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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2634048 times)

abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6915 on: 10-02-17 at 09:13 pm »

Bob, out of curiosity, do you examine in a communications art? I consider Massive Mimo to be a fairly advanced topic even for a good graduate EE program.

Also, I don't keep track of the current hiring situation at the PTO, but I was an examiner in one of the communication art units for more years than I wish to either admit or remember, and we were always hard pressed for competent people.

I can't speak for Bob, but I'm an examiner in the communication arts.  Sure, Massive MIMO is one of the more advanced topics, but after examining for 3 months (6 biweeks), you're expected to work through a bunch of cases, and if you decide to focus on a specific topic like Massive MIMO and are decently smart, you're sure to pick up the technology and understand it by then.  After all, part of the job description is to read all the customer's specifications.  The Office obviously would not try to hire ME's for the communication arts, but I think the importance is to find examiners who know the basic technology and have an aptitude for learning.  No college course or college degrees is going to fully prepare any examiner for the cutting edge technology that comes across the examiner's office.

I sort of agree. This is why you see lots of examiner backgrounds in the communication arts, including things like physics, mathematics, and geophysics. Like you said, the importance is to find people with an aptitude for learning. More importantly, today's cutting edge technology is tomorrow's dodo bird. Just look at what happened to the much-hyped atm system.

However, when I worked there, you would not assign someone to work specifically on massive mimo systems, and it would be a bad idea if you did.

Also, I stand by what I said about the average ME student not being able to properly understand the specification of that patent in 3 months. In my opinion, no way. If they were a pretty sharp student who was part way through a graduate EE program, willing to spend a lot of time on the case, and settle for less than perfect understanding of what is going on (typically the case, even for experienced examiners, and nothing wrong with that - you cannot be expected to know everything), then maybe.
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Peacefulness

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6916 on: 10-03-17 at 01:11 pm »

However, when I worked there, you would not assign someone to work specifically on massive mimo systems, and it would be a bad idea if you did.

Also, I stand by what I said about the average ME student not being able to properly understand the specification of that patent in 3 months. In my opinion, no way. If they were a pretty sharp student who was part way through a graduate EE program, willing to spend a lot of time on the case, and settle for less than perfect understanding of what is going on (typically the case, even for experienced examiners, and nothing wrong with that - you cannot be expected to know everything), then maybe.

True, they wouldn't be assigned by the office to work specifically on that technology, but at the same time an examiner is free to request cases that are related to one technology within their art, such as massive mimo systems.  If they were to do that, they would learn that technology better and in the process likely be able to find themselves with easier counts each time they see related applications, because they understand it better and can conduct better searches.

As I understand it, placement at the Office is initially based on need where they need to have more examiners for a particular area, which is based on anticipated number of applications and any backlog.  If the ME or any examiner fails to keep up their production over 3 months, they will find themselves starting to be pushed out of the Office.  So, out of need that examiner even if they are ME doing a communications case will have to find a way to do it fast and efficiently in 3 months.  If they are smart enough, then yes they will be able to find a way to do it.  No one goes for perfect understanding of the application.  Just like examiners always are to conduct a complete search, but that does not mean it's a perfect search as such a search would take forever.
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anonym314159

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6917 on: 10-03-17 at 03:03 pm »

Hi, I recently applied to be an examiner at the PTO. Does anyone know what background the PTO is looking for in candidates? I have 2+ years of work experience with PCT and just want to gauge my chance of getting this job. I mean like are they mostly engineers with X years of work experience, patent professionals such as myself or recent college grads? I applied to Denver and Alexandria offices and prefer to work in Denver.
« Last Edit: 10-03-17 at 03:11 pm by anonym314159 »
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6918 on: 10-03-17 at 03:48 pm »

Hi, I recently applied to be an examiner at the PTO. Does anyone know what background the PTO is looking for in candidates? I have 2+ years of work experience with PCT and just want to gauge my chance of getting this job. I mean like are they mostly engineers with X years of work experience, patent professionals such as myself or recent college grads? I applied to Denver and Alexandria offices and prefer to work in Denver.
In my experience, EE is most in demand, followed by CS.  Chem and Bio hire very rarely.  ME is kind of in the middle.

As far as what background they are looking for . . . I don't think it matters.  They hire a lot of new grads, but also hire experience patent attorneys, researchers with PhD and years of experience, and everything in between.  I think the biggest thing is taking what experience you have, and selling yourself as a good fit for the office in the interview.

On that note, make sure to look online for the kinds of questions they will ask you during the interview.  From what I've heard, the interview questions haven't changed in the last 15 years.  I'd post a link, but don't have time right now . . . here's some on glassdoor: https://www.glassdoor.com/Interview/US-Patent-and-Trademark-Office-Patent-Examiner-Interview-Questions-EI_IE41351.0,30_KO31,46.htm
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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.

midnightsun

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6919 on: 10-03-17 at 04:21 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


Thanks for the heads up! Any near-term changes in view? Is hoteling after year 2 still the norm?
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bluerogue

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6920 on: 10-04-17 at 05:41 pm »

Thanks for the heads up! Any near-term changes in view? Is hoteling after year 2 still the norm?

Hoteling after 2 years is still common.  TEAPP is going away, but hoteling is under a different authorization that isn't affected by TEAPP's sunset.
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The views expressed are my own and do not represent those of the USPTO. I am also not your lawyer nor providing legal advice.

midnightsun

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6921 on: 10-06-17 at 01:03 pm »

Thank you! Do you know if an applicant is still eligible for an examiner position if patents they've written (but are not the inventor of) are pending before the USPTO?
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6922 on: 10-06-17 at 02:23 pm »

Thank you! Do you know if an applicant is still eligible for an examiner position if patents they've written (but are not the inventor of) are pending before the USPTO?
You are still "eligible," but if hired, you may have to assign away your interest, or otherwise handle any potential conflict (I don't remember the exact rules).  I have known several examiners who came from industry that had to sell substantial amounts of company stock (typically part of their pay package was company stock).  You have to report if you own more than a certain amount of specific company stocks (broad/diversified funds are fine, but individual stocks are a problem). Again, not a problem with being hired, but a concern to be aware of once you are hired.
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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.

Tobmapsatonmi

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6923 on: 10-06-17 at 02:25 pm »

So if the newhire examiner is not an inventor/owner of the patent apps, but just the drafting/filing attorney, once the applications shift to another attorney at their old firm there's no longer any conflict?

What if the newhire examiner gets assigned to the same GAU where those apps are being examined? 
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bluerogue

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6924 on: 10-06-17 at 03:33 pm »

So if the newhire examiner is not an inventor/owner of the patent apps, but just the drafting/filing attorney, once the applications shift to another attorney at their old firm there's no longer any conflict?

What if the newhire examiner gets assigned to the same GAU where those apps are being examined? 

This happened to me.  I'm conflicted out on any patent I touched before joining the PTO.  This includes patents that I did not write, but reviewed, approved, etc.  I've had to move away a few applications because of this, but it's not as many as you might imagine.  You're conflicted out of those apps pretty much forever (and for good reason, IMO). 
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The views expressed are my own and do not represent those of the USPTO. I am also not your lawyer nor providing legal advice.

Tobmapsatonmi

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6925 on: 10-07-17 at 02:17 pm »

So if the newhire examiner is not an inventor/owner of the patent apps, but just the drafting/filing attorney, once the applications shift to another attorney at their old firm there's no longer any conflict?

What if the newhire examiner gets assigned to the same GAU where those apps are being examined? 

This happened to me.  I'm conflicted out on any patent I touched before joining the PTO.  This includes patents that I did not write, but reviewed, approved, etc.  I've had to move away a few applications because of this, but it's not as many as you might imagine.  You're conflicted out of those apps pretty much forever (and for good reason, IMO).


Thanks, good info.
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midnightsun

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6926 on: 10-08-17 at 10:06 pm »

Thank you! Really helpful!
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johnthatcher

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6927 on: 10-19-17 at 11:52 pm »

Do they require school transcript for the Patent examiner position regardless of how much experience you have in the corporate place ?
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6928 on: 10-20-17 at 02:40 am »

Do they require school transcript for the Patent examiner position regardless of how much experience you have in the corporate place ?
Yes.

This is the government.  There are all sorts of forms and hoops and order and steps that they follow.  Get used to it if you want to work for the USPTO.  There's this thing called bureaucracy, and it permeates everything you will do.
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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.

johnthatcher

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #6929 on: 11-01-17 at 06:28 pm »

Does your GPA have to be above 3.0 in order to be considered for a Patent examiner position regardless of how much experience you have in the corporate world in EE ?
« Last Edit: 11-02-17 at 12:01 am by johnthatcher »
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