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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2634840 times)

johnthatcher

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7395 on: 05-08-18 at 11:26 pm »

Is living in Southeast D.C. a good idea in terms of safety, demographics, work commute to uspto, and other factors ?

Depends on which part of Southeast DC you're living in.  West of the Anacostia is going to be fine.  East of the Anacostia is not ideal.

Though regardless of which part, if you live there and are going to take Metro to work, it requires a transfer, as you won't be living on a line that directly serves the USPTO.  And then you'll get to deal with the summer long Yellow/Blue line shutdown happening in summer of 2019 if you're still at the PTO by then.  Driving most places around here during rush hour is not really great, either.

In light of what you said, is it better to stay somewhere closer (within 3 to 4 miles) and drive to PTO as opposed to taking a metro ?
Thanks.
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two banks of four

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7396 on: 05-09-18 at 12:20 pm »

better to liver closer AND take the metro

Pentagon City/Crystal City would be my choices.  I lived in a $1250 studio when I lived in Pentagon City, and parking was included.  Started off by taking the metro, then was almost exclusively biking to work (save for thunderstoms and snow), then drove a bit later on.  Door to door was ~35 minutes on metro, and i had a 10 minute walk from the metro station.  ~25 min on my bike and 20 min driving (without traffic).
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abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7397 on: 05-09-18 at 05:27 pm »

Pentagon City/Crystal City

I agree. Good metro access, generally affordable, nice area, close to DC.
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HwkiMol

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7398 on: 05-09-18 at 06:06 pm »

Does anyone here work in the Dallas office?  I have similar questions about commuting/parking/building facilities.
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dablueman

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7399 on: 06-04-18 at 12:48 am »

Pentagon City/Crystal City

I agree. Good metro access, generally affordable, nice area, close to DC.

Just so people know, the metro will be closed in Northern Virginia all next summer (2019). I would consider that before picking where to live. The way I picked where to live when I first moved here many years ago is that I drove west, south, and north of the patent office for 20 minutes during rush hours. I then looked at a map of apartment complex within that area and went to as many as I could.

https://www.nbcwashington.com/traffic/transit/Metro-to-Close-6-Stations-in-Northern-Virginia-for-All-of-Summer-2019-481940951.html
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abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7400 on: 06-04-18 at 04:31 am »

Thanks for the good info. They are apparently working on lots of metro stations in the coming years. For example,

"The remaining 13 station platforms to be reconstructed in 2020-2021 include West Hyattsville, College Park, Greenbelt, Rhode Island Avenue, Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church, Cheverly, Landover, New Carrollton, Addison Road, and Arlington Cemetery."

I think picking where you live is very important, and you should consider your long term goals when doing so. For example, if you want to go to law school eventually, you might consider living near the school you want to attend (i.e. Rosslyn if you want to go to Mason).

A lot of people lived and worked in Crystal City when the Patent Office was located there, and I find they generally consider those to have been relatively good days.
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Stri50500

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7401 on: 06-04-18 at 08:11 am »

One alternative to Metro is VRE (Virginia Railway Express). It's a commuter rail service that uses the Amtrak station right next to the King Street Metro. Easy walking distance to USPTO.
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ConfusedIP

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7402 on: 06-06-18 at 03:35 pm »

You should also consider where you want to spend time after work, especially if you are single and just moving to the area.  Some of the places closer to the PTO in VA are fairly isolated/quiet in the evenings and over the weekends.  Rosslyn/Arlington offer a decent compromise between a reasonable commute and being close to DC.
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novobarro

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7403 on: 06-06-18 at 07:04 pm »

The area around the PTO pretty much dies down after 10/11ish, even on the weekends.  It's also quite expensive.  Although Crystal and Pentagon City are convenient and relatively affordable, there isn't much to do on the weekends because most people commute into these areas for work and then leave.  Arlington/Rosslyn/Ballston have lots going on, but you have to switch metro lines to get to the PTO and it is more expensive.

I've known people who commuted from Adams Morgan just to have a better social life. 
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lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7404 on: 06-06-18 at 09:41 pm »

I've known people who commuted from Adams Morgan just to have a better social life.

Yeah, I lived in Dupont Circle when I started. The commute was not great but it was fine. I could walk to the red line and then I'd have to transfer, or I could take a longer walk to Farragut West and be on the blue line already. No big deal when the weather's nice.
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I'm not your examiner, I'm not your lawyer, and I'm speaking only for myself, not for the USPTO.

ConfusedIP

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7405 on: 06-06-18 at 11:11 pm »

I've done both (i) living in NOVA->commuting to DC for a job and (ii) living in DC (Adams Morgan)->commuting to the old PTO Office in Crystal City.  I enjoyed the 2nd option much better.  I'm mostly an introvert (probably like many Examiners, given the job requirements), so getting out to the 'happening' part of town took some effort from suburbs and sometime it just didn't happen at all.  I found it much easier to socialize when I lived directly in the center of the city.
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ex-aminer?

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7406 on: 06-12-18 at 05:33 pm »

The area around the PTO pretty much dies down after 10/11ish, even on the weekends.  It's also quite expensive.  Although Crystal and Pentagon City are convenient and relatively affordable, there isn't much to do on the weekends because most people commute into these areas for work and then leave.  Arlington/Rosslyn/Ballston have lots going on, but you have to switch metro lines to get to the PTO and it is more expensive.

I've known people who commuted from Adams Morgan just to have a better social life.

As for the PTO region, that which is already dead cannot die lol.

If youíre into more action but new, say gs-7 or gs-9, I think Crystal City area is a good spot, considering you must come into work.  Work will be 5 days a week, and the weekend is only 2.  I lived mostly in Clarendon but was in Alexandria for a year and it was fine.  Taking the metro (or an Uber) drunk to Arlington or DC is much less of a drag :)

If you want more action in general the Courthouse/Clarendon area is best.  Rosslyn is mostly a business and residental district.

If youíre in TEAPP Iíd gtfo while you still can (itíll prob stay for good, but if it doesnt id at least think theyíd ďgrandfatherĒ current participants).

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getmeout

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7407 on: 06-22-18 at 03:56 pm »

New here. Read the last dozen pages of comments. I'm a burned out patent and trademark lawyer looking at options. I have a lot of questions:

1. What are my realistic options at the PTO (patent and trademark) as a JD and how hard would it be to achieve including getting hired and promoted?

2. I can imagine the mind-numbing work but how's it compare to prosecution? Not in hours, but in the mental health toll the work itself takes.

3. What are my options if I wanted to stay in or move back to NY?

4. I haven't seen or interacted with many older people at the PTO which is concerning. Is that something to be concerned about?

5. Any other downsides compared to firm work besides the pay and possibly boredom?

Thank you.
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two banks of four

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7408 on: 06-22-18 at 06:51 pm »

New here. Read the last dozen pages of comments. I'm a burned out patent and trademark lawyer looking at options. I have a lot of questions:

1. What are my realistic options at the PTO (patent and trademark) as a JD and how hard would it be to achieve including getting hired and promoted?
As in what positions?

It seems that you are talking about examiner positions, but there are also trademark examining attorney, APJs, and a few other different places to which you could apply (e.g. solicitor's office).

Not sure if there really is that much promotion potential for PTAB (you could become the chief judge) and the other positions.  For examiners, you can be promoted up to GS14.

I'd think you'd be more than qualified to be an examiner, but that's no guarantee that you'll be selected.
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2. I can imagine the mind-numbing work but how's it compare to prosecution? Not in hours, but in the mental health toll the work itself takes.
Can't comment on the lifestyle of a APJ or someone working in the solicitor's office.  Then again, I presume you want to know about mental health of examiners, as you inquired about mind-numbing work.  An examiner's mental health will largely depend how nurturing the examiner's supervisor is.  I have been very fortunate not to have anyone sabotaging my effort, taking an blasť attitude when defending my work, or engaging in various other antisocial behaviors that would be detrimental to my career.  While this is how things should be, it's not always how things actually are, and I know of first hand examples where supervisors/primaries conspired against their subordinates.

As for myself, search for a thread I started in the fall of last year re: wanting to explore the greener pastures.  While my supervisors hold me in high regard, and while I received quite positive remarks from others re: how I approach my work and the effort I put in, I am seriously thinking about how I can care less so that I don't burn myself out.  This doesn't come from mind-numbing work (whether or not it's mind-numbing is an afterthought most of the time), but more from the time crunch imposed.

If you have good supervisors, you don't ever need to make and defend BS arguments like the numerous ones I have seen recently.  I had one practitioner argue against evidentiary references I cited as if I cited the reference to modify the primary reference.  Both the 1.111 and 1.116 responses are four pages of strawman arguments.  Sometimes I wonder how bad it is that one have to write up logical fallacies one after another just to appease the client, but then I lose any empathy when I remember that while the practitioner can bill for the BS 1.116 response, I get paid nothing to address these responses.  If the practitioner is so confident of being right, then by all means file the damn appeal brief and I'll file my answer, so I don't have to respond to the 1.116 response and then again to the appeal brief...
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3. What are my options if I wanted to stay in or move back to NY?

Examiners and APJs can hotel.  I think the PTO has temporary permission to continue to accept new participants, but not sure how long the program will last

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4. I haven't seen or interacted with many older people at the PTO which is concerning. Is that something to be concerned about?

Probably just the luck of the draw.  Then again, the examiners who do well probably moved up from the examining corps. 
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5. Any other downsides compared to firm work besides the pay and possibly boredom?

Congress and/or the president clamoring to cut your pensions, give you a pay cut (by not giving you COLA adjustment), and who knows what else.

--------------------------------

Now that I've answered your question, could you expound on what caused the burn out?  How many years in are you, and how much is your annual billable hour?  How many of your peers are contemplating similar moves?
« Last Edit: 06-22-18 at 06:55 pm by two banks of four »
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WTF

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7409 on: 06-22-18 at 09:13 pm »

Been stalking for a while.

My 2C:

Iíve been involved in training and quality at the PTO for sometime now.  I would say 30%-40% of examiners are just downright terrible.  The worst part about it is that many of those examiners can be good examiners, but the lack of any type of accountability has led them to be bad examiners.  Itís as much the SPEs fault as it is the examiners. 

The stuff Iíve seen would make you either laugh or cry.

One time my boss told me we had to cut X amount of dollars in OT in a workgroup because of lack of new cases. 

I straight up told him I would give 20 names of examiners in that workgroup to fire right now, and that would more than solve the problem.

I remember him looking at me not being able to tell if I was serious or joking. I was serious.

Solution: You immediately fire 10% of examiners (the worst ones).  Everyone knows who they are.  Itís not a secret. The remaining 20%-30% would improve their performance the next bi-week.

Iím not talking about firing people who are struggling.  We can work with them to make them better.  We should even give more examining time to the units. 

Iím talking about examiners that have work quality that is so terrible, they are either incompetent or lazy.  Iím talking about the ones you canít get ahold of for 3 days straight.  Iím talking about the ones who work 20 hours a week, but claim 40.  Iím talking about the ones who miss every meeting an always have an excuse. These are the examiners that everyone roles their eyes when their name comes up. 

Itís completely unfair that many great examiners have their names tarnished because of the bad examiners.

I should add that Iíve spent years reviewing work and training examiners.  So, spare me the BS about how hard the job is and how there is not enough time to do the work.  We all know who you are and how terrible your work product is.  We know you donít work 40 hours a week, no matter what your WebTA says. We know your name, and your name comes up in EVERY conversation about quality.  We constantly talk about how to get rid of you because of your lack of quality and/or your inability to simply show up to work.  We talk about the day when a new director will allow us to fire you for cause. That day will come.  And when it does, we will pull out our list of names and finally get rid of you.

The majority of examiners do just fine.  The problem is you, and not the job.

As of now, you have a great pension, great 401K, great befits, etc., etc.  If you donít want to work for it, feel free to get a job at McDonaldís or beg for money on the corner.

Anyways, Iím just saying......

Let the arguments start.
« Last Edit: 06-23-18 at 02:51 am by WTF »
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Everything I post is my own personal opinion, and does not represent the opinion of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Moreover, anything I post should not be considered legal advice.  I do not speak on behalf of or for the USPTO, or any other government agency.
 



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