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   Working for the USPTO
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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 342844 times)
JD
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1175 on: Jul 26th, 2007, 7:26am »
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Newb,
 
No insecurities here.  Just don't like to ridiculous misinformation, like that posted by "thetruth", go unanswered.
 
Isaac has it right.  All attorneys who are registered to practice before the PTO are also registered by a state bar.  (Agents no included.)  All of the state bars have rules of professional conduct that require attorneys to maintain current with changes in statutes/codes/ordinances/regulations/case law/etc.  
 
State CLE is not specific.  Yes, I could satisfy my Virginia 12 hour annual CLE requirement by taking a weekend long seminar in insurance law.  But I don't.  And neither do any of the other patent attorneys I know.
 
When OED proposed changing 37 CFR Section 10 about 2-3 years ago to require that registered practitioners take CLE administered by the PTO/OED, the comments from the patent bar were that it was unnecessary because it would be redundant as all practitioners have an obligation to maintain competence, and may also have CLE requirements.  In addition, many registered attorneys also have litigation, opinion, and licensing practices that "PTO CLE" would not reach.  Moreover, there was no evidence that CLE administered by the PTO would be any better than that which is administered by the AIPLA, IPO, ABA, PLI, and the slew of other CLE providers out there.
 
To its credit, the PTO listened to the comments from the patent bar and decided that PTO administered CLE was unnecessary.  "Thetruth's" attempt to use that comment as "proof" that attorneys don't have mandatory training is flat out incorrect.
 
Are there practitioners who are not current with many fo the rules and case law?  Yes.  Is the number any where near then number of examiners who are not current?  Hardly.
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info
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1176 on: Jul 26th, 2007, 7:44am »
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cdawg,
 
If you are hired as a GS9 you should get 1 accelerated promotion (a GS7 gets 2) which happens after 6 mos, this would be to a GS11.  About the steps, I think you go up two steps in pay, thus if you were GS9 step 8 your first promotion would probably be to a GS11 step 5.  After that the promotions are every year.  The promotions are based on performance, so if you're numbers aren't good enough you won't get it.  On the flip side as long as your numbers are good you will even if there are people doing better than you.  Good luck.
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applied
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1177 on: Jul 26th, 2007, 7:12pm »
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I read somewhere that for the first year during probation, your performance appraisal is not based on production. Then, what does PTO use as basis to promote a new hire after six months? Theoretically, he/she will still be attending the PTA.
 
A different question: Is getting the 6-month promotion a good idea? I presume that your production target number is much higher at GS-11 than at GS-9, thus you'll be risking the inability to achieve the target and hence your job as well. Am I right?  
 
Current patent examiners' experience on this and comments will be much appreciated.
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mk1023
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Posts: 52
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1178 on: Jul 26th, 2007, 7:58pm »
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Production does count while you're in the academy. If your production is low enough you can get fired before your probationary period is up but not usually while you're still in the academy.
 
Production is the primary factor that determines whether you get promoted. Coming in they told us they would use the last five biweeks average to determine our promotions. Lately they've been telling us we'll get promoted if you have the production levels AND your supervisor recommends it (emphasis on this part). They been having problems with too many people getting promoted and burning out. I've heard they're going to base newer academies promotions on a thirteen biweek average.
 
Whether you should take the promotion depends on how good your production is. If you're doing very well, you should consider taking it. Of course you might be headed for trouble if your cases in the academy are signed by someone who signs anything and your SPE back in TC scrutinizes every little detail of your office action.
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ExaminerJr
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Posts: 10
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1179 on: Jul 26th, 2007, 10:04pm »
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on Jul 26th, 2007, 7:58pm, mk1023 wrote:
I've heard they're going to base newer academies promotions on a thirteen biweek average.

 
If this is what they do - and it is remarkably unclear at this point how they will evaluate production over this period - it would essentially make a liar out of the PTO.  Thirteen biweeks is 6 months; new examiners are not on production for the first eight weeks.  So at the six month mark, you will have only 9 biweeks of production time.  That makes it impossible - regardless of how well you do - for you to get a six month accelerated promotion, since you'll have to wait until you have 13 biweeks of examining before being able to get the promotion.
 
The question is: will the PTO promise a benefit that is impossible to get?
 
Unfortunately, no one seems to be able to give any real details at this point.  It should be noted that they did not say that the six month promotion would be based on *production* for 13 biweeks, but rather performance.  So at the end of the six month period, if you have been trending upward and meeting the trainer's expectations, you could, in theory, still get the promotion.  This introduces whole new levels of arbitrariness into the promotion system.
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