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   Working for the USPTO
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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 342707 times)
John Deaux
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #210 on: Jan 4th, 2006, 12:38pm »
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on Jan 4th, 2006, 3:11am, alfredhorg wrote:

 
I got an offer to work as an examiner immediately after I expect to get a J.D.  in May, 2006.  I hope to become a patent attorney for the USPTO, then an Administrative Patent Judge although there is a lot about the APJ job about which I do not know.

 
 
When did you first apply?  Did you simply fill out the JARS application or did you make contact with someone from inside the office first?  How long did it take for you to hear from the PTO after first applying?  What art group will you be working in?  What is your technical background?  Did you explain (or did the PTO ask about) your interest in the ALJ career track?  Thanks.
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alfredhorg
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #211 on: Jan 5th, 2006, 4:30am »
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on Jan 4th, 2006, 12:38pm, John Deaux wrote:

 
 
When did you first apply?  Did you simply fill out the JARS application or did you make contact with someone from inside the office first?  How long did it take for you to hear from the PTO after first applying?  What art group will you be working in?  What is your technical background?  Did you explain (or did the PTO ask about) your interest in the ALJ career track?  Thanks.

 
In June, 2005, I called one of the contacts at:
http://usptocareers.gov/contact.asp
 
I was going to be busy with law school through May, 2006,  and the contact told me that applying through JARS was pointless until December, 2005.  I applied through JARS anyway in June, 2005, and like the contact said, I received no response.
 
I later found someone at the USPTO in my area of engineering who submitted my resume to his supervisor.  I had a job offer several weeks later.  I will let this person identify himself here if he so wishes.
 
If I were you, I would take the advice of others here and attend one of the career fairs.  I get the idea that USPTO recruiters get sick of JARS applications because by the time they get to them, the applicants are already hired at the USPTO, found a job elsewhere, or had put in the application through JARS simply for fun.
 
The APJ / ALJ job appeals to me because the salary is good and federal government job security makes me very happy.   A few months ago, I actually saw an APJ job opening advertised on the USPTO Employment Announcements.  The salary was in the $140Ks.  I also read in The Economist recently that the outsourcing to India has a long way to go before it peters out.  
 
I just found out that ALJs need at least seven years' experience: "Applicants must be attorneys and have a minimum of seven (7) years administrative law and/or trial experience . . ."  
http://www.usajobs.opm.gov/EI28.asp
 
I could wait seven years.  The cool thing to me about being a patent examiner is the overtime pay.  I probably will not have to work myself to death like at a law firm, but if I choose to work more, I get paid more.  In fact, if I examine patents for as long as law firm lawyers work, I might actually make MORE money working for the USPTO than I would have at some law firm that makes their lawyers dress like James Bond every day.  Has anyone else out there made the same observation?  Anyone disagree with me?
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crazy
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #212 on: Jan 12th, 2006, 3:13pm »
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I just wanted to thank all of the contributors to this forum.  I just recieved an official offer today for a Feb 21 start date.  Some of the most helpful messages in the forum were those from people who documented their own hiring experience.  For the good of future applicants, here is my story:
 
1. Oct. 2005 Complete JARS application.
 
2. Nov. 2005 attend job fair...dress nicely, interview with a supervisor (SPE) from a random tech center and give him mutiple copies of resumes and transcripts. He told me he would pass them along to fellow SPE's who were hiring and to call him back in a couple of weeks if I haven't heard anything.
 
3. Two weeks later. Call contact because I have not heard anything...he makes a few calls, and another SPE calls me for a phone interview.  Nothing difficult–just the typical questions (why do you want to work here, what are your strengths and weaknesses, can you work independently, etc.).  He tells me he would call me back after speaking to my references
 
4.  Several weeks later. The SPE calls me back and says he is recommending me to his tech center for hire, but that the official offer comes from HR only.
 
5.  One week later. Hiring coordinator for tech center calls and gets some information.  A few forms must be completed and faxed in.  He sends them to HR along with a recommendation to hire me.
 
6.  January 2006.  Call from HR with an official offer and a choice of start dates.
 
All in all the process took about two months.
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examiner wannabe
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #213 on: Jan 13th, 2006, 12:36pm »
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Congratulations!
 
If I may ask . . . What is your technical background?  Which art group will you be joining?  What pay grade will you be starting at?
 
 
thx
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Former Examiner
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #214 on: Jan 14th, 2006, 12:41am »
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Not to discourage anybody trying to become an examiner, but allow me to share my personal experience working for the USPTO:
 
FYI -- I had a BSEE, no industry experience, fresh outta undergrad.
 
The hiring process was EASY!  I did the JARS thing, and got a call a few weeks later for a phone interview with the guy who was going to be my SPE.  This interview consisted of future-SPE telling me about what the job was like (seeing cutting edge technology, working in a production oriented environment, etc.) and asking me if I would be interested in a job like this.  It felt like a sales pitch rather than an interview.  I then had a second interview with future-SPE about a week later, where I was asked to write an essay in 30 minutes (I had to email him the essay 30 min. after we finished talking).  I think the topic was something like "How has your education and/or work experience prepared you for a job as a patent examiner?"  Again, very easy.  Pretty much just to see if I could write a coherent paragraph in English.  Two weeks after that, I got the offer.  TC 2600, btw.
 
At first, I really enjoyed the work.  I was learning about cool high-tech stuff (I worked in a pretty cool art!), and  the freedom and autonomy of the job was great -- working on a case at my own pace and turning it in when I was done.  After a while though, the job just got monotonous and felt repetitive.  All those cases which were brand-new and cool to me when I started, gradually began to seem the same.  And the independence of the job just became too socially unstimulating.  Probably 70% or more of examiners keep their doors closed all the time.  It felt like I only saw other people when I went to the bathroom or lunch, needed to ask for help on a case, or to interrupt them with small-talk as they were trying to meet their production goals.   So, after about a year, I quit.
 
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying being a patent examiner sucks.  It just wasn't right for me.  Introverts and those who like their job consisting of a comfortable routine will probably love examining!
 
One last thing before I end this post -- the Patent Office is starting a new training program for newly-hired examiners (first in TCs 2100 and 2600, but eventually in all TCs), which will be an 8-month program similar to a college classroom type environment.  Examiners will be in the classroom for 8 months, getting trained and working on actual cases before going into their TC.
 
Take care everyone, and good luck with your careers!
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