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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 342812 times)
eric stasik
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #20 on: Feb 2nd, 2005, 9:54am »
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on Feb 2nd, 2005, 8:02am, Anon wrote:
Even so, the turnover at the PTO has reached a point that is unhealthy.  My stats are a little out of date, but last I heard, 50% of examiners had been with the office for fewer than 3 years, which coincidentally is just about how long it takes most examiners to attain a reasonable level of competence.

 
anon, i've never worked at the USPTO so i can only speak as an outside observer, but this statistic doesn't talk to me.  
 
maybe 50% turnover 0-3 years is right where it should be. again i am thinking of the need of private industry to absorb these skills. is it necessarily unhealthy? why do you say that it is? how does this compare to other parts of the government sector?  
 
what is the turnover rate of people who have been there 5 or more years? is it substantially in or out of line with the rest of the government sector? these are the people that make it possible for a 0-3 year examiner to do a good job, so if there is a reasonable turnover of these people, then a high turn-over of 0-3 might not be so bad.  
 
i'm not trying to challenge you, not at all. i'm just trying to understand this better.  
 
regards,
 
eric stasik
« Last Edit: Feb 2nd, 2005, 9:55am by eric stasik » IP Logged

eric stasik
director

http://www.patent08.com

patent08
patent engineering,
business development,
and licensing services
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Anon
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #21 on: Feb 2nd, 2005, 9:55am »
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on Feb 2nd, 2005, 9:10am, Pat Grant wrote:

 
I'm sure there are some niche areas, like biotech, where it's more competitive.  However, I wouldn't want to post an opinion based solely on those cases and needlessly scare someone away from seeking employment.  

 
I'm not sure on what "personal experience" you are basing your comments, but you are correct that biotech may be slightly more competitive than some other areas.  Even so, applicants greatly outnumber available positions in ALL areas.  And I don't say that to "needlessly scare someone away from seeking employment."  Just stating facts.
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #22 on: Feb 2nd, 2005, 10:06am »
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on Feb 2nd, 2005, 8:02am, Anon wrote:

 
My stats are a little out of date, but last I heard, 50% of examiners had been with the office for fewer than 3 years, which coincidentally is just about how long it takes most examiners to attain a reasonable level of competence.
 

 
Noting that many examiners are part-time law-school students, 3-4 years is coincidentally about how long it takes to finish law school.  I wonder how much that plays into it.
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #23 on: Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:09am »
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on Feb 2nd, 2005, 9:54am, eric stasik wrote:

 
maybe 50% turnover 0-3 years is right where it should be. again i am thinking of the need of private industry to absorb these skills. is it necessarily unhealthy? why do you say that it is? how does this compare to other parts of the government sector?  
 
what is the turnover rate of people who have been there 5 or more years? is it substantially in or out of line with the rest of the government sector? these are the people that make it possible for a 0-3 year examiner to do a good job, so if there is a reasonable turnover of these people, then a high turn-over of 0-3 might not be so bad.

 
Good questions and no challenge taken.  
 
I only have a few minutes, so here are a few brief (and poorly organized) thoughts...
 
Sure, the private sector benefits from having a pool of trained patent professionals from which to hire.  And yes, as I said, I think that the Office would agree that their role is, in part, that of a trainer/educator.
 
Why do I say that the current rate of turnover, where 50% of examiners leave the office before 3, is unhealthy?  As I mentioned, it usually takes at least three years for an examiner to acquire a reasonable level of competence.   Where only 50% of examiners have been with the office for 3 or more years, then it follows that, at best, only 50% of examiners have a reasonable level of competence.  So one problem is that too many applications are being examined by examiners who are not yet competent... the ramifications of which should be self-evident.
 
Now you might be thinking, "Aren't new examiners supervised by experienced examiners?"   In theory yes, but in practice NO.  The experienced examiners have a hard enough time keeping up with their own dockets.  They certainly don't have time review all the actions of the great many examiners who are not yet competent.  
 
By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I stayed with the PTO for 3 years before moving on.   How's that for hypocrisy?
 
 
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eric stasik
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #24 on: Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:30am »
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on Feb 2nd, 2005, 11:09am, Anon wrote:
it usually takes at least three years for an examiner to acquire a reasonable level of competence.   Where only 50% of examiners have been with the office for 3 or more years, then it follows that, at best, only 50% of examiners have a reasonable level of competence.  So one problem is that too many applications are being examined by examiners who are not yet competent... the ramifications of which should be self-evident.
 
Now you might be thinking, "Aren't new examiners supervised by experienced examiners?"   In theory yes, but in practice NO.  The experienced examiners have a hard enough time keeping up with their own dockets.  They certainly don't have time review all the actions of the great many examiners who are not yet competent.

 
thanks for your answer anon.  
 
let me "challenge" you again. you say "it usually takes at least three years for an examiner to acquire a reasonable level of competence." to work independently as an examiner. it may only take 1-2 years to gain the experience necessary to work effectively in the private sector.  
 
your second point is indeed a problem. rumour has it that there are 500,000 applications in backlog. my math makes this approx. 75 applications for every one of the USPTO's 6500 employees - of which fewer than half are examiners.  
 
if the average application is 1 cm thick, and then add another 1 cm of prior art to read, this is a pile 150 cm or almost 5 feet high in the in-box of EVERY employee at the USPTO.  
 
this, of course, is a far larger problem. who wants to come to work on monday and look at a pile 5 feet high of paper sitting in their in-box?  
 
thanks again for the information. sorry to drag this thead off topic...
 
/eric stasik
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eric stasik
director

http://www.patent08.com

patent08
patent engineering,
business development,
and licensing services
postbox 24203
104 51 stockholm
sweden
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