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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2608228 times)

lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6885 on: 06-07-17 at 01:39 pm »

Anyone care to conjecture on who Trump will appoint as Director now that Michelle Lee has resigned?

I heard someone suggest maybe Randy Rader, but he has a degree in English Literature, which would make him overqualified even by PTO standards in a Republican administration.

I know this post is simply an attempt at a political joke, but it seems wrong to say that the former judge is not "a person who has a professional background and experience in patent or trademark law" as 35 USC 3 requires. I don't think undergrad degree really matters at that level, particularly as you can be a trademark person and they have no special degree requirements.

Contrast 35 USC 6, which requires the APJs to have "competent legal knowledge and scientific ability."  If scientific ability was a requirement for Director they would have said so.
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abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6886 on: 06-07-17 at 05:36 pm »

The PTO deals with complex scientific and technical questions in which it is important that the personnel, including the Director, have a scientific background. In this respect, Michelle Lee was a breath of fresh air after the Bush appointees.

It is also disappointing for many examiners, some of whom have earned PhD's and spent a large portion of their life examining in a specific technical
area, to have someone waltz in and get all the glory without paying their dues. At least that is how many examiners felt under Rogan. So I think undergraduate degree actually does make a difference, even at that level.

It is nice that you cite the statute, but I think it is generally irrelevant to the real world arguments I am making. The statute cites the minimum qualifications, and, under the statute, I would say that some of the former Commissioners did not even meet its requirements. A better argument, one which was made by Rogan, is that they have to be confirmed by the Senate. But I am not buying that one either.

In fairness, one of the better Commissioners in years was Bruce Lehman, who came from a copyright background. So maybe I am wrong. Also, most of the great minds in patent law, like Giles Rich, did not have undergraduate science or engineering degrees. But Rich was not what at the time was called a Commissioner. If he were, I would have wanted even him to have the proper background. At the least, it sets a bad example to the rest of the examining corps, and says that scientific ability and credentials do not matter.
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lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6887 on: 06-08-17 at 10:17 am »

I don't really disagree with a lot of what you say, but I think there is a vast difference between someone like Rader and someone like Rogan. I was there under Rogan, and agree you as to what the examiners thought of him: it was mostly a roll eyes at the obvious political favor, and a feeling that Bush obviously must not really care about the PTO. Rader on the other hand has been an authority on patent law for longer than the vast majority of examiners have been on the job and anyone who follows the law at all would have heard of him. Credentials matter, but he has them in the patent field. I don't think most examiners would care that he has no science experience, at least I wouldn't, because obviously a Director is not examining and no examiner thinks they are going to work their way up to Director one day. Do Lockheed Martin's engineers care that the CEO has business and economics degrees and not an engineering degree?

I don't know how I feel about the ethical deal that ended his tenure or whether he'd be a good or bad Director, just that I think he'd be qualified.

In all, I do agree with you that a real patent lawyer who has experience examining and/or prosecuting would be preferable. It is one thing to know patent law, it is another to know how the office works.

Anyway, at the rate these lower appointments have been going I would be shocked if the position is filled any time soon.
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ThomasPaine

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6888 on: 06-08-17 at 09:13 pm »

Rader would be a good choice.  But President Orangutan won't get around to appointing a PTO director any time soon.
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abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6889 on: 08-27-17 at 02:42 am »

PTO names new Director, Andrei Iancu.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6890 on: 09-14-17 at 02:21 pm »

PTO is hiring patent examiners as of 9-11-2017, see USAJOBS.  I'm pretty sure there was a hiring freeze, so this is the first opening for examiners in about a year, if anyone is interested.

https://www.usajobs.gov/Search/?k=patent%20examiner
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This comment: does not represent the opinion or position of the PTO or any law firm; is not legal advice; and represents only a few quick thoughts from the author, not a well-researched treatise.  Seek out the advice of a competent patent attorney for answers to specific questions you may have.

bkk1057

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6891 on: 09-21-17 at 06:39 pm »

Is semiconductor processing in Electrical Engineering? Thx.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6892 on: 09-21-17 at 08:25 pm »

Is semiconductor processing in Electrical Engineering? Thx.
Yes.  TC 2800 (generally the EE tech center) has four parts: (1) Electrical Circuits and Systems; (2) Printing/Measuring and Testing; (3) Semiconductors/Memory; and (4) Optics.
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This comment: does not represent the opinion or position of the PTO or any law firm; is not legal advice; and represents only a few quick thoughts from the author, not a well-researched treatise.  Seek out the advice of a competent patent attorney for answers to specific questions you may have.

bkk1057

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6893 on: 09-23-17 at 02:49 pm »

Thanks, fewyearsin. So as a materials scientist involved in semiconductor processing I can apply for EE job they have open? Is there a way to drill down into the topics TC2800 examines? Thx.
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lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6894 on: 09-27-17 at 02:20 pm »

Thanks, fewyearsin. So as a materials scientist involved in semiconductor processing I can apply for EE job they have open? Is there a way to drill down into the topics TC2800 examines? Thx.

Somewhere on this page:
https://www.uspto.gov/patents-application-process/patent-search/classification-standards-and-development

You can find classes arranged by art unit, or arranged numerically with art unit info.

US class 257 is general semiconductor devices, and 438 is methods of making them. More specific devices such as LCDs, lasers, etc. may have their own class. By processing it sounds like you are talking 438, though there is also 355 and 430 which often have lithography systems, the former is in 2800 and the latter in the chemical TC. I'm not aware of a similar list with CPC, but this can show you what is generally examined in each art unit...

The people I knew that worked in those classes had EE degrees. Some had mixed backgrounds (e.g. BSEE and MS Material Sci or Chem or something, or vice versa). I obviously didn't know everyone's degree so YMMV, but they mostly hire EEs in 2800. I don't hire so I am not certain if they are even permitted to hire a Mat Sci person if the job listing specifically requires an EE, bureaucracy exists at times. My info also may be outdated, it's been years since I knew many new hires.

« Last Edit: 09-27-17 at 02:23 pm by lazyexaminer »
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bkk1057

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6895 on: 09-28-17 at 12:53 am »

Thanks. I was in the process of filling out the application. Looks like the areas they are asking you to prove your skills in are pure EE stuff. Thanks again for the responses.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6896 on: 09-28-17 at 11:19 am »

If you really want to work at the PTO, consider applying to more than one opening.  For example, if you don't live near an office and would need to move, or are willing to move, apply to multiple locations (Alexandria and Denver, for example).  If your background supports more than one technical area, apply to multiple postings (Electrical and Mechanical, for example).  I'm EE, but applied for both EE and CS positions.  I am a much better fit in EE (that's where I was hired), but I have enough CS as part of my EE degree that I would have been okay.

The PTO has drastically scaled back hiring.  Their last big hiring push was in 2012-ish.  Since then it has been occasional hiring every who-knows-when.  And it looks like filings may slow or drop with the current anti-patent mood many feel.

As always, good luck!
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This comment: does not represent the opinion or position of the PTO or any law firm; is not legal advice; and represents only a few quick thoughts from the author, not a well-researched treatise.  Seek out the advice of a competent patent attorney for answers to specific questions you may have.

snapshot

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6897 on: 09-29-17 at 09:26 am »

To be honest I think the office hired too many people during its last hiring binge.  I know a few areas that are hurting due to too many examiners and not enough new filings to keep up solid docket levels.
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bluerogue

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6898 on: 09-29-17 at 10:16 am »

To be honest I think the office hired too many people during its last hiring binge.  I know a few areas that are hurting due to too many examiners and not enough new filings to keep up solid docket levels.

I'd heard some scuttlebutt about the over-hiring last round.  A lot of it had to do with having to staff up the regional offices.  The PTO didn't need that many examiners, but it looks bad to have a non-fully staffed new location. 



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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6899 on: 09-29-17 at 10:25 am »

To be honest I think the office hired too many people during its last hiring binge.  I know a few areas that are hurting due to too many examiners and not enough new filings to keep up solid docket levels.
The didn't so much "overhire" as attrition has been non-existent.  As examiner work their way up the ranks, they do more and more examining per examiner.  So the Office is getting older, and examiners are doing ~50% more per examiner when they go from new GS-7 to Primary GS-14. 

Also, the work is not distributed evenly, and the Office is VERY slow at adapting.  The Office doesn't really shuffle examiners to hot technologies, or away from dying areas, instead it just sends overflow around to slow art units, rather than retraining examiners so they actually learn a new area.  So there are areas like mine, where we are understaffed, but instead of retraining examiners to join us, we randomly send extra work out.  Lately I've been fielding calls from random examiners to explain the basics of my art area and how to search it.  Rather than do that 50 times, we could have just retrained a few examiners to full-time join our art unit.  I feel bad for those examiners in slow art units, they just have to take whatever random work comes their way.
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This comment: does not represent the opinion or position of the PTO or any law firm; is not legal advice; and represents only a few quick thoughts from the author, not a well-researched treatise.  Seek out the advice of a competent patent attorney for answers to specific questions you may have.
 



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