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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2631305 times)

Steve12

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #45 on: 03-01-05 at 05:43 am »

I went to the TC 1600 job fair / interview last week, and I was very impressed with the people there.  Very straight forward discussion of what it is like to work in the office.

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fredzy

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #46 on: 03-14-05 at 11:46 am »

I just received a job offer from the USPTO. As far as the step scale is concerned, they told me that the "regulation" is that they will match your current salary, another offer, or if you offer a "rare" skill they may increase the step you start at. I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry. So, apparently post-doctoral experience and/or a low paying job (like my current one) will NOT help you start higher. (Keep this in mind, those of you about to graduate)

I read elsewhere on the forum that if one works at USPTO for five years, you are automatically accepted to prosecute before the office. In other words, you do not need to pass the patent bar. Is this true ?

Also, what happened to patent_prospect: Did s/he decide on USPTO or the law firm ?

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Jonathan

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #47 on: 03-14-05 at 12:53 pm »

Fredzy wrote: "I read elsewhere on the forum that if one works at USPTO for five years, you are automatically accepted to prosecute before the office. In other words, you do not need to pass the patent bar. Is this true ?"

The correct figure is four years and only applies to Examiners that completed their four years of service by July 26, 2004, was an examiner at the time of departure from the office, had successful performance reviews for at least the last two fiscal years of their employment period and was not under any oral or written warnings regarding their performance at the time of their departure from the patent office.

For all other Examiners that had not completed 4 years of service by July 26, 2004 or were hired after July 26, 2004: be an Examiner at the time of your departure from the patent office, receive a certificate of legal competency and negotiation authority, after receiving the certificate -  have successful performance reviews for at least the last two fiscal  years of their employment period and was not under any oral or written warnings regarding their performance at the time of their departure from the patent office.

So, newer Examiners still have be an Examiner for at least two years after receiving the certificate but I don't know how long it takes to get that certificate.

Refer to 37 C.F.R. 11.7 (d) for all the details.
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Jonathan

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #48 on: 03-14-05 at 12:58 pm »

Additionally, the former Examiner needs to meet the same technical qualifications as non-examiners applying to take the patent bar exam.

Oddly enough, I suppose this means that a person with a scientific degree can be hired as an Examiner yet still not qualify to sit for the patent bar exam if they had to apply under something other than category A but did not have all the required coursework under their belt.
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p@tent.guy

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #49 on: 03-14-05 at 04:48 pm »

Negotiation authority usually comes after being a GS-13 for a year, though you have to pass the certification exam before you become a GS-13.  This new standard ends up being far more difficult than the old standard and likely exists to keep examiners in the fold. As a former examiner, I wouldn't want to leave unless you need more action at work than reviewing patent applications. I left for an IP strategy job and hated making the decision.

If you wanted to work as hard as an agent while at the PTO, you could make much more than an agent. It's just that the overtime and bonuses aren't required. If you need the money, the work is there for you. If you don't, a flexible 40 hrs schedule with a good home life isn't too bad. So long as you stay on top of your production and quality, they'll give you almost all the freedom you want.

Flip side of course is that if either slips, all perks go away, and stay gone for months. No OT, probably no bonus', and definitely no flex time. It's a great place to work, but, despite public opinion, they don't put up  with poor performance.

If you get an offer - take it, rent at the Meridian at Carlyle for a year, walk to work, get promoted at 6 months, save up for a condo, don't buy a car, join the PTOS, take the free shuttle to Old Town and the waterfront in the summers, get promoted 12 months after your 6 month promotion, buy the condo which will be built in 2008 by a metro stop but not on the green line, see if you can hit your 130% bonus, get it for the first time, dance, find a nice girl in Olson's bookstore on the waterfront, marry her, move into said condo, live happily ever after.

p@tent.guy
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Patent_Prospect

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #50 on: 03-14-05 at 07:10 pm »

Hello all,
      Sorry for the delay in responding.  I decided to take the law form job for a variety of particular reasons, mainly personal.  Law firm offered better pay, although the PTO would have matched to within 9% or so (I only qualify for a GS-11, step 10, given my particulars).  The law firm will pay for law school right out of the gate (PTO states that you must have 1 year of service, and must repay law school with time at the PTO, so four years of law school means 8 years of employment, plus 1 for a total of 9).  
       Although I am somewhat nervous about adjusting billable hour requirements, I assume that is something that I will have to face eventually, so it might as well be now than later.  Finally, I have never lived in DC, so I wanted to get the experience that could get me back to my hometown should we not like it.  I assume that my prospects are far better with law firms if I have law firm experience, in general, than with PTO experience, but only time will tell.  I hope I made the right decision, but hindsight is always 20/20.  Regardless, I am stoked to get back into the IP field.  Good luck, everyone, with all your prospects, and I'll see you on the board!

Patent_Prospect, Out.  
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Steve12

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #51 on: 04-11-05 at 09:54 am »

How often to the training classes for new examiners start. Is there a new one every month.

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jeb

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #52 on: 04-11-05 at 10:53 am »

It  depends on when the hiring needs are filled. They may go for 6 months or more without starting a new initial training session and then start several initial training classes back to back.

Typically when congress releases the USPTO budget they can hire a certain number of new examiners. Each tech center hires the number they are allotted and when they reach a specific class size of 15 or so then they schedule the initial training.

Also, the training for biotech/chem, electrical etc. is unique to those arts so the training for the different technologies occurs at different times depending on where you work.

I hope this is helpful.
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Access Patent Group (APG)

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #53 on: 04-12-05 at 07:26 pm »

hi!  

EE is always hot in USPTO. You must have PhD. in order to be hired as Biotech Examiner.


sincerely,  
 
Thien Tran  
MSEE - Registered Patent Agent #47,351  
http://www.accesspatentgroup.com
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jdhawk05

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #54 on: 04-14-05 at 02:29 pm »

I have an ME degree and and will have my  law degree this May.  ME doesnt seem to be quite as hot as EE or biotech and law firms dont seem to be foaming at the mouth for my background.  Would it be a step in the wrong direction to work at the PTO for a few years?  How does having a law degree figure into hiring decisions at the PTO? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Jdhawk05
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sirkut

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #55 on: 04-14-05 at 02:42 pm »

Having your law degree will vary from art unit to art unit. Some of the managers see it as a positive while others see it as a negative because they believe you are only there to get the training and experience for a year or so and then leave.

Read the rest of this thread and make a decision on your own.

This horse has been beat to death.
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Guest

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #56 on: 04-14-05 at 03:31 pm »

Hi,

Does anyone have any tips for an interview with the USPTO? Looks like i'll be flying to D.C. soon and was wondering if anyone had any tips/info/other. Also, I'm taking the Patent Bar next month, and have read various opinions on this board of whether it helps or not in getting a job as an examiner, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus on that. Any thoughts or more opinions?

thanks!
-hr
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melwrc

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #57 on: 04-14-05 at 10:52 pm »

to jdhawk, go with a firm before falling back on a PTO job.  I'm an ME and managed to find an agent position (wasn't even an agent yet) and am going PT law school.  
The general rule is that once you have a jd, go straight for a firm job if that's where you want to be.  The exception to that rule is if you can't get into any reasonably respected firm (not necessarily a mega firm, just not a job as an apprentice to some solo practice).  Then a PTO job might open up some doors, but some examiner experience, while better than nothing, doesn't shine like a big gold star on a resume.

The earlier postings on pay don't take into account how fast pay raises come with experience at a firm.  Mine has gone up a full 50% in a yr and half.  My base (1800 hr billable req) is far better than what I'd have at the PTO in the same amount of time, assuming max promotions (and ignoring the fact that my cost of living is 30% less).  And for bonuses, I don't know how much work is required for that "130% bonus" that was mentioned for examiners, but patent firms offer very nice bonuses based on hrs over the min.  A common amount is 30-35% of your bill rate times the extra hrs.
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Anon

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #58 on: 04-15-05 at 06:44 am »

I think each group is different. For instance, the culture in the electrical and mechanical areas may be less sophisticated as that in the biotech groups because many of the people working in ME and EE start straight out of undergrad and are young. Whereas those in biotechnology and Chem have PhDs, law degrees and serious industry experience so the atmosphere is more professional. The work is likely to be more sophisticated by nature too so one can get really good experience there. The pay is not as great as outside the goverment but to start a career with solid experience at the pto will likely give you a good foundation for your career.
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Guest

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #59 on: 04-15-05 at 09:50 am »

Nobody really answered the original questions (what is the job like and how hard is it to get hired?) in much detail.

I think it would be useful if someone who was hired as a patent examiner would walk through their interview process timeline and/or a typical day in the life of an examiner.

Even better would be if a hiring manager would go through the process of choosing an applicant, and also say what kind of education and experience the applicants that get hired usually have, and maybe some helpful advice for those looking to get a job as an examiner.
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