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   Working for the USPTO
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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 346709 times)
New examiner
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #65 on: Apr 15th, 2005, 7:34pm »
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After you get hired, you'll go through 3 weeks of training, to learn some of the basic stuff.  After that, you'll get your first real case.  Most people take about 2 weeks with their first case and still will have to redo the first 5 or so cases as a second action non-final 3-6 months later.  That's ok though.  The more cases you see and do, the easier it'll get and the more you'll learn, artwise and procedure-wise.  You'll learn what to do in your writing,  the best way to write rejections, the best ways to search, and the best way to allocate your time.  The important thing is to not worry so much about perfecting every case that by the end of 6 months you're still only doing 2 cases every bi-week.  
 
After you're there a while your typical week should be something along the lines of you start out the week looking over a case.  You make sure all the paperworks are ok, then you check priority data to find out the priority date for the application you're working on is.  Check the inventor, assignee, and note any other pending cases the inventor might have you might need to check for double patenting.  Then, you review the claims quickly so you can see what to notice in the specification.  Then, you review the abstract and specification.  Note any errors you see in the claims and disclosure.  This should take you about half a day depending on how familiar you are with the subject matter.  Then you write the objections and easy rejections like 112 issues.  This might take you about 2 hours, unless it's really messed up.  Then review any information they've disclosed in their information disclosure statement.  You don't have to do a thorough job with this, just quickly consider what they've submitted.  Sometimes, they'll screw up and give you the art you'll need for a rejection and you'll want to take a closer look at the art later.  Then you review the claims a bit more to determine what the claims are saying.  Try not to get colored by what is disclosed in the spec though as this will narrow your interpretation too much and make searching harder.  I still find myself doing that sometimes.  Review the claims and note key words you might search for or subject matter you might look into.  From those key words, look into what classes and subclasses you might search.  Think a bit more about seach strategies.  At this point, it might be the end of day 1 in the week.  Next day, review your search strategy a bit and start searching or get help from someone a bit for suggestions on strategies if you're totally lost.  DO NOT GO TO ANOTHER EXAMINER FOR HELP IF YOU DID NOT READ TO KNOW WHAT THE INVENTION IS ABOUT.  Searches might take about half a day.  This is the important thing, don't spend too much time at this point reading art you've found.  Note them to review later.  After half a day, you'll spend the other half reviewing the art you've found to decide which are good for rejecting which claims.  Pick the best ones out of the batch you've got and plan a rejection strategy.  The next half day might be spent writing the rest of the rejections.  You'll also need to worry about 101 issues after you've read the spec and review the claims again, so don't forget to make 101 rejections in the first office action also.  After you've finished your rejections, it's just a matter of paperwork that need to be completed to get the rejecton or allowance mailed.  For one application, that was about two and a half day's worth of work.  Then the process repeats for the next application.  Sometimes you'll be able to go faster, sometimes slower.  After about 3-6 months, you'll also start to get back responses to your old actions.  You'll also have to do responses to those before they get too old.  Once you're more experienced, I hear they take about two hours to do.  Not only do you have to worry about getting your responses out on time, you also have to worry about getting in all your counts for the bi-week.  They'll explain how the count system works in training, but basically, the higher you are in grade, the more work you need to get done each bi-week, so you'll have to learn how to be more efficient.  That's my typical work experience so far, but I've only been at the PTO 6 months.  Hopefully, I'll get more experienced soon and will be able to go faster.
 
Oh, there's also the occasional interviews, preparing for interviews, and getting cases dumped on you at the last moment because some examiner quit and their cases are over due or they're behind and your SPE needs you to bail them out so the group doesn't look bad
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pto wannabe
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #66 on: Apr 15th, 2005, 9:18pm »
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is there a silicon valley office of the pto?  or is everything in dc?
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Richard Liu
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #67 on: Apr 15th, 2005, 11:03pm »
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USPTO is only in DC. There was a USPTO library in Sunnyvale, now they merged everything in Sunnyvale City Lib.
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niczon
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #68 on: Apr 16th, 2005, 9:58am »
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on Feb 1st, 2005, 3:23pm, Jonathan wrote:
The Patent Office Professional Organization's website offers an insider's view on Examiner work issues.  
 
The website claims that  "POPA represents more than 3,900 employees, the vast majority of whom are patent examiners", in a quote from 2003. I don't know if their viewpoints are commonplace in the examining corps, however.
 
http://www.popa.org/

 
POPA is a double edged sword. They do as much good as bad sometimes. Sometimes they're fantastic. Sometime... well.. lets just say they actually defended an examiner that was fired for trying to deck his supervisor. On the other hand they fight a good fight for examining hour flexibility.  
 
Most long-time examiners and primaries don't put much focus of reliance on pop, and instead rely on their ability and their relationship with their SPE to get what they want. Many actually look at you sideways when you mention popa.
 
As far as proteciton in the PTO.... Nothing beats having a good SPE... and nothing beats you down like a bad one.
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niczon
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #69 on: Apr 16th, 2005, 10:08am »
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on Apr 15th, 2005, 7:33pm, New examiner wrote:
They really need people, so unless you come off like a total idiot or give the impression you won't last long, you should have no problem getting hired.  
 
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There is a reason for this, and its not just pay. When you interview, be sure to keep your eyes open, look around and talk to people. Not all TCs and Art Units are the same. I've known art units with turnover at 0% over 3 years, and some with 50% each year. Some are social and others are introverted. Some people are not cut out to be cogs in the government machine, others love the privacy, freedom, and reliability of the job.
 
An interview is a two way process, and if the environment is not for you, make a note to yourself.
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