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   Working for the USPTO
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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 348239 times)
thetruthandthewholetruth
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1165 on: Jul 21st, 2007, 7:44pm »
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It doesn't matter what you did in college, where you went to college, or your gpa.  These are just things to get you in the door after college. The bottom line is production.  You can have a  4.0 from Harvard and get fired because the job is not for you, or have a 2.5 from a community college and become a SPE.  The bottom line is motivation, dedication, and performance.  Both Intelligence and motivation are needed, and you will find that even the most well-accomplished out of college or industry are not always the best for the job.  
 
In addition, this job can't be taught in schools or industry or a law firm, it must be learned at the PTO because it mixes law and patent technical knowledge (knowing your classes and sub-classes of thousands upon thousands of patents dating from the 1800's) which you learn from doing the job.  
 
The technical degree helps with the learning curve and making production.  You can't be working on patents in the chemical art when your background is in electrical art, because you have to understand the prior art, and if you can't understand or find pertinent art within thousands upon thousands of patents (from drawings, specs, and claims) in I would say about ten hours on average and apply the law and MPEP regulations, you will see yourself out the door.  The degree IS NECESSARY because you have to be "one of ordinary skill in the art" a 2.5 is between C+ and B-, which suffices.
 
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Here is an example:
 
Try finding a patent that deals with a medium that has computer language for the purpose of creating a binary tree on a displaying medium, uses a heapsort and radixsort algorithm in sorting the binary tree, and uses a 802.11n standard when transmitting signals via an Ethernet card to a server.  
 
Without a degree, you would have to search each and every term you don't understand, figure out the relationships between items, and find a patent or patents with the exact wording or synonyms with the similiar combinations.  In addition, you have to figure out what is important and not important to help with prior art.  
 
Lets say you never heard those terms before, you are talking about hours or days searching for those terms and maybe another hour or less in understanding the relationships or if it is even possible to combine the items.  You can't discuss the patent that you are working on outside the office, so contacting a helpline is not possible.  It's all you.
 
Next, you have to search the prior art, and now you have to use every synonym in different combinations to find the prior art.  Lets say you use a thesaurus and takes another hour or two, because you never seen these words before and don't know the common vernacular used in the art. Referring back to combinations, if you don't have experience in the art you might have to pull out a text book of two to learn if its possible.
 
Next, the thousands upon thousand of patents you have to read.  This can easily be days or even months of searching because you have to read the specs, drawings and claims in addition to understanding terms you never seen before. [Even present examiners, sometime spend months searching an application, so in your case it might take years. Wink ]
 
Finally, you write your office action, and takes another 3-4 hours because you are not familiar with the law.  
 
In simple terms, you NEED the degree!
 
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The legal side is taught at the office and changes on a monthly basis.  Examiners must attend these mandatory meetings, lawyers are not required to take training or have mandatory classes dealing with the current rulings or laws.  Thus a lawyer that passed the patent bar ten or twenty years ago has a chance that they are not competent in today's prosecution of patents.  
 
In conclusion,  you need to be at least "one of ordinary skill in the art" or close to, thus a degree in the art is absolutely NECESSARY  and learn the legal side at the office.  So, basically at the office,  you are starting all over again, no matter if you have a post doc or a 2.5 gpa engineering degree or a JD.
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DeathBlow
Newbie
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Posts: 3
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1166 on: Jul 22nd, 2007, 12:19pm »
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Its not that bad. You aren't constantly looking at terms and structures that you've never seen before. You will be placed under a specific Class, and work on specific inventions. For instance there is over a dozen Classes alone for computer software.  
 
Once placed in a specific art you will then have some bit of a learning curve, but it won't take you very long (6mos -12mos) before those terms start to become much more familiar. Your SPA will most likely ask you which Class you would like to be placed into before a decision is made. So in a sense you have some control over your own desitiny.
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JD
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1167 on: Jul 23rd, 2007, 4:27pm »
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"Examiners must attend these mandatory meetings, lawyers are not required to take training or have mandatory classes dealing with the current rulings or laws.  Thus a lawyer that passed the patent bar ten or twenty years ago has a chance that they are not competent in today's prosecution of patents."
 
Only an examiner could have posted such an ignorant, uninformed statement.
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thetruthandthewholetruth
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1168 on: Jul 23rd, 2007, 8:26pm »
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If you don't believe me, google it.  Sometimes the ego of lawyers can get too big.  
 
www*uspto*gov/web/offices/pac/dapp/opla/comments/oedrep/borda.html
 
"It is not clear that there is a need for the mandatory continuing training requirement. It is true that there are many new PTO rules with which practitioners must become familiar. This is the responsibility of the individual and it is not clear that there is any need for the PTO to impose a requirement. If an applicant or patentee suffers damage because of a practitioner's ignorance, the practitioner may be disbarred by his or her state bar and by the PTO. Further, there may even be a suit for malpractice. On the other hand, mandatory CLE does not prevent malpractice. However, it is very important that the PTO provide numerous opportunities (such as the PTO Day) to educate the patent bar on the new rules."
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JD
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1169 on: Jul 24th, 2007, 7:46am »
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Please don't delude yourself, or any of the impressionable newbie examiners who may read your ridiculous post, into believing that because the examining corps is given an hour of other time every quarter or so to have some career PTO official (who's never practiced law for one second of his/her life) give a summary of 4 or 5 recent Fed. Cir. opinions that that makes the examining corps more up to date on recent rules and cae law.  That's just plain silly.
 
As your link correctly notes, attorneys disagreed with the proposal by OED to change the Rules to require "PTO CLE" because many of us already have state CLE requirements, e.g. 12 hours per year in Virginia.  
 
Attorneys keep current with the Rule changes and case law either in compliance with state CLE requirements, and/or on their own initiative in order to meet their professional obligations to maintain competence.  That's why they call it the "practice" of law.  
 
You can't seriously believe that some one hour training course at the PTO, where the case is "summarized" for you, makes you more knowledgeable about the current Rules and case law than a member of a state bar and the PTO bar who, hey, guess what, actually reads the case for him/herself.  You're embarrassing yourself with these posts.
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