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   Working for the USPTO
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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 346629 times)
patent_exam
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1080 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 8:20am »
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You can work your way up to a GS-14 as an examiner.  
That is the highest level for examiners.  You do not need any special degree to get to GS-14, just your bachelors.  You work your way up by getting promoted.  
To get promoted to GS-13, you have to pass the certification exam.  To get promoted to GS-14, you have to pass the signatory program.  So, yes, all GS-14s have full sig authority.  
 
GS-15 are management positions, such as SPE (supervisory patent examiner).  In order to be promoted to this position, you  have to interview, pass a test ( I believe) and be selected to be a  manager.  These manager promotions are competitive with each other, whereas examiner promotions are not.
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MikeM
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1081 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 10:13am »
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on Jul 4th, 2007, 11:01pm, reese wrote:
Hi. Is it true that if you have a master's degree you could work your way up to being a GS-15 level patent examiner?  Also, is there a way to become a GS-14 examiner without having full signatory authority?

 
You can work your way up to GS-15 no matter what degree you came in with... your degree just determines your starting grade.  Getting GS-15 without becoming a SPE or such is difficult though.  You're not going to get GS-14 without becoming a primary examiner (full sig).
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MikeM
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1082 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 10:37am »
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on Jul 5th, 2007, 8:20am, patent_exam wrote:
You can work your way up to a GS-14 as an examiner.  
That is the highest level for examiners.  You do not need any special degree to get to GS-14, just your bachelors.  You work your way up by getting promoted.  
To get promoted to GS-13, you have to pass the certification exam.  To get promoted to GS-14, you have to pass the signatory program.  So, yes, all GS-14s have full sig authority.  
 
GS-15 are management positions, such as SPE (supervisory patent examiner).  In order to be promoted to this position, you  have to interview, pass a test ( I believe) and be selected to be a  manager.  These manager promotions are competitive with each other, whereas examiner promotions are not.

 
There is a GS-15 examiner program where you can get all the way to GS-15 without moving into management... There are various titles for it (expert examiner, etc), but they all amount to the same thing: be there a long time, have exemplary work, and be willing to accept a position factor of 1.5 for your production (which is a ridonkulous amount of work!)
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bobjay
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1083 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 8:27pm »
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on Jul 3rd, 2007, 10:04pm, Anon Examiner wrote:

 
It completely depends on how quickly you can churn out cases with proper grounds of rejection.  What you want to do is learn how to do the job right and build an enormous pipeline.  If your rejections are proper all the time then applicants will continuously be forced to file RCEs and you will get a huge number of counts for doing nothing.
 
You actually make more money at the lower levels billing overtime than you do as a GS-14 primary at the lower steps doing the same amount of work.  I've been at the PTO for 3 years and will make at least 110k this year.  If you can produce like a primary examiner then you will get paid as much as one.  I even know someone that turned down a promotion because it would drop their salary.

 
 
if you don't mind telling me, since you're anon =)
 
what gs level/step did you start out at, what level/step are you now...
 
and how many hours overtime per biweek do you have to work to get to 110k?
 
is it true that you get paid 1.5x overtime u p to gs9 and from gs11 its only 1x paid overtime?
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Anon Examiner
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1084 on: Jul 5th, 2007, 10:00pm »
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on Jul 5th, 2007, 8:27pm, bobjay wrote:

 
 
if you don't mind telling me, since you're anon =)
 
what gs level/step did you start out at, what level/step are you now...
 
and how many hours overtime per biweek do you have to work to get to 110k?
 
is it true that you get paid 1.5x overtime u p to gs9 and from gs11 its only 1x paid overtime?

 
on Jul 5th, 2007, 8:27pm, bobjay wrote:

 
 
if you don't mind telling me, since you're anon =)
 
what gs level/step did you start out at, what level/step are you now...
 
and how many hours overtime per biweek do you have to work to get to 110k?
 
is it true that you get paid 1.5x overtime u p to gs9 and from gs11 its only 1x paid overtime?

 
I'm not going to disclose my exact grade/step for fear of outing myself.  Sorry.  I will tell you that I'm a GS-9 or above.  All GS-9 and above examiners are given a laptop so that they can bill overtime from home.
 
I'm billing about 40 hours of OT in an average bi-week.  I'm in the office for 80 hours a bi-week.
 
If your base rate is higher than 36.44/hour then your overtime rate is your base rate.  If your base rate is less than 36.44 an hour then your overtime rate is the lesser of  (1) 1.5x your base rate; and (2) 36.44/hour.  For GS-9s and most GS-11s this means that their overtime rate is 36.44 an hour.
 
If you want to make money early in your career at the PTO and are willing to work hard then I suggest getting hired at GS-11, step 10.  You'd maximize your returns because your base and overtime rate would be 39.80 an hour.  This is a very high rate for the amount of work required of a GS-11.  At GS-11, step 10, doing average primary examiner production, you're looking at about 130-140k/year.
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