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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2336008 times)

lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7095 on: 01-11-18 at 03:42 pm »

People were generally already working during the day and doing law school at night, so they just left the Office for a tech specialist/agent job at a firm. I think at least one person I know got a summer associate position and then just switched to law school full time, going back to that firm afterwards.

I am hazy on the ethics rules, but I think it is something like: can't apply for jobs with firms that have matters before you, and once you leave you can't work on matters with your former art unit (or work group? or TC? don't recall) for two years. These requirements may or may not be difficult depending on your docket, and you should definitely look them up if you plan to do this.

I found law school exams to be incredibly easy, far easier than engineering course exams. The people I knew who were examiners or had a technical background generally did well, issue spotting and just going through both sides of all the issues is pretty logical and if you're an examiner you should be used to writing. Like the others said, it sounds stupid, but take it seriously and study, it will likely help that you have been working for a few years and are more of an adult, silly as it sounds. I knew a lot of folks who were like 22 during 1L and just went out drinking all the time, meanwhile I was already married and working and spent an hour+ reading cases on the metro every day and spending more time on it at home...
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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.

abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7096 on: 01-11-18 at 04:59 pm »

people I knew that went to Georgetown and GW generally did fine, people that went to like George Mason and American did fine if they were near the top of the class.

A very large factor in deciding whether or not you get a job in a law firm fresh out of law school is whether or not you spent time clerking in a firm as a law student. After all, why pay someone to learn the ropes as an associate when there are lots of other people who learned how to draft claims while in school?

I know people who got jobs who went to places like Mason who spent their law school years as examiners, but they are few and far between, and had exceptional grades. I also know a lot of people who went to law school while working as examiners, and went begging for jobs that never materialized.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7097 on: 01-11-18 at 06:08 pm »

"I also know a lot of people who went to law school while working as examiners, and went begging for jobs that never materialized."

This is true for law school across the board.  There are a lot of people out there with JDs that do nothing even close to law for their job.  I know a guy that graduated law school and didn't even bother taking the bar exam because his prospects were so poor, just went into real estate (family business).  And several secretaries I met at different firms had JDs.  The degree is important, but it does nothing for you other than show you have the degree.  Getting and keeping the job is all up to you (and a bit of luck).

Also agree 100% for clerking.  I got a 1L summer because of my first semester grades.  I got a 2L summer because I had a 1L summer.  I got a job after graduation because I had the summer experiences. 
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abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7098 on: 01-11-18 at 07:06 pm »

What do you call someone who graduates last in their medical school class? Doctor. What do you call someone who graduates last in their law school class? Secretary, if they are lucky.

If I had it to do over again, I would have become a doctor. Those greedy bastards have it made.
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7099 on: 01-11-18 at 07:37 pm »

If I had to do it over again. I would go for some Wallstreet trader job.

It seems like a nice mix of excitement, computer work, math work and you're close to money.

In college, I went to many of the Wallstreet firms/consultancies job fairs. They would things like, "We take our associates on a huge yacht ever year to network with VIPs".

It was common to see 100-120k/year jobs just for "client engagement" teams. You just needed to travel a lot.
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two banks of four

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7100 on: 01-11-18 at 11:19 pm »

Thanks for the inputs!

As for the studying habits and methods, it's just that I learned that studying per se brings no guarantee of doing well in school, and that one needs to do things in the most expeditious manner possible.  I was a chem major, and I figured out early on how to prepare for the more logical classes (orgo, p-chem, etc).  I tried to anticipate what may be on the exams and did a lot of practices in addition to what was assigned, and this usually worked.  I was never able to do as well in the rote-memorization heavy classes (more bio focused), despite dedicating time (often much more) to these classes.  I did all of 1)-4) suggested by @Thomas Paine, but that didn't always lead to stellar grades; alas my original question.  That said, if there are law students willing to slack off and party away their chances while paying at least 25k/year in tuition, I'll take my better odds as well.

-------

As for employment, I found the following from MPEP 1702/ 37 CFR 11.10.  Perhaps I didn't read carefully enough, but there does not appear to be a blanket bar against representation before one's former AU; however, I have heard of such a prohibition before (not sure where).

Quote
No individual who has served in the patent examining corps or elsewhere in the Office may practice before the Office after termination of his or her service, unless he or she signs a written undertaking agreeing:

(1) To not knowingly act as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent, or assist in any manner the representation of, any other person:

    (i) Before the Office,
    (ii) In connection with any particular patent or patent application,
    (iii) In which said employee participated personally and substantially as an employee of the Office; and


(2) To not knowingly act within two years after terminating employment by the Office as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent, or assist in any manner the representation of any other person:

    (i) Before the Office,
    (ii) In connection with any particular patent or patent application,
    (iii) If such patent or patent application was pending under the employee’s official responsibility as an officer or employee within a period of one year prior to the termination of such responsibility.

part (1) imposes a lifetime bar on anyone who has had substantial involvement with respect to an application.  It would appear that this would apply to assistant examiners writing the action, SPE/primaries approving the action, and QAS signing off on appeals and such.

part (2) quoted above would appear to affect people who had some type of higher-level authority.  For example a former SPE cannot work on application examined by a primary who was under supervision of the SPE.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7101 on: 01-12-18 at 12:04 am »

Your ethical restrictions will be very narrow.  I would say it would be rare for you to see more than 1 or 2 cases you might have to recuse yourself on as an attorney.  The cases you worked on as an examiner have already been "assigned" to an attorney, so it is unlikely you would get those cases.  And they will be allowed or abandoned within a year or two of you leaving.  And the prohibition is really just what you worked on (either as the main examiner, or a signing/reviewing examiner), so unless you are a trainer or SPE, there aren't many other people you need to worry about.

That is my understanding.  It is not the official position of the office.  If you want the official position of the office, email/call the ethics department at the PTO, it is their job to give you this kind of information, and they have always been helpful (the 2 times I have contacted them).
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ThomasPaine

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7102 on: 01-12-18 at 11:06 am »

I didn't have to recuse myself from a single case for the one or two year (can't remember how long the restriction was) period after leaving the office.  Nothing even came close to even requiring consideration.
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rodya

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7103 on: Yesterday at 08:28 am »

When I was in law school the big name IP firms paid like Biglaw (or close to it) for new associates so I assume would be paying $160k+ today. I'm talking places like Fish and Finnegan. Several of my classmates were examiners and got jobs like that. I also knew people that went to places like Oblon that I am fairly sure don't pay that well, but I don't have first hand knowledge.

What does a firm like Oblon pay ? It seems like there are big firms with a hundred attorneys e.g. Kilpatrick, then there  are small firms with 6 attorneys, then there are the places in between that have maybe 50 attorneys.

I know those middle places don't pay as well as Kilpatrick but I can't imagine they pay as little as the small places. The aipla report isn't really all that helpful figuring it out but I've always been curious what these in between attorneys are making versus say a primary.

Truly only interested in DC area rates and mostly out of just curiosity?
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