can come to DC for an interview next week." SPE says, "No, that's not necessary." ... I was floored.... Doubt that happens at all nowadays

Reply
admin (Mar 15, 2013 - 5:55 pm)

Great thread! Thanks stuckingov.

Reply
tttjd (Mar 15, 2013 - 6:20 pm)

Agreed. Great thread.

Reply
imoothereforeim (Mar 15, 2013 - 7:26 pm)

How about applying for an IPR judge position? What kind of qualification is USPTO looking for?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 7:53 pm)

Honestly, I don't know. Pat attys with former PTO experience might get first dibs, but who really knows. Central reexamination guys are likely shoe-ins.... Core examiners with JDs, I'd say they have an uphill battle

Although fwiw I have heard that there is a bias in favor of hiring from outside the office for APJ positions...

Reply
imoothereforeim (Mar 15, 2013 - 8:32 pm)

How kind of pension do you get? Is it awesome?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:01 pm)

FERS + TSP is legit. Agency matches 1st 5% on TSP.


but CSRS was siiiick. I feel bad for the old guys that got duped into switching to FERS

Reply
trolleybus (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:13 pm)

So have you come to terms with being a "lifer"? For all its benefits, PTO has very few realistic exit options. By the way, I hope you got your tuition paid for...or did you join after they froze?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:28 pm)

The longer I stay, the harder it is to leave. Maybe in 10 years if they have a voluntary RIF I'll jump on it, but I give that a slim-to-none chance of ever happening.

I didn't get my tuition paid for. I wish. The money was handed to me after the start of each semester, and Uncle Sam took a big chunk out of it of fucking course. Why they wouldn't just pay the tuition bill directly, I don't know. Probably some dumb OPM rule.... So yeah, I got student loans to pay off like everyone else. I was young and blew most of that money.... oh well.... live & learn

Reply
trolleybus (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:32 pm)

I am confused. You didn't use the money they gave you for tuition reimbursement for paying tuition?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:51 pm)

I had to take loans for the 1st semester. That was the only semsester I didn't get reimbursed for. For every other semester, tuition was due before the semester started, and I didn't get the reimbursement money until about midway through the semester. So the dominoes just sorta fell after I got loans for the first 2 year.

Not only that, no one was making sure I used the money for tuition, so guess what? Stupid me blew it on other stuff, thinking it's all good, I'll be a primary soon and making 25-30k more in salary. Young + single + big city /= responsibility for me, even if I managed to balance F/T work and LS .... looking back, I have NO IDEA how I pulled it off...

Reply
trolleybus (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:59 pm)

Yeah, I went thought the same 4 years of pt law school and PTO/ firm job. No fun. Still not sure if it was worth it, a bunch of years later.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:12 pm)

10 years ago, there was a guy in my office who was working FT at PTO. 35 years old. Wife. 2 young kids. AND doing LS p/t....

I saw his misery and thought, shit, I only have a small window for LS. If I wait much longer, that window is gonna close, and I just might be that 35-y.o. guy with a wife + kids dreading the idea that the only way out of PTO is to slog through 4 years of night school while missing my kids grow up and never seeing my wife

LS was my insurance policy against a crappy career in fedgov, plain and simple. Bad reason to go, huh?

Reply
trolleybus (Mar 16, 2013 - 3:34 pm)

And after all that, you are still in fedgov :) I personally think that they pay you guys a bit too much for your own sake - it makes the PTO a nice comfortable swamp that is hard to leave and eventually you just settle, even if you had aspirations to leave when you started. If the PTO's pay ceilings were a bit lower (say 100-110K), you'd be more inclined to go into the private practice, which starts around 145-160K. Otherwise, there is no real good reason to leave and, trust me, private practice is not all fun and games, especially after you get used to easy gov. lifestyle.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 4:48 pm)

Agreed

Reply
willworkforfood (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:24 pm)

OP, I think OPM is taking ALJ application soon / now


http://www.opm.gov/news/releases/2013/02/opm-will-post-new-administrative-law-judge-examination/

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:01 pm)

they are insanely backlogged, so this news isn't shocking

Reply
phillybum (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:26 pm)

1. Why do some examiners NEVER return a phone call? Like EVER. I am talking about the cases where I have to fax the interview request, and then call the primary, or shit just does not happen.

2. Do you find that once you identify 2-3 "foundation" patents in your field - you just cite them as prior art over and over, and might only occasionally have to supplemnt them with extra art for 103?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:00 pm)

1. Primaries can act like tenured professors. Some just do not give a fuuuuuck. I always liked the interaction with the "outside world" ... It made me feel useful and gave me a chance to actually interact with non-examiners from time to time


2. I'm not lazy enough to just blast the same art over and over without regard for anything else, but there def. are some patents that are way better than others as far as them being chock-full of routine foundation teachings. Once I apply a single patent many times for the same teaching, it sorta becomes a "go-to" reference in certain circumstances.... For many cases, I could take one reading of the claims and tell you that the Smith + Jones patents cover just about everything there. When you are at the office for so long, you eventually get to that point....

Reply
lowiqgentile (Mar 15, 2013 - 9:58 pm)

how many examiners are there?

what is anticipated hiring rate for the next 5 years?

are you in a union ? will that protect you from outsourcing to China?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:04 pm)

thousands and thousands ... before long, every man, woman, and child will be employed to examine U.S. patent apps


hiring rate? no telling ... def > 0


union = POPA, they got my back ... outsourcing me to China would violate some non-delegation statute and/or the Const. and/or whatever ... but China is already well-represented here (as are all other 1st, 2nd, and 3rd world countries)

Reply
trolleybus (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:10 pm)

POPA = "butt" in some Slavic languages, which I think is an appropriate name for those clowns.

Reply
trolleybus (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:07 pm)

On the contrary, It seriously feels like the PTO has in-sourced half of Vietnam.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:15 pm)

Truth. There are about 8,000 Nguyens

Reply
asstvillageidiot (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:39 pm)

How many months is the backlog for EE hardware patents?

Is 50 years of age too old to be hired --with industrial experience? Is a Tier 2 JD an advantage?

Reply
asstvillageidiot (Mar 15, 2013 - 10:43 pm)

what would the starting salary be for T2 JD with 15 years experience? What is going on with the SJ office...is it open?

how would compare yourself with European Patent Office examiners?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 15, 2013 - 11:10 pm)

EE hardware backlog... Not exactly sure. 18-30 mos is my guess

I don't think 50 is too old. Or at least it shouldn't be. Guy that used to be in my art unit had to have been mid-40s when hired. Atty from west coast. I do think industry experience + JD can only help your cause. Best of luck!

Not sure what SJ is .... Solicitor's office? All openings are on usajobs. If you don't see it, it's not open

I don't know a single euro exmr, so I can't really compare


ETA: starting salary might be around 65-75k, but don't hold me to that

Reply
lawbaron (Mar 15, 2013 - 11:31 pm)

Did you go to an accredited law school?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 9:47 am)

Yes. Why do you ask?

Reply
lawbaron (Mar 16, 2013 - 12:20 pm)

Just was wondering, because you are a JD, but don't appear to have passed/taken a bar exam.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 4:58 pm)

I passed the bar exam in my state last Feb

Reply
asstvillageidiot (Mar 15, 2013 - 11:34 pm)

SJ = San jose, california......I thought that they were going to open a satellite office there.....thanks for answers -- JD Tier 2, industrial experience 10 years currently employed......I think that I may have more potential in industry

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 1:46 am)

I think you are right. Security, telework, benefits, and non-competitive promotions are the biggest draws for the PTO... the trade-off is hard government ceilings.

You prob know more about San Jose than I do. I know Detroit is open, and I've heard things about Denver and San Antonio but don't pay attention to what's going with any of that

Reply
silk (Mar 16, 2013 - 3:09 am)

Do software patents get more than a cursory "uh, yeah, whatever"?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 9:44 am)

They get serious treatment just like everything else. 80-90% of my apps are softw----errr, I mean, computer-readable media storing instructions that when executed by a computer perform the steps of blah blah blah....

Reply
frankythefly (Mar 16, 2013 - 4:46 am)

Did the PTO ever open an office in the Detroit area? Is it possible to get into the PTO with a chemistry/biochem/biotech background? Is it possible to live decently in the very high cost of living DC area on an entry-level patent examiner's income? Is there such a thing as overtime pay?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 9:39 am)

Yes to all 4 questions

Reply
phillybum (Mar 16, 2013 - 1:13 pm)

How do you prefer to be adresses in e-mails and interviews. I usually say it like this: "Examiner Jones." Is that correct?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 4:50 pm)

That seems to be the customary practice. Personally, I don't care how I'm addressed. Just spell my name right

Reply
propita (Mar 16, 2013 - 2:49 pm)

I know I could look up some of this, but you said ask anything

1) Where are work locations in CA?

2) My 2005 BA was in English but my 1984 AA was in Laser Technology, and I have 16 years experience in a major aerospace company's main calibration lab--lots of technical experience and background. Could that be sufficient without a science BS? JD received in 2009 and passed CBX in 2010.

Reply
aynwrong (Mar 16, 2013 - 3:14 pm)

Why'd you go for an English degree?

Reply
propita (Mar 17, 2013 - 9:01 am)

I had my AA and got a job in aerospace, one my hiring boss said I'd be able to retire from. I made it through 8 years of threats of layoffs and department outsourcing, but not the last round. We moved to Fresno where my husband had been recruited. I got computer network certified--right when that industry crashed and outsourced. So, time to finish my Bachelors. I was tired of technical then, having had two industries implode on me. I like words (a lot), so I went for English. Then got the idea of law school into my head, more to see if I could than to be a lawyer (CA-accredited school). And here I am.

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 16, 2013 - 4:55 pm)

1. I don't know if a satellite office is open in CA. Check uspto.gov

2. The degree restriction might be a firm one, but read the job description carefully and ask HR if you need clarification..... If I were a laser SPE I would consider you qualified based on your industry exp. + JD

Reply
napoleone (Mar 17, 2013 - 1:30 am)

I wonder if a background in physics would be competitive for an examiner job?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 17, 2013 - 12:53 pm)

iirc, physics degree is acceptable

Reply
asstvillageidiot (Mar 17, 2013 - 1:17 pm)

will you guys be affected by the "sequester"? does the PTO make a profit off fees and then hand the surplus over to the Treasury.....so no furloughs?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 17, 2013 - 2:41 pm)

More like "Congress snatches any surplus from PTO" ... I'd be shocked if anyone is furloughed here. There's a lot of other fat to cut before that happens. Example: we are still authorized to work OT at the moment.

It is my understanding that PTO is the only money-making fee-based fedgov entity. I could be wrong though. Sequestration doesn't worry me much

Reply
jungwoojj (Mar 19, 2013 - 12:21 pm)

Do you know anything about the PEEP program at PTO by any chance?

I applied for the program back in Dec. and still waiting for the response after "referred to selecting officials" update.

I ultimately want to work for PTO in the future as patent examiner and will apply as soon as they open up for the Biochemistry or Biotechnology field.

Do you have any information on when PTO would start hiring examiners for those field?

And would experience in the PEEP program help in the hiring process?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 19, 2013 - 9:04 pm)

I had to look up what PEEP was. At first I thought you were talking about the patents end to end program.

To answer your questions, I don't think PEEP would be of much help unless you made some good contacts at PTO, but I'm guessing it can't hurt ... And I have no idea when biochemistry or biotech jobs will open. It could be at any time. Just check usajobs every week or so....

Good luck!

Reply
jungwoojj (Mar 22, 2013 - 8:36 am)

Okay thank you for your time.

Reply
4lg2lb (Mar 22, 2013 - 3:17 pm)

Did the PEEP program last year. Applied end of December and received my acceptance letter at the very beginning of March.

Really enjoyed the program, it was an interesting mix of law students and undergrad kids. I would estimate that there were 200 or so kids in my program with 90% of them working in various technology centers. If you show an interest and are a law student, they might let you work with a QAS or with an APJ.

As for the experience, its free work for the patent office. Most externs will pump out 2-4 office actions while learning about the software that examiners use (WEST, OAKS, PALM...). It's unpaid but if you're a law student you can probably find a scholarship to defray your expenses.

Personally, living in DC made it worth it. It's during baseball season, you get 12 weeks to visit all the sites, and no one cares if you show up to work at 10 (chances are your boss telecommutes or only works at the office three days a week). But like stuckingov mentioned, having work experience at the PTO will make you an attractive candidate when you interview for a full time job (hence why new grads work there 6 months then jump ship).

Reply
garrettn (Mar 24, 2013 - 5:54 pm)

Do you truly have to have majored in some science or technology in order to be eligible to take the patent bar?

Reply
stuckingov (Mar 24, 2013 - 6:04 pm)

No, you can get around the degree requirement....

http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/oed/GRB_March_2012.pdf

Reply
tva9145 (Apr 9, 2013 - 11:36 pm)

Good to finally find some info on the PEEP program! QAS or APJ? What do these stand for? Anyone else have any advice about the PEP program? What to expect ect? I am a JD student accepting the may 28th entry date!

Reply
stuckingov (Apr 10, 2013 - 6:36 pm)

Good luck sir!

QAS = quality assurance specialist
APJ = admin patent judge

Reply
findcjbitcoin (Apr 10, 2013 - 7:05 pm)

are patents really worth it?

seems like a rip off to me

filing them costs money

defending them costs money

only thickets seems to offer real protection

imho.............

PATENTS ARE A SCAM!

Reply
impactwave (May 13, 2013 - 4:04 pm)

Dude.. true rip off is copyrights. Do you know people still pay for license fee for "Happy Birthday To You" song to Warner Bros everytime it is played publicly?

Compared to Copyrights, Patents are not even close to a scam.

Reply
labarrister (Apr 10, 2013 - 10:17 pm)

I'm a CHEG/Lit double-major who is an aspiring patent examiner. I graduate in 2015. I am also waiting to hear back from the PEEP program. I applied in late December, as well. So, to those who have yet to be responded to, I understand your dilemma. I am ready to hear a (positive) decision so that I can start making summer plans. Luckily, I am ready. I have already lined up a reasonable summer roommate in Alexandria and made a great contact with a Finnegan attorney. Too bad the program is un-paid, so I won't have any money with which to woo my contacts down there.

OP, although I have a great contact in DC, he doesn't have examiner experience. Who exactly do I need to leave on especially good terms with at the end of the summer PEEP program to ensure the best possible chance at getting hired full-time post-graduation?

P.S. This is my first post in this law forum, so pardon me for not having the proper feel to my writing. And pardon me for such a long post.

Reply
stuckingov (Apr 11, 2013 - 2:20 am)

I dunno, brown-nose whoever you want if you think it might be worth your while.

I never thought PTO would evolve to the point where peeps (pun intended) are enthusiastic about working there for free... So weird to me

Reply
bizzybone1313 (Apr 11, 2013 - 3:05 am)

How much $$$ do you make and how many hrs do you work a week?

Reply
stuckingov (Apr 13, 2013 - 2:32 pm)

I'm billing the agency 40-42 hours/week at >$60/hr

Reply
cldlaw7 (Apr 17, 2013 - 11:52 am)

I hope this thread is still going...


I've looked into getting around the BS requirements (I have a BS, but in a non-qualifying field), and want to start looking into taking the patent bar and registering as a patent agent after I take a few more college credits. Is this a smart alternative to LS? Do you think I could find an unpaid internship somewhere in a bigger market to begin my exposure to the patent world (i.e., Atlanta)?

Reply
stuckingov (Apr 19, 2013 - 10:26 pm)

I'm a fedgov lifer so I'm not entirely sure what your prospects are in the "real world". But, man, without a technical background it'll be tough to latch onto a firm. Without that or even a JD, what makes you an attractive hire? Firms might look at your credentials and not see you as trainable.

If you really don't wanna do law school, maybe work towards a BSEE while you moonlight as an unpaid intern at a firm.... hmmm.

Hell, you might just have to know somebody who can get you in their firm.

Reply
angelula (Apr 30, 2013 - 4:25 pm)

What do you know about the effects of the sequester on the USPTO satellite offices? I recently applied in Detroit and received an email stating:

"Thank you for your interest in employment with the United States Patent & Trademark Office! This is an important message regarding your recent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The Office of Human Resources has received your application for ######, Patent Examiner (Electrical Engineering), Grade(s) 09 located in Detroit, MI, US. Due to fiscal constraints, we are currently unable to fill the vacancy announcement for which you applied. We hope that we will eventually be able to hire patent examiners from this vacancy announcement later this year. If so, we will extend offers to qualified selected candidates then. We appreciate your patience and your continued interest in employment with the USPTO."

Can you give me any deeper insight as to what's going on?

Reply
stuckingov (Apr 30, 2013 - 10:59 pm)

Sorry, I don't have any more info on this.

Reply
eddiep (Aug 4, 2013 - 4:10 pm)

Hey stuckingov,

I was curious of your thoughts on working at the pto. I am an ee patent attorney and have considered the thought of joining the PTO at some point in the future.

I have read various reviews from former examiners and a number of these folks expressed frustrations with the PTO. Obviously, there will always be a number of former employees who do not speak highly of their previous position, but some of these folks made it sound like Examiners have to work very hard and even harder than folks in law firms, unforced OT and how it is not a 40 hour/week job. How many hours/week do folks at the PTO work? Do you feel like an Examiner would have to work as hard or harder than patent attorneys in firms?

I have heard from other people that an Examiner position is a pretty good job once you get efficient at your craft and know what you are doing.

Working in a law firm is no picnic so I am trying to get a gauge of whether the PTO would offer a better work/life balance versus a law firm. Thoughts? I also am curious how hard is the job compared to law school? The bar?

Thanks for the help! Ed

Reply
impactwave (May 13, 2013 - 3:22 pm)

This is based entirely on my personal opinion, but I dont think sequestartion will do anything to PTO since PTO has its own idependent income source. But I may be wrong.

Reply
tttjd (May 14, 2013 - 2:55 pm)

This is wrong. The PTO doesn't keep the money it brings in, and the sequester has resulted in changes.

Reply
patentesq (May 25, 2013 - 6:48 pm)

The sequestration is having some affect on the PTO. As I understand it, they are delaying performing searches on PCT cases....

Reply
maxwell (May 26, 2013 - 4:19 pm)

stuckingov- I got selected GS9, I've heard some horror stories about the PTO, should I stay at my firm or give the PTO a go? I'd be taking a pay cut, but it's my understanding that I'd have to work less.., much less than what it takes for 2k billables. Also, PTO seems to offer job security and great benefits.

Reply
malletofmalice (May 26, 2013 - 6:43 pm)

just curious - what are the horror stories that you have heard?

Reply
impactwave (May 28, 2013 - 8:12 pm)

Is PTO hiring right? On it's website, there is no vacancy. How did you apply?

Reply
xstockholmsynhostag (May 29, 2013 - 12:08 am)

do they ask for u/g or JD transcripts?? Is there a minimum GPA.....

Reply
justme123456 (May 31, 2013 - 2:28 pm)

I just got an offer from the USPTO (GS9). I know the GS pay scale and I've been told by HR about the 6 month pay raise and the annual increases each year after that, but the starting pay is around 50% less than what I was being paid in the private sector. Its a big step down, but I was layed off and finding a replacement job hasn't been easy. The HR folks told me that they often hire people that were earning mid 100's and that they are back at that level within 3 to 4 years. The HR guy also told me that team bonuses at the PTO are "average of 10K per quarter."

Can you please provide some reality for me? How long does it really take to become a GS-13, and earn above 120K? What is the breakdown between base and overtime and bonus? How often do they disallow overtime due to budget?

Thanks!

Reply
maxwell (Jun 2, 2013 - 7:34 pm)

I've been trying to figure this out as well since I will be starting in July if I choose to accept. From the information I am able to gleam from current examiners, it seems that higher income will depend on how much OT is available. OT availability depends on the specific art unit and backlogs therein. Also, OT is generally not allowed within the 1st probationary year. However, I've heard some SPEs allow it. My unit will be in the EE or CE arts.. from what I hear, plenty of OT will be available and thus help me to get back to my private sector salary in due time.

Reply
pvmurty (Jun 2, 2013 - 8:37 am)

justme123456 (May 31, 2013 - 2:28 pm)
When did you apply and when were you interviewed for the Patent Examiner position?

Reply
justme123456 (Jun 2, 2013 - 5:20 pm)

Applied repeatedly.... I was interviewed for the last time a few months ago. Got the letter saying that they were not hiring, then I got surprised with an offer... Why do you ask? When did you apply, interview, etc???

Reply
silk (Jun 2, 2013 - 9:52 pm)

stuckingov, do you dress left, right, or n/a?

Reply
czheng12 (Jun 5, 2013 - 1:53 am)

I have a phone interview with the PTO soon. What is the interview going to be like? What kind of questions will they ask me? Is the phone interview the only interview? Thanx

Reply
kdb12 (Jun 7, 2013 - 6:04 am)

Great thread! Really love the hints and advice.

Same question as czheng12. I have a phone interview coming up soon. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

Reply
stuckingov (Jun 15, 2013 - 10:19 pm)

I was hired via phone (no interview) only on the basis of my online job application.

This was a long time ago, and I imagine they have some rigid hiring procedure in place now but I've never bothered to find out about it

Reply
agpp (Jun 18, 2013 - 6:02 pm)

Ok, here's what I got:

Computer Engineering BSE from T25 engineering school. Sub 3.0 GPA. JD from T2 law school. Close friend is an SPE trying to do whatever he can to get me in. Phone interview was this morning. What are my chances?

Reply
stuckingov (Jun 20, 2013 - 10:48 pm)

Pretty good

Reply
maxwell (Jun 19, 2013 - 9:58 am)

Since your close friend is a SPE, you would probably have more knowledge than most about the selection process. Here's my thoughts: In the last few years, there's been a hard-line policy about minimum 3.0 UG GPA. Before this policy was implemented, the pto would hire sub 3.0 UG GPA people as GS 5's. However, the GS 5 position no longer exists. Even with your close friend being an SPE, whom I'm sure has already told you all this, the problem is SPEs are not allowed to make selections into their own AU. So, he will have to convince another SPE or hiring manager to place you in their AU. If something goes wrong in the future, your SPE's ass is on the line.
Things to consider and use to your benefit: Do you have a reg number? Do you have prep and pros experience? Do you have industry experience? If so, emphasize those things.
Since the economy tanked, the pto has become very competitive, with thousands of people applying for the same positions, many of which with PhD's and very high GPA's. Consequently, I give you a 20 percent chance of landing the job considering your SPE friend is willing to risk his ass for you. Without a powerful friend on the inside, your chances drop down to around 1 or 2 percent.

Good luck

Reply
agpp (Jun 19, 2013 - 5:54 pm)

If there's a hard-line about GPAs, wouldn't it have been listed on the USAJobs? I've seen a few postings that require "superior academic achievement" but this one didn't have it. Besides, if there's a hard-line policy why'd I get past OPM?

Reply
maxwell (Jun 19, 2013 - 6:58 pm)

First, If you applied for a patent examiner position (CE), it DID list GPA in the job posting, under the 'Additional Qualification Requirements: (In addition to the BASIC QUALIFICATIONS REQUIREMENTS), which can be defined by 1. class standing or 2. GPA.

Note: carefully reading stuff is a big part of being an examiner, doesn't bode very well for you.

Second, there's a hundred reasons why you got past OPM and had an interview. We're talking about the PTO here for christ sake. I've seen people without an UG science degree get past OPM and have interviews. Do they get hired? No. I got an interview at Finnegan, and it's just as likely I'll get that job as you will at the PTO.

Bottom line: you should be prepared for the likelihood of not getting this job, keep applying to other positions.

Reply
crisis (Jun 19, 2013 - 10:00 pm)

"First, If you applied for a patent examiner position (CE), it DID list GPA in the job posting, under the 'Additional Qualification Requirements: (In addition to the BASIC QUALIFICATIONS REQUIREMENTS), which can be defined by 1. class standing or 2. GPA."

When questioning someone's reading comprehension skills it helps to have some of your own. Meeting the "Additional Qualification Requirements" is not just restricted to having a certain class standing or GPA, the requirements can also be met by experience. SAA is not the only way to meet the additional requirements of the patent examiner position. It is sufficient to meet that part(and by extension the basic requirements because a GPA of 3+ in a scientific discipline would imply a degree), but not necessary.

Lets go further though and break down the requirements of the GS-7 patent examiner position exactly. Note, that I am using one example of an announcement, but every GS-7 patent announcement I have seen is structured the same way.

"BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: To be considered for this position, you must have either: (A) successfully completed a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in Engineering; OR (B) a combination of qualifying education and experience:

A) Successfully completed a full 4-year course of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor's or higher degree in Engineering (See REQUIRED DOCUMENTS)"

No where does that mention GPA. So its not a basic requirement. So lets look at the additional requirements:

"ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: (In addition to the BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS)

GS-7:

A) Superior Academic Achievement (SAA). This can be defined by one of the following:

   1) Class standing—Upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the "School of Engineering and Applied Science" or "College of Science and Technology" based on completed courses.

   2) Grade point average (GPA) as recorded on the final transcript—

       i) 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 (“B” or better) as recorded on the official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or

      ii) 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 (“B+” or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum.

    The GPA is rounded to one decimal place. (2.95 = 3.0 and 2.94 = 2.9). The final transcript must cover the period being used to determine the GPA.

   3) Honor Society membership--Election to membership in a national scholastic honor society. Click here for a list of qualified honor societies."

The part you're referring to. The other part:

"OR

B) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-5 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying basic engineering and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; planning and conducting research; applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc.

OR

C) Have at least one year of graduate level education from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements. If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study.

OR

D) Have less than the full amount of graduate education as described in “C” above and less than the amount of experience described in “B” above, but have a combination “B” and “C” above."

So, there are two requirements to be hired as a GS-7 engineering patent examiner, a) a 4 year degree in an engineering discipline(or a combination of classes and experience), and b) SAA or a year of experience equivalent to the GS-5 level or a year of grad school or a combination of experience and grad school. Nowhere is a GPA of 3.0+ strictly required.

Are you sure you have the reading skills to be a patent examiner maxwell?

Reply
maxwell (Jun 20, 2013 - 12:13 am)

I stand corrected. You're right, I should have read it more carefully- it looks theoretically possible for someone with below a 3.0 to get hired. I guess I'll find out about my skills July 15th. See ya at Madison West.

Reply
agpp (Jun 19, 2013 - 10:12 pm)

Thanks for the clarification, crisis. Honestly, Maxwell what are you doing here anyway? This isn't your "ask me anything" thread, and you already admitted you don't even work there, yet here you are filling the joint with douchecockery and inaccurate information.

Crisis is right, SAA is not a bright-line rule, its a sufficient condition for meeting the additional requirements, but it is not a necessary condition. I have no reason to believe anything you have said here or further up the thread is accurate, including the alleged offer you've been sitting on.

Reply
maxwell (Jun 20, 2013 - 12:52 am)

I guess I was being kinda of a douche. Apologies. I can tell you for sure they are still calling people for the Detroit office for the July 15th class, so you may still have a shot.

Reply
skyla393 (Jun 20, 2013 - 4:50 pm)

Has anyone heard anything (through the grapevine or otherwise) about when the PTO might revive its law school tuition reimbursement program?

Reply
lowiqgentile (Jun 20, 2013 - 8:12 pm)

Maxwell:
thanks for graciously acknowledging your faux pas......I am a little confused as to why you say that they are still calling folks for the July 15 class but officially there are no openings for examiners...........btw I am over 40 and only have a BSEE ... I take it that grad degrees predominate although not exclusively
Thanks in advance

Reply
maxwell (Jun 21, 2013 - 1:13 am)

I live near the pto in Alexandria. Running around old town, I network with patent attorneys, agents, current examiners and future examiners at bars, restaurants, gym, etc. People got calls for the Detroit office this week. These people applied in March, when the positions were officially open.

I don't think your age is gonna be an issue.. I see all different ages of people transition from private practice to the pto, and vice versa.

Your BSEE should be good. That's what I've gotten selected with, (although I have a BSCE as well- double majored). The only thing in common that I've seen with all the people who got selected for the upcoming class that they have EE, CE, or ME background and high gpa, above a 3.0. Talking with some current examiners who've been around, their seeing an increasing number of people with masters, JDs, and phds. But I think this applies more so to the other arts. Also, experienced examiners are somewhat of a rarity around here, as most hotel. So when I say I talk with current examiners who've been around, I mean been around 2 or 3 years only. Still, Alexandria is a great place to network whether you wanna get into the pto or you wanna get into private practice.

Reply
reset (Jun 24, 2013 - 12:51 pm)

I have been an avionics engineer for past 12 years. I've been looking for something in DC area and my fried suggested that USPTO is hiring. I applied, got an interview and an offer. I am so confused about what to do now? I have an engineering career path going with one of the big defense contractor. I am currently safe here but always on the lookout. I've nothing attached to the current area at the moment. If anyone of you have switched job from being an engineer to a patent examiner? Is it worth the switch after 10 years of experience? Is it easy to switch to another government agencies like DARPA, FAA or NASA after joining USPTO...just incase I find out that patent examiner is really not my thing. I have asked many and many have suggested they would do it only because it's something different and you'll not erase your 10+ years of experience in 2-3 years of something different?

Nick

Reply
reset (Jun 25, 2013 - 3:58 pm)

I have been an avionics engineer for past 12 years. I've been looking for something in DC area and my fried suggested that USPTO is hiring. I applied, got an interview and an offer. I am so confused about what to do now? I have an engineering career path going with one of the big defense contractor. I am currently safe here but always on the lookout. I've nothing attached to the current area at the moment. If anyone of you have switched job from being an engineer to a patent examiner? Is it worth the switch after 10 years of experience? Is it easy to switch to another government agencies like DARPA, FAA or NASA after joining USPTO...just incase I find out that patent examiner is really not my thing. I have asked many and many have suggested they would do it only because it's something different and you'll not erase your 10+ years of experience in 2-3 years of something different?

Nick

Reply
pvmurty (Jun 26, 2013 - 11:29 am)

Nick:
When did you apply for Patent Examiner position Detroit Office? ou get the job offer? I understand that PE positions are being filled lat.
Thanks,When were you interviewed nd when did y

Reply
pvmurty (Jun 26, 2013 - 11:31 am)

Nick:
When did you apply for Patent Examiner position at Detroit Office? When were you interviewed and when did you get the job offer? I understand that PE positions are being filled late. Sorry for typo errors.
Thanks,

Reply
jason (Jun 26, 2013 - 11:41 pm)

Nick:
How many days after interview did you receive your job offer?

Reply
mich1968 (Jun 26, 2013 - 11:56 pm)

102(b) rejection question

claim claims an input shaft and an output shaft. disclosure/pics show two separate shafts, each about 1/3 of the way through. one from the front and one from the back.

prior art discloses a single shaft going all the way through

is an argument that the prior art does not show an input shaft and an output shaft sufficient to over come the 102(b) rejection?

Reply
malletofmalice (Jun 27, 2013 - 12:16 am)

Well you can argue just about anything, but if the Examiner has taken a very broad position, then he's not going to back down that easily.

Reply
patentesq (Jul 1, 2013 - 6:50 pm)

It gets around the 102(b) but is there some benefit or advantage for the shaft to be in 2 pieces rather than 1? If not, the examiner could just reject the claim under 103 in the next office action.

Reply
jason (Jun 28, 2013 - 10:37 am)

Maxwell:
Reckoned from date of interview how long does it take to get the job offer?
thanks,

Reply
maxwell (Jun 28, 2013 - 2:16 pm)

jason- the time line from interview to job offer varies. I applied for the current round in March, interviewed in early April, received an email telling me that hiring was postponed due to budget issues in early May, and then received an offer late May/early June. When I applied last year, it took them 6 months to tell me I was not selected. Sometimes it takes multiple rounds to get selected, and the time associated with applying, interview, and selected/not selected is different in each case. This was my experience.

Reply
jason (Jun 29, 2013 - 8:45 am)

Maxwell:
Glad to know you are selected for PE position at Detroit. So perhaps you will be joining July 15 information session. I am still hoping to get an offer and when is the next information session after July 15?
Thanks

Reply
reset (Jul 1, 2013 - 2:39 pm)

My question...is it worth to switch career from avionics engineer to become a Patent examiner? Is it easy to transfer between federal agencies (i.e NASA, DARPA ect), if I don't like the job?

Reply
maxwell (Jul 1, 2013 - 5:50 pm)

reset-I would try the following:

First, I would try and contact as many people at NASA and/or DARPA as possible and ask them about transferring from the pto. There seems to be phone numbers associated with the application and hiring process. With a little diligence, you might be able to catch a break on a good lead.

Second, I would visit websites/blogs/forums geared towards people applying to NASA/DARPA positions, for example, there are sites geared towards people trying to obtain security clearance for these federal positions. I would research and post questions associated with the security clearance process (to make it relevant), then maneuver and follow up with inquiries requesting guidance about the transfer process from pto to NASA, if anyone's done it, how it went, etc.

Third, I know that NASA technology is patented, i.e., NASA patents. So if you can get into a TC and AU where you are exposed to this technology, that might really help your chances of eventually transferring. However, I'm not sure how this can be accomplished.

Keep in mind, the general consensus seems to be that examining is a dead end for engineering careers.

Good luck

Reply
reset (Jul 8, 2013 - 1:02 pm)

Maxwell, I understand that examining is a dead end for engineering career. But, does this open up other positions in research fields other than engineer? or the only avenue would be patent attorney or law side of things?

I just want to move to DC area. Would you recommend this to someone who have 10+ years for experience and wouldn't mind trying this because at least he can be in DC area.

Nick

Reply
maxwell (Jul 12, 2013 - 11:47 pm)

I'm not sure if examining would open opportunities in non-engineering research related fields. IMHO, it will depend on the specific research industry/position. You should contact people in those specific fields to get a better understanding of the impact of examining.

If you want to live in the DC area, examining, from what I hear, is a pretty good gig if you get a chill SPE and/or primary. Lots of work/life balance, plus fed benes.

Reply
jason (Jul 9, 2013 - 3:11 pm)

Maxwell:
I was interviewed on June 18. Received email notification that I am not selected for the GS-9 position at Detroit. No reasons are given. I am 64 years old with PhD and other research experience. My application for GS-7 position at Virginia is still pending and no decision is communicated. Is it a wise move to seek review of the decision to not select? What reasons could I give because reasons for rejection are not given. I have every reason to believe that my advanced age may have been a major factor in this decision. What should I do? Can we ask for reasons for not selecting? What reasons can USPTO if the decision has something to do with age incompatibility? Do you think I still have a chance for the GS-7 position at Virginia USPTO?
Thanks for your advice

Reply
maxwell (Jul 12, 2013 - 11:58 pm)

I've never heard of anyone reviewing a non selection. As far you as you not be selected, there could be various reasons:

1. All the people I know that got hired within the last year have at least one of EE, CE, or ME and higher than a 3.0. Maybe that had something to do with it.

2. Sometimes it takes multiple rounds to get selected. Definitely apply again.

3. Some current examiners have told me that it's essentially a key word search on your resume for hits. Hits = words associated with an 'in demand' tech area. Did you have a fed style resume? If not, I highly recommend it before applying again, incorporating all the tech areas (that you are familiar with) and their corresponding terminology into your resume.

Reply
jason (Jul 14, 2013 - 11:00 pm)

Maxwell:
Thanks. I am 64 years of age, have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering(GPA3.82), LLB (GPA 3.32) with specialization intellectual property rights, MBA, and 10 years of experience as faculty and 18 years of other experience. I am afraid they may have considered me tool old for an entry level position. Although applicants were interviewed on average for 30 minutes, I was interviewed introduced himself as a supervisor barely for 7 minutes and asked me very simple questions which I answered satisfactorily I believe. I did not hear anything unsatisfactory. As stated earlier I was interviewed by a single person. I see two factors that may have been the cause, advanced age, over qualification. I still have not heard anything from USPTO about my applications for Alexandria, Virginia applied in March 2013. Kindly help me and advise whether I still can hope? I need this job badly for family and persona reasons. I did make resume on the basis of Fed's resume. I can send you a copy of my resume if I can have your personal email ID. I do not want to display it for the rest.
Please advise me. Thanks for your help. I was about to send a mail to USPTO to please let me know the reasons for non-selection to prepare better for the next interview if called for the Virginia position. That may have been wrong and they may take a serious view against pending applications.

Reply
legendmine (Jul 23, 2013 - 9:55 am)

Hello all,

I was interviewed on 6/18 too, and still waiting for the decision. Is there anyone received the decision?

Reply
seekingnewjob (Jul 23, 2013 - 11:02 am)

Maxwell:
I applied in March for the mechanical examiner in Alexandria in March, had my interview first week of April. The last I heard from them was several weeks ago that my application is back in front of a hiring official. If the interview mentioned by the previous poster (legendmine) was his follow up interview, looks like I probably won't be considered this year.

I know what hurt my application was lack of IP experience. I have a BE, graduated top of my degree, and have 5+ years engineering experience. I know I can't get IP experience in time to re-apply next year, if they post an opening, but I was hoping to get some education. Can you recommend some courses I should take, or a specific college I should look at?

Reply
maxwell (Jul 23, 2013 - 7:40 pm)

I was about to tell you to take the patent bar, however, I just noticed that positions have opened up on usajobs, which will not give you enough time. Make sure to apply again with a proper fed style resume, and emphasize researching activities and projects you have worked on.

In my opinion, more formal education and/or college courses will not help. (Unless you get a full-out MS)
Even though you won't be able to list it on your resume this round, take the pat bar and obtain your reg number.

Reply
seekingnewjob (Jul 24, 2013 - 9:32 am)

I noticed the posting as well. It will be near impossible for me to get any IP experience, even if I had a year, so I will have to hope that my credentials are good enough for an entry level position.

Reply
jason (Jul 24, 2013 - 9:59 am)

Maxwell:
Thanks. You are right. I saw the openings. Please see our last conversation and your advice. Kindly let me know some 'in demand tech areas' in mechanical engineering field if you are aware of. If not kindly let me know the source from where I can obtain these to enable me to incorporate or include suitable key words.
thanks
Jason

Reply
impactwave (Jul 28, 2013 - 3:09 pm)

Has anyone got hired as examiner after the job was posted on USAJOB? or
Has anyone get contacted by PTO?

Reply
kdb12 (Jul 29, 2013 - 3:54 am)

Hello all.

Just an update. Had a phone interview with an SPE for a GS7 PE position in Alexandria, VA on 6/18/13. No call back or status update just yet. Same question as others - has anyone heard anything yet?

The current USAJobs listing for the PE positions shows the following:

Here is a general idea of the timing of the process from the date the vacancy announcement closes (or a cutoff date occurs):

1. OHR reviews applications for qualifications – about 2 weeks
2. Hiring Officials review applications, conduct interviews and make selections – about 4-6 weeks
3. OHR extends job offers – about 1-2 weeks

TOTAL ESTIMATED TIME FRAME – Approximately 10 weeks


^^The above seems pretty accurate so far, so that means the 6/18 interviewees should be hearing a response soon. If anyone gets any word, keep us posted! I shall do the same.

Best of luck :)

Reply
kdb12 (Jul 29, 2013 - 3:57 am)

Random follow up question. Does it hurt to reapply when new PE positions open up - even if you've already been given a phone interview for the same position a few months back?

Any input would be appreciated.

Reply
tbv9 (Jul 29, 2013 - 4:12 pm)

Hi everybody.

I also applied for the GS7 PE (Electrical Engineer) position in Alexandria year and had a phone interview in mid-June. Just recently my application status on the USAJobs website has been changed to 'You have been selected-we will contact you shortly', though I haven't yet been contacted. So it sounds like the OHR is moving through the process and will be contacting candidates soon.

Reply
imjusttryingtomakeit (Jul 29, 2013 - 4:31 pm)

Hi

If you are "selected" is that confirmation that the PTO will make an offer or do they do more screening on the applicant before extending an offer?

Reply
cacycle (Aug 2, 2013 - 10:02 am)

Great thread...hope it's still active. I've got a few questions I hope someone can answer. I'm 47, in the process of changing career from research to Patent Law. I have a Ph.D. in chemistry and 15 years industrial experience (as well as over 50 issued patents). I'm studying the MPEP and planning to take the Patent Bar in a couple months.

Should I consider being an examiner at the USPTO for a couple years to get the experience needed to apply to law firms as a patent agent?

Is there a period of time after working as an examiner where one cannot present cases before the USPTO? Would that hinder my effectiveness at a law firm?

If not the USPTO, what other routes are available to get the 2-years of experience law firms require?

Thanks in advance.

Reply
maxwell (Aug 3, 2013 - 1:05 pm)

"Should I consider being an examiner at the USPTO for a couple years to get the experience needed to apply to law firms as a patent agent?"

After being an examiner after a relatively grueling first couple of years, why in the world would you want to jump ship to be a patent AGENT at a firm? At the pto, you'll be making six figures (with OT) + eligible to work remotely (anywhere in the US) + federal benefits (health, dental, vision, retirement) + stability + work/life balance. I don't know why someone would leave the pto for a job as a patent agent at a firm.

I can at least see an argument to be made for jumping ship as a patent attorney at a firm.. but you won't see me making it.

"Is there a period of time after working as an examiner where one cannot present cases before the USPTO? Would that hinder my effectiveness at a law firm?"

There are rules and laws which ascribe certain limitations to
former examiners. My understanding is that those rules apply to filing apps as an inventor in your pto TC tech area and related industry. I have never, ever known these rules to hinder anyone's effectiveness at procuring a job at a firm and performing prop/pros services for the firms clients.

"If not the USPTO, what other routes are available to get the 2-years of experience law firms require?"

This field is difficult to break into because not only do firms want prep/pros experience, but they want it in specific tech areas. Prep/pros includes searching prior art in relation to client disclosures, drafting applications, and prosecuting those applications. There are searching companies out there like Landon. If you can manage to get a job at one of these companies, this may help you to procure a patent agent position at a firm after a year or so of experience.

Reply
impactwave (Aug 19, 2013 - 10:46 am)

I have never seen a person being hired as a "patent agent" unless:

1. He/she has profound experience in the field and has experience drafting/prosecuting IP matters, or

2. Had industrial experience that he/she can bring potential clients to the firm.

In most case it is #2.

Otherwise, you need a law degree.

Reply
jason (Aug 3, 2013 - 11:17 am)

Maxwell:
I was interviewed for GS-9 at Detroit and not selected. However the update shows that I am not selected for Virginia GS-7 and GS-9 position applied in March 2013. Not interviewed. Is it because I reapplied for GS-7 and GS-9 positions for Virginia re-advertised in July 2013. Has anybody else heard anything from USPTO about their application for Virginia against March 2013?

Reply
maxwell (Aug 3, 2013 - 1:09 pm)

I know people that re-apply while having pending applications, so I don't think that's the reason jason. Keep applying bro, I'm sure you'll eventually get through because, in my opinion, you have quality credentials.

Reply
jason (Oct 12, 2013 - 1:58 am)

Maxwell:
Your advice is on the whole the best. I have been not selected twice and am quite confident based on series of conjectures that the only plausible reason is advanced age. What remedy do I have? Will a representation for review a good option? Can I ask for the reasons for not selecting? Will they give? If they do not how would I get to know of the reasons for no selection?
Thanks or your help
Jason

Reply
jason (Aug 3, 2013 - 9:05 pm)

Maxwell:
Thanks. update shows that my application for Design Patent Engineer posted in July 2013 is separately referred to Selection Official. Hope I will get through. Thanks for your encouraging words and giving me hope.

Reply
impactwave (Aug 5, 2013 - 4:31 pm)

good luck.

Reply
eddiep (Aug 4, 2013 - 4:12 pm)

Hey stuckingov or anyone else,

I was curious of your thoughts on working at the pto. I am an ee patent attorney and have considered the thought of joining the PTO at some point in the future.

I have read various reviews from former examiners and a number of these folks expressed frustrations with the PTO. Obviously, there will always be a number of former employees who do not speak highly of their previous position, but some of these folks made it sound like Examiners have to work very hard and even harder than folks in law firms, unforced OT and how it is not a 40 hour/week job. How many hours/week do folks at the PTO work? Do you feel like an Examiner would have to work as hard or harder than patent attorneys in firms?

I have heard from other people that an Examiner position is a pretty good job once you get efficient at your craft and know what you are doing.

Working in a law firm is no picnic so I am trying to get a gauge of whether the PTO would offer a better work/life balance versus a law firm. Thoughts? I also am curious how hard is the job compared to law school? The bar?

Thanks for the help! Ed

Reply
actionsperdisposal (Dec 11, 2013 - 5:01 am)

Hi Eddiep,
Most new pe struggle to a certain degree for the first
few years. However, this varies quite a bit on aptitude, background, SPE/primary, art, family status, personality and luck.
If you are a pat attorney in with EE. I would say you should be able to make the transition with out too much
trouble. However, keep in mind the smoothest way to do the Job is as a Primary Examiner. If decide to make the jump then
do whatever it takes to get to primary or in my opinion it would not be worth it for you. At the Pto nothing else really counts, not Gs levels, experience as an pat. Attorney etc. unless you
you can sign all of your own work as a primary there is potential for mild to severe bumps and/or hiccups even after one has been at the office for a while.
Salary wise if you max out on overtime and bonuses (easier to do as a primary too) you can make 150k +. Ok money but probably around the starting
Salary in private industry. But very solid work life balance and in as little as two years you can work from home out the state of your choice.
-peace , sorry for typos ...dis this from a smartphone

Reply
actionsperdisposal (Dec 11, 2013 - 5:17 am)

And I should say it takes at least 4 to 5 years to hit primary. Most people it takes 5. You would have an advantage as a pat attorney since you have already taken the bar. Even without being a primary you should be able to break 100k by year two or three.

Reply
gregorco (Aug 15, 2013 - 2:19 pm)

Hello,
If you're still answering questions I'd appreciate your insight. Where are the rules or guidelines describing the extent to which a single patent can be issued that describes multiple versions/variations on a single main design of a tool? For example if the tool needs to be attached to the end of any given stick/pole, of any diameter, then can a single patent define multiple variations on the shape/configuration of the part of the tool that will be lashed to the pole? I've considered many different ways that that part can be shaped/configured and all will work with varying degrees of ease, but will each one require a separate patent?

Thank you for your time.

Gregor

Reply
impactwave (Aug 15, 2013 - 2:36 pm)

yes

Reply
shaku (Aug 19, 2013 - 12:48 pm)

Hello,

Is it possible to get hired as a patent examiner if you you meet all the requirements but you are over 65?

Thanks.

Reply
jason (Aug 19, 2013 - 10:17 pm)

Hello:
Has anyone got hired against March 2013 job posting at Alexandria Virginia for Patent Examiner position at GS-7 and or GS-9? Did USPTO interview candidates for this job posting or just sent mails of No Selection or cancellation because a new job posting was done for Patent Examiner GS-7/GS-9 grades at Alexandria, Virginia in August 2013 with last date 11-8-2013?

Reply
impactwave (Aug 27, 2013 - 8:37 am)

As far as I know, some ppl got job offer from March 2013 posting.

New job posting is separate posting.

Reply
impactwave (Aug 26, 2013 - 10:01 am)

Have anyone got response from PTO form August 2013 job posting. If you have, please let me know. Thank you.

Reply
jjohn (Sep 9, 2013 - 5:03 pm)

I have a phone interview with the PTO soon. What is the interview going to be like? What kind of questions will they ask me? Is the phone interview the only interview? Thanx

Reply
maxwell (Sep 9, 2013 - 8:42 pm)

Mostly behavioral questions, about 45 minutes. They will probably ask at least one or more, or combination, of the following:

Define the USPTO and what they do.
Describe the last confrontational situation you were in and how you solved it.
Describe a situation/project where you had to prepare a technical paper/presentation.
When was the last time you had an assignment that had to get completed quickly and how did you organize/manage your time.
When was the last time you had to convince your supervisor that he/she did not necessarily believe in and what did you do to try to persuade them.
How would you describe the process for patents?
How do you handle constructive criticism?

What do you know about the US and international patent system, what it does and its goals?
What do you know about the USPTO and intellectual Property?
What do you know about the USPTO and what a Patent Examiner does?
How would you describe the process for patents?

For GS 11,
They will ask about a recent patent case you've applied in your experience, and how you applied it..specifically.

Reply
jason (Sep 26, 2013 - 2:32 am)

How far is the good news about your selection?

Reply
jjohn (Sep 9, 2013 - 10:47 pm)

Thank you Maxwell for your thorough answer. Any idea if the phone interview is the only interview? Thanx

Reply
impactwave (Sep 30, 2013 - 1:00 pm)

Hmm... will gov shut down affect hiring?

Reply
patentesq (Sep 30, 2013 - 1:50 pm)

Pretty sure the PTO is going to have a hiring freeze if the gov't shuts down... Examiners will not come to work. It will be a ghost town at PTO headquarters.

Reply
patentesq (Sep 30, 2013 - 3:05 pm)

From the PTO website:

USPTO Operation Status
In the event of a general government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open, using prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for approximately four weeks. We continue to assess our fee collections compared to our operating requirements to determine how long we will be able to operate in this capacity during a general government shutdown. We will provide an update as more definitive information becomes available.

Should we exhaust these reserve funds before a general government shutdown comes to an end, USPTO would shut down at that time, although a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions. (Should it become necessary for USPTO to shut down, details of the agency’s plan for an orderly shutdown are available on page 78 of the United States Department of Commerce’s shutdown plan, available here.)

Any new or updated public information related to USPTO operations during a potential government shutdown will be placed on this page.

Reply
omaruspto (Oct 2, 2013 - 12:13 pm)

Hello,

I applied to for the GS-7 Patent Examiner EE position in July for Alexandria.

I had an interview around Sept. 10.

Now, the government is shutting down and it seems like the USPTO might be open for about 4 weeks.

Will the shutdown affect hiring?

Reply
jason (Oct 7, 2013 - 9:04 am)

Have you heard anything from USPTO? It is almost 4 weeks since you were interviewed.

Reply
jason (Oct 7, 2013 - 9:04 am)

Have you heard anything from USPTO? It is almost 4 weeks since you were interviewed.

Reply
engineernotjd (Oct 7, 2013 - 9:10 am)

***2nd Post- first one is wedged toward the top of the thread

I was just "selected" (via USA jobs) and have several questions.

1. I haven't seen the offer yet, will there be any ability to negotiate starting or target GS grade/step pays?
2. I can handle doing the same thing for a while (years) but eventually get a bit bored. Would there be opportunities every few years (2-6) to advance/ change roles? I see going to law school, but after that...
3. I have a PhD, background as chemical engineer with a focus on electrochemistry and fuel cells. I also have a battery background but have a preference toward the first. If I get assigned to a battery patent group, am I stuck there for life?
4. I also like to have interactions with people on a regular basis- discussion of work, team environment. Does any of that exist or is this position more preferable for hermits?
5. How much overtime can one get? Is it always available or is it dependent upon other factors. Prior posts suggested it is based on the unit and the funds at any given moment. Just curious how it works in reality.
6. How is performance evaluated?

The benefits all seem good and DC would be a fun place to live, though expensive. With PTO and flex scheduling, I figured the working days in a calendar year to be comparable to a teacher- sounds pretty good to me.

Thank you in advance for your time and help!

Reply
jason (Oct 8, 2013 - 4:41 am)

engineernotjd
Gld to hear. When did you apply and when were you interviewed?

Reply
impactwave (Oct 12, 2013 - 2:01 am)

I also received a tentative offer 2 weeks ago. I applied Aug 10th and had an interview on Sept 13th. The starting date is Nov 4th if Gov't shut down ends. They pretty much follow the hiring schedule posted on USAJOBS.

Reply
jason (Oct 12, 2013 - 2:00 am)

Maxwell:
Maxwell:
Your advice is on the whole the best. I have been not selected twice and am quite confident based on series of conjectures that the only plausible reason is advanced age. What remedy do I have? Will a representation for review a good option? Can I ask for the reasons for not selecting? Will they give? If they do not how would I get to know of the reasons for no selection?
Thanks or your help
Jason

Reply
impactwave (Oct 12, 2013 - 2:21 am)

I am sorry to hear that. I really hoped you get the job since I read your post several times in this thread. I don't think PTO refused to hire you because of your age since that is against the law. and who knows? you may find much better job than this one. I hope you find a job that is best for you.

Reply
jason (Oct 14, 2013 - 6:52 am)

impactwave:
My first interview lasted very short time in comparison on normal 30 minutes average. The second interview was or full length of 30 minutes and my feeling at the end was that the interviewer was satisfied and even i was asked which grade I would like to.

One last question. Is USPTO justified on rejecting on grounds of age because I am 65 years? Although it may b illegal to discriminate on grounds of age they may have thought this age too high. Did you come across anyone in the age group of above 60 hired for PE position? Are there PE's of over 60 working as PE at USPTO? Is there a scope for selection for review if I make a formal case for review instead of informal mails to HRD for review? What do you suggest?

I do not want to fight with USPTO which makes no sense but would like to make a case for review based on my specific background. One approach would be to write to the Head of commerce and the other is to Head of HR. the other choice is to go through the proper channel of filing a formal case with competent authority. My worry is that it may boomerang and hurt other chances anywhere else. I am new to USA and its Government Work Culture. Could you kindly help and advise?
Thanks for your help.
Jason

Reply
jason (Oct 14, 2013 - 6:57 am)

Maxwell:
Your advice and that of impactwave are very satisfying and so I am posing the same question which I did to impactwave. I would request you to help me with your advice.

My first interview lasted very short time in comparison on normal 30 minutes average. The second interview was or full length of 30 minutes and my feeling at the end was that the interviewer was satisfied and even i was asked which grade I would like to.

One last question. Is USPTO justified on rejecting on grounds of age because I am 65 years? Although it may b illegal to discriminate on grounds of age they may have thought this age too high. Did you come across anyone in the age group of above 60 hired for PE position? Are there PE's of over 60 working as PE at USPTO? Is there a scope for selection for review if I make a formal case for review instead of informal mails to HRD for review? What do you suggest?

I do not want to fight with USPTO which makes no sense but would like to make a case for review based on my specific background. One approach would be to write to the Head of commerce and the other is to Head of HR. the other choice is to go through the proper channel of filing a formal case with competent authority. My worry is that it may boomerang and hurt other chances anywhere else. I am new to USA and its Government Work Culture. Could you kindly help and advise?
Thanks for your help.
Jason

Reply
userl (Apr 4, 2014 - 4:56 am)

I recently got the Patent Examiner job offer at GS9. My current job in Private sector is very good in terms of comp. I have to take around 40% of salary cut to join in the PE position. Considering I am hitting the max comp ceiling in private in next 3-4 years, is it wise to take the cut and join in the PE position? Is the PE position going to give the job security + growth for next 10 years? Thanks in advance for the advice.

Reply
jason (May 12, 2014 - 9:38 am)

when did you apply? how long did it take for you to get the job offer?

Reply
tryingtomakeliving (Apr 27, 2014 - 9:16 pm)

I had a horrible telephone interview not long ago. At the end, I was raising my voice and my tone was very negative. This is the first time I had such a bad experience during a telephone interview. All the other interviews I have had have been productive and friendly- often including jokes thrown in here and there by me and the examiner(s). Since that experience, however, I have been having difficulty contacting a couple of (different) examiners for an interview. Am I being paranoid (something I've been known to do!), or have I made it onto some kind of applicant representative black list!

Reply
rlgoo (Apr 29, 2014 - 3:58 pm)

is this thread still going? made a cert for 7 and 9 for design pe in the mid-end of march and found out i made the cert and was referred around april 5... was wondering if they tend to follow timeline. i am currently a higher gs level but PEs are on a different, increased GS scale than the rest of us in gov land... was wondering if one would def be interviewed and if the timeline of 10 weeks holds true? i am 92% sure i submitted my most recent performance review, in which i was given high marks. been tryin to get in with pto for a few years now.

thanks in advance.

Reply
lucylew (Jul 30, 2014 - 8:06 pm)

I was wondering if the thread was still going on myself. I am here even if no one else is....

Reply
foliage (Jun 26, 2014 - 12:18 pm)

How does the quota system work at pto? How difficult is it for the average person? And do they make it easier for examiners in a field where the patents are tougher or take longer to examine?

Reply
impactwave (Aug 28, 2014 - 2:06 pm)

If you are good at doc review and have some brain capacity to understand wierdly translated tech document, you will not have difficulty.

And do they make it easier for examiners in a field where the patents are tougher or take longer to examine? No.

Reply
navi23 (Jul 17, 2014 - 2:26 pm)

Do you know if uspto has stopped hiring due to Alice case? It's been a while since I applied but have not heard any thing yet. I wonder if they stop hiring this yesr. Any info is appreciated! thanks.

Reply
navi23 (Jul 17, 2014 - 3:17 pm)

Do you know if it's ok for me to send an e-mail uspto HR and check the status of my application? Or is that a no no?

Reply
lucylew (Jul 30, 2014 - 8:05 pm)

navi23: What is the Alice case? I know they had a cut-off for July 10, 2014. I would imagine that they are still reviewing those applications. If they have started to reach out for interviews, nobody knows. You can contact the HR, but they are probably swamped right now. If you applied through USAJOBS, then it might be best to wait for the lights to switch on there. Good luck with your recent application!

Reply
navi23 (Aug 14, 2014 - 3:18 pm)

thanks lucylew, Article about Alice is here: http://ipspotlight.com/2014/07/15/alices-adventures-how-has-uspto-examination-changed-since-in-the-first-few-weeks-after-alice-v-cls-bank/
I got the interview last week, now at the waiting period.

Reply
navi23 (Aug 21, 2014 - 1:37 pm)

Got OF-306 form and filled it out, still waiting for offer, hopefully it's coming soon. Does anyone filled out 306 and did not get offer? Any info is appreciated.

Reply
fab703 (Aug 22, 2014 - 12:05 pm)

Hello navi23,

I also submitted my OF-306 this week. It seems that we should be hearing from them in the next 2 weeks.

Good luck.

Reply
lucylew (Aug 22, 2014 - 3:35 pm)

navi23,

You have already gotten your interview. Did they send you a phone or email offer? If so, the OF-306 is a required federal form so they can do some sort of a background investigation on you. I don't know if the results of the OF-306 would nullify any temporary offer. I am sure as long as you have been truthful and all, you should be good. Hang in there and keep us posted!

Reply
navi23 (Aug 28, 2014 - 2:44 pm)

lucylew,

I got the offer. They called first then followed up with e-mail to confirm. Thank you for all your support.

fab703,

Did you get your offer? I hope you do, good luck!

Reply
aakindel (Sep 3, 2014 - 5:20 pm)

Hello navi23, please if you don't mind, can I know what your discipline is. Also, please if you still remember. What were the interview questions you were asked? I am preparing for an interview on September 11 and I just want to nail the interview. Hope you can be of assistance. I'd really be appreciative.

Reply
lucylew (Aug 28, 2014 - 10:26 pm)

navi23,

I am really glad that you got the job offer. I am *assuming* that you accepted. What was the estimated time-frame from when you applied till you got the offer? On the website, it says ~10 weeks. I just wanted to know if that still held true?

Reply
navi23 (Aug 29, 2014 - 9:42 am)

lucylew,

I applied back in mid May, the process did take a long time. Also it depends on when the cutoff is at the time you appy.

Reply
fab703 (Aug 29, 2014 - 9:50 am)

Yes, navi23 I did. My orientation is on Set. 22.

Lucylew - it is right, from the closing date till the offer was ~10 weeks.

Reply
pat12 (Aug 29, 2014 - 12:57 pm)

Did anyone who interviewed on August 14 hear back yet? Thanks!

Reply
lucylew (Aug 29, 2014 - 9:58 pm)

pat12,

Was the cutoff date for yours July 10? If so, I am not sure if anyone has heard as of yet. Keep checking USAJOBS if that is how you applied. I have heard that it takes as little as a week to as much as 2 weeks to see it being switched to "selected". Good luck and keep us posted!

navi23 and fab703 and anyone else who may be able to answer:

I just received a notice that I was referred to the selecting official. How long does it take to see if I will be interviewed. Do they normally interview everyone who is referred to the Selecting official or what?

pat12,

This is also going to the Labor day weekend so be patient as a lot of people might be taking off for that very reason.

Reply
pat12 (Aug 29, 2014 - 11:22 pm)

Thanks for the reply! Yup, the cutoff date for mine was July 10. I've been constantly checking USA Jobs for updates, and hopefully, it's because of Labor Day weekend that they are taking longer for responses like you said.

Also to answer your question, I received an interview invitational exactly one week after I was referred to the selecting official. Good luck to you! :)

Reply
aakindel (Sep 3, 2014 - 5:17 pm)

Hello pat12, please if you don't mind, can I know what your discipline is. Also, please if you still remember. What were the interview questions you were asked? I am preparing for an interview on September 11 and I just want to nail the interview. Hope you can be of assistance. I'd really be appreciative.

Reply
pat12 (Sep 3, 2014 - 6:33 pm)

I applied for the mechanical engineering position. You can find the interview questions they ask here: http://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/US-Patent-and-Trademark-Office-Interview-Questions-E41351.htm?sort.sortType=RD&sort.ascending=false

Hope this helps and good luck!

Reply
aakindel (Sep 3, 2014 - 6:41 pm)

thanks for your response

Reply
lucylew (Sep 3, 2014 - 7:27 pm)

aakindel,

What discipline are you applying for?

Reply
aakindel (Sep 3, 2014 - 8:12 pm)

Hello lucylew, I am applying for Chemical Engineering/Petroleum Engineering GS 7 position. Please, if you have any information, or ways you can help me with preparing for my interview, I'd gladly appreciate it. By the way, what is you area of discipline?

Reply
lucylew (Sep 4, 2014 - 1:12 pm)

aakindel,

Go to glassdoor.com and read all of the reviews. It gives you specific questions they will ask on the interview process. I, personally haven't gone through the interview process so I can't tell you definites. Review copies of your transcripts, resume, research abstracts you might have. And, also, review the organizational structure of USPTO. Those are my thoughts. Good Luck!

Reply
aakindel (Sep 4, 2014 - 7:40 pm)

thanks so much for the advice. I really appreciate your efforts in responding to me. Have a wonderful weekend.

Reply
aakindel (Sep 14, 2014 - 11:26 am)

Hello pat12, I did the interview already, please can you let me know when you did your interview, how long did it take to receive your OF306 form, which I believe is the employment declaration form. Thanks for your help.

Reply
lucylew (Aug 30, 2014 - 9:31 am)

pat12,

Good luck to you! Keep us posted when you hear something. navi23 and fab 703 were selected and hope that thread continues with us.

BTW, if you are selected, wouldn't you be placed on the October PTA?

Reply
navi23 (Sep 5, 2014 - 10:06 am)

I got in the interviw one week after receiving status referred to selecting official.
lucylew,
Did you have the interview yet?

Reply
lucylew (Sep 7, 2014 - 4:40 pm)

navi23,

No, I haven't had the interview yet.

pat12: Did you get your offer yet?

Reply
lucylew (Sep 9, 2014 - 10:38 am)

pat12,

Did you get "selected"?

Reply
langarri (Sep 15, 2014 - 2:29 pm)

First, this Q&A has been very helpful. Thank you!
I just earned a PhD in physics and I'm interested in becoming and Patent Examiner. Looking on usajobs.gov, the examiner positions I see are all for engineers (mechanical, chemical, or computer). They ask engineering specific assessment questions that I don't think I would score very highly on. Everyone says science is a good background for patent examiners, so are there more science focused patent examiner positions that I should wait for, or should I apply to the engineer positions? Thanks!

Reply
lucylew (Sep 16, 2014 - 12:17 am)

langarri,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for taking the time to post. I am not quite sure how it works for someone with any degree in Physics. I do know that they will accept applications from Chemistry, Physics and Biology. But, I am not sure as to how that factors in when they specifically state they are looking for Engineers. If I were you, I would apply anyways and be very careful to note the differences in curriculum. Use the "engineering" lingo on your resume so your resume won't get lost in the shuffle. I am curious as to what others might think on this. By all means, apply. All they can do is say yes or no.

Reply
Post a message in this thread