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Becoming a Patent Agent/Lawyer
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   Should I stay @ PTO?
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   Author  Topic: Should I stay @ PTO?  (Read 2596 times)
Lex
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Re: Should I stay @ PTO?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 26th, 2006, 4:06pm »
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If you can make 100 K at the PTO, where you know the ropes and can leverage this know how, leaving that to become an associate at a law firm is a poor choice IMHO.  I have worked in both public and private practice, and, based on my experience, law firms are at best indentured servitude, and more likely than not, your hard work makes the owners (partners) rich at the expense of your personal life, including weekends and holidays.  Stay with the PTO, and down the road, after you have tons of inside the beltway experience, you can become a trial consultant and make tons of money in patent litigation.
« Last Edit: Dec 26th, 2006, 4:07pm by Lex » IP Logged
sandnbb
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Posts: 3
Re: Should I stay @ PTO?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 31st, 2006, 12:22am »
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This is a question to Somerandomguy or anybody who has experience with PTO.
I have a MS degree in Org Chemistry, a few years of working experience as a bench chemist and a couple years in IP.  I just passed the patent bar exam.  I am seriouly considerating a career with PTO.  With my background, how long does it take for me to be in a position / level where I can take some of the work home to do?   Somerandomguy - is it really possible that once you get promoted to be a primary examiner, you can work completely from home?  How long have you been working at PTO?  This is really attractive because I'd love to be at home when the school is off session.  Also, how are the schools rated there?  Thanks much!
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surfin
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Re: Should I stay @ PTO?
« Reply #7 on: Jan 19th, 2007, 5:56pm »
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With an MS in Org Chem, you can be brought in as a GS9.  Your reg# won't mean anything and it won't get you any bump in grade or salary.  The only thing it gets you is that you won't have to take the cert exam to make your GS13.
Your production will be nightmarish as an org chem.  You won't get many hours to do what you need to do.  I have friends that work over there.  They are constantly working voluntary overtime.
Once you are a GS12 and have at least 2 years with the agency, you can work at home one day a week.  You can also hotel (work from home permenently - assuming a slot is available) once you are a GS-12 and have passed the reg exam or cert exam.  The trick here is that only so many slots open up per fiscal year in the different tech centers and seniority rules with getting to work at home full time - meaning all of the GS14s will be picked before all of the GS13s, etc.
You may be able to go from a GS9 to GS11 to GS12 in two full years, assuming you hit the ground running with your production and the job, which is very demanding.  Still, if you survive that long, then you get to compete with other folks for the 500 hotel spots that the agency is allocating annually.  Primary examiners are GS14s and they always get first pick of the work from home slots. You don't automatically get to be a primary examiner.  You have to go through quite an ordeal to get the designation.  You also don't get "promoted to it."  You have to earn it.
 
Schools in the area vary depending on where you live, VA, MD, DC, PA, and there are even people who commute in from W. VA.
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