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   Working for the USPTO
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   Author  Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 352123 times)
2Cents
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #980 on: May 29th, 2007, 8:37pm »
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The fact that examiners and primary examiners claim that after the 14th month of starting at PTO, the work becomes easier because you eventually learn the art and the corners of examination. In my opnion, I believe thats all a full of crap. GS levels above 5 and 7 have continuously resigned due to 1) a higher paying salary in the private sector (law firm) 2) the stress is unbearable. I have seen many examiners above GS7 and primary examiners staying late and complaining about production. The fact that examiners have sent out garbage Office Actions have resulted in many lawyers complaning about the lack of appreciation put into one application. There have been a few times when the examiner has sent out an Office Action that entirely missed the core invention of the application. The Office in my opinion, should either reduce the counts per bi-week or find a way to decrease the stress level at the Office.
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Current_Exam
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #981 on: May 31st, 2007, 4:34am »
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"If this is really true than either:  1) your quality sucks and you don't understand your own art, 2) your art is super-easy (are you one of those people examining garden tools?) or 3) you went from a tenured professorship at MIT to a GS-5 step 1. "
 
Well, my quality doesn't suck, I'm not in an easy art, and no, I'm not a former professor.
 
I learn quickly and I'm a hard worker.  
 Shocked
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applicant
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #982 on: May 31st, 2007, 4:28pm »
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I am applying for the PE position at the USPTO.
 
Many posters wrote that working for PTO as a PE is extremely stressful.
 
I believe that "stress or no stress" is a very subjective POV AND is a relative feeling. We all know (or heard) that most if not all Federal jobs are kind of easy and laid back. So, is it possible that these posters are comparing the PE job with other Fed jobs only? If that is the case, then maybe a PE job at PTO is only about as stressful as any similar job in the corporate arena. I myself had worked in the corporate world (software engineering) for many years and, trust me, it was always stressful, subjectively and relatively speaking.
 
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #983 on: May 31st, 2007, 4:43pm »
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In large corporations there is performance review/appraisals on a regular basis. If you are rated by your supervisor as average or below, you will be gone (laid off) in the next round of lay-off, which we all know too well happens a lot anywhere.
 
To me, that's not much different from the 100% (or 95%) requirement of production at the USPTO. And, when you get terminated at the PTO for less-than-acceptable production, it is no different than getting laid off in a corporation.
 
Since it looks like the BIGGEST concern about working as a PE at the PTO is this production quota and its offspring: stress, then, all potential applicants should not be scared away from this job due to a wrong perception that the corporate world is less harsh tha the PTO (performance appraisals vs production quotas).
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jk
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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #984 on: May 31st, 2007, 8:45pm »
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" I learn quickly and I'm a hard worker. "
 
That's great and I'm sure it's true.  
 
I will say, though, after seeing the work of others who have gotten up to speed very quickly that the more typical case is that they have no idea what they're doing.  Many junior examiners do not understand their art very well and are simply doing a bunch of key word and key phrase searches.  They end up finding patents to use as prior art that have the same key phrases, terms and/or structures... but have nothing to do with the core invention in the application.  
 
I'm not sure management is terribly concerned with this, however.  This seems to be more and more of a problem with the new hiring campaign.  The office has taken in a lot of young bacehlor's level grads with poor academic records who don't really have a good foundation, let alone an understanding of the cutting-edge technology they examine.
 
As for the stress argument:  I currently work for a well-respected law firm and the stress is about the same as it was when I was a mid-level examiner.  I like the job better because it entails more variety and more interpersonal interaction... and also because it pays much better for the same amount of work.  
 
I also think that some art units push their examiners more than others.  In certain fields where the technology is saturated (e.g., certain sub fields of electronics or signal processing), examiners see many duplicate application and can use the same rejections with the same art over and over again.  Other arts (like nanotechnology) have much more variety and require a lot more work.  The production quotas don't always accurately reflect these differences.
 
Note that for this and other reasons, the attrition rate of new examiners is much higher in some units than others.  It's still very high across the board, but it's really really bad in a few places that are particularly miserable.
 
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