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   Working for the USPTO
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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 346698 times)
kiger
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Posts: 6
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1190 on: Aug 24th, 2007, 12:13pm »
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So here is my story, and a few questions. I went to the job fair back in Jan/Feb of 2007 and left a great impression on the interviewer. I go home the next day and apply online for GS-11 and then fill out the hour long survey. A month later I get an email stating I was rejected for the position. I call and ask why and they tell me that they don't hire people as GS-11's. They only hire up to GS-09. Not only was I pissed that it took them a month to tell me this, I was also pissed that they had an application for GS-11 online! If you aren't going to hire as GS-11, then don't put an application for GS-11 online darnit!  
 
By this time it's march and the lady I spoke with tells me to apply as GS-09 since I have a J.D. degree. When filling out the application it asked if I had a masters in engineering, and I clicked 'no' because I don't. I finish the application and then re-take the hour long survey again, and another month passes... and I get another rejection for that grade level. I am thinking "what the hell?!" So I give them a call and I am informed that by indicating I do not have a masters makes the computer auto-reject my application. OMG! It took them a fricking month to tell me that they never looked at my application because it didn't match the grade I applied for! I was livid. It is basic common sense that when you select the grade level in the application, if your selection doesn't match what you filled out, an error should spit out indiciating you either did something wrong or aren't qualified. Go figure... so another month wasted.
 
So now it's may and I cannot apply online because it is impossible to delete your existing online application even after you have been rejected. Go figure... so I have to fill out the paper application and submit it.
 
May passes...
June passes...
July passes...
 
By now it's august and I've called HR probably 20 times. Don't call us, we'll call you is the standard reply. Well, I graduated from law school a little over a year ago and have been unable to land that first job in patent law. No one is interested because I lack experience. I have a newborn and my family needs $ so August 15th I gave up on the patent office and applied locally for a Sales Engineering job. Before I went to the interview, I found my USPTO interviewer's email and name stashed away in my portfolio that I used for the USPTO interview. So I sent the guy an email asking what was up... well, the very next day I am sent a job offer. Go figure!
 
It seems that the people in HR at the USPTO are idiots. They never merged my interview responses with my application. Again, that's just common sense 101. Once they saw my interview responses they said I appeared really interested in the USPTO and that's why they offered me the position. But for their screwups, I could have already been working at the USPTO four months ago.
 
I will probably get the actual offer from HR in the next few days, once my official transcripts arrive, so we will be moving there shortly. Here are a few questions:
 
1. My wife applied at the USPTO the same time I did, and we are waiting to hear back regarding her. The individual in the hiring center who sent me the email informing me I got the position put in a few good words about my wife and sent an email to the hiring people in the mechanical unit. It has been almost two weeks since this and my HR contact and myself still haven't heard anything. Is there anything I can do to increase her chances now? Someone she can call? Just curious.
 
2. My wife and I both applied at GS-09. She is a bioengineer and does not have a J.D. Do you guys recommend she ask to start as GS-07 because it might take her a bit to get up to speed?
 
3. Because we have a newborn, we want to live in a safe area. We're thinking that Alexandria is the best because it's a good area and I/We could walk to work. But if we had to live outside alexandria, do you guys have any recommendations? Are there any dangerous places to stay away from?
 
4. Even though I am a Mechanical Engineer, I have a lot of knowledge in technology and website programming (PHP, HTML, MYSQL), though I don't know much about circuits or the inner-workings of electronics. Is there an art unit that processes website related patents? (e.g., Amazon's 1-Click patent)? I looked at the various Patent Technology Centers on the USPTO's website but I didn't see anything of the sort.
« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2007, 1:56pm by kiger » IP Logged
Interested
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1191 on: Aug 24th, 2007, 12:58pm »
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I see the PTO is not currently (8/24/07) accepting applications for patent examiner positions through the usajobs.gov site.  Does anyone know when the PTO will again accept applications?
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Interested
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1192 on: Aug 24th, 2007, 12:58pm »
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I see the PTO is not currently (8/24/07) accepting applications for patent examiner positions through the usajobs.gov site.  Does anyone know when the PTO will again accept applications?
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kiger
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Posts: 6
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1193 on: Aug 24th, 2007, 2:25pm »
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I don't know if it's been stated already but there is now a hiring bonus in effect for mechanical engineers. It's 5k/yr for 4 years (so a total of 20k).
 
What I am curious about is if this is a 4yr bonus split up, or a yearly bonus for four years. The reason I ask is what if you get 5k for three years then quit. Do you owe 15k back, or do you just not get the final 5k for year four?
« Last Edit: Aug 24th, 2007, 2:37pm by kiger » IP Logged
daven
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Posts: 75
Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #1194 on: Aug 24th, 2007, 6:13pm »
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on Aug 24th, 2007, 12:13pm, kiger wrote:

It seems that the people in HR at the USPTO are idiots.

 
Actually, they are very smart..  They're testing you to see if you have the patience required to work in the federal government.  If the patent office is anything like my federal government job you'll reach the point where you don't even bother to complain.Smiley  
 
Every time I turn around a critical software program is down for maintenance, passwords need to be upgraded or changed, or the building has no a/c, etc.  I spent half the day today attempting to file a travel claim for $75.  Like everything else, it's going electronic so me and another guy will need to continue the process Monday.
 
Congrats on the job.  Set some goals before you start and focus on them instead of falling into the civil service negative attitude trap like the majority of people I work with.  It's very easy to do when there are so many stupid things going on.
 
When I started my job the HR department said they didn't know who I was or why I had an offer letter.  After sitting there half the day they finally realized some idiot in HR mis-typed one digit of my social security number.
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