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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2579821 times)

fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7155 on: 02-09-18 at 01:05 am »

5. If you want to work in a particular technology area, then make your resume have those keywords , so some admin person will classify you in that art.
This.

I don't know if it was coincidence, but I listed about 10 different technologies areas I had experience with, and was placed in an art unit focused specifically on the very first area listed on my resume.
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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.

EngineeringStudent

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7156 on: 02-09-18 at 08:30 am »

I thought placement comes after you complete patent training academy...
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snapshot

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7157 on: 02-09-18 at 09:50 am »

I thought placement comes after you complete patent training academy...
No, you'll know where you'll be working right away, because you WILL be examining cases in that art area while you're in the academy.
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EngineeringStudent

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7158 on: 02-09-18 at 10:49 am »

Do you think Computer networks ( TC2400) fall under electrical engineering or computer engineering. I know that it is more toward computer, but there is a hardware ( electronics ) components in it... 

or maybe there is no such classification. Thanks
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abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7159 on: 02-09-18 at 07:09 pm »

Computer networks fall under class 709, and if memory serves me correctly, there was a time at the PTO when networks were viewed from a strictly hardware perspective, and they created a separate class for them. However, as time went on and the technology developed, people started realizing this was a strange way to classify them, especially since the claimed subject matter often falls into areas like mobile communications (class 455) and multiplexing (class 370 - well, you can put just about anything in class 370, and they do). But the historical classification remains, and there is a little bit of sense to it.

If you are thinking of applying to work for a specific group like 709, my suggestion is not to limit yourself so narrowly, in view of the technological overlap in different areas, as you are obviously well aware.
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johnthatcher

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7160 on: 02-10-18 at 01:39 am »

I have heard about some SPEs being very tough...  Are they challenging to work with because of the language barrier given that English is a second language for many of the SPEs ?  What are some other ways the SPEs can be tough ?

Thanks.
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bluerogue

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7161 on: 02-10-18 at 12:16 pm »

I have heard about some SPEs being very tough...  Are they challenging to work with because of the language barrier given that English is a second language for many of the SPEs ?  What are some other ways the SPEs can be tough ?

The PTO is a large organization.  You'll fine SPEs of various "toughness" just like you'll find managers of various toughness elsewhere. Overall the vast majority of SPEs are reasonable. Despite examiner grumbling, the PTO does recognize and try to move bad SPEs into areas where they'll do the least damage, it's just not fun if you're under a bad SPE.  I'd say that most SPEs are native speakers of English and you're not going to run into a language barrier. 

Probably what most new examiners find "tough" about a SPE is that they won't sign off on allowances.  This is usually for a few reasons.  First, the new examiner may not be aware of the art that is out there as they're not good at searching yet.  Second, the new examiner may not be good at "pitching" an allowance.  "I can't find it" is usually the reason that new examiners give for wanting to allow. The better way of pitching the allowance is to talk about what you did find, why it does not match the claims and why your combination does not make sense.  I can't find it for a new examiner is often taken as an indication that the examiner did not search enough or understand enough about what he did find, rightfully or not. Last, you do need to learn how to write difficult rejections.  It's easier to get you used to writing good rejections early in your career than it is to get you to primary and then have you allowing everything because you don't know how to properly reject. 

Also, keep this in mind, you're not the one signing off on the rejection.  You SPE/primary is.  So check your ego.  They may be unreasonable, but in the end it's their signature not yours.  Learn what your SPE/primary wants and their style and 99% of the time, you'll do just fine.  A lot of the friction comes from juniors who think they know better and won't take guidance. Sometimes you just have to do things that are weird or seem wrong to you.  As long as it's not illegal (and I don't mean your interpretation of the patent statutes vs your SPE's) just do it. 

Edit: A lot of new examiners are also very bad at giving claims their broadest reasonable interpretation.  A lot of times, a new examiner will read a claim far more narrowly than it is called for.  Again, defer to your SPE/primary to their interpretation and learn why they're giving it.  That will help you also learn where the line between an allowance and a rejection is.  Too many new examiners fight their SPE/primary on BRI and that is a common cause of friction.
« Last Edit: 02-10-18 at 12:20 pm by bluerogue »
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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.

Toot Aps Esroh

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7162 on: 02-10-18 at 01:32 pm »

These parts quoted:


Probably what most new examiners find "tough" about a SPE is that they won't sign off on allowances.  This is usually for a few reasons.  First, the new examiner may not be aware of the art that is out there as they're not good at searching yet.  Second, the new examiner may not be good at "pitching" an allowance.  "I can't find it" is usually the reason that new examiners give for wanting to allow. The better way of pitching the allowance is to talk about what you did find, why it does not match the claims and why your combination does not make sense.  I can't find it for a new examiner is often taken as an indication that the examiner did not search enough or understand enough about what he did find, rightfully or not.

Also, keep this in mind, you're not the one signing off on the rejection.  You SPE/primary is.  So check your ego.  They may be unreasonable, but in the end it's their signature not yours.  Learn what your SPE/primary wants and their style and 99% of the time, you'll do just fine.  A lot of the friction comes from juniors who think they know better and won't take guidance. Sometimes you just have to do things that are weird or seem wrong to you.  As long as it's not illegal (and I don't mean your interpretation of the patent statutes vs your SPE's) just do it. 




...can be adapted and applied analogously to many situations in the legal/patent world, whether working as an examiner or patent practitioner.  Very good advice.
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PatentExaminer18

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7163 on: 02-11-18 at 09:29 pm »

Once one reaches Primary Patent Examiner ( GS14-1), what programs/training ( other than SPE) are available to move to GS-15 ? How long does each one take to complete ? If you have a master degree, would help you become a GS-15 faster ?
« Last Edit: 02-11-18 at 09:31 pm by PatentExaminer18 »
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7164 on: 02-12-18 at 02:01 pm »

Once one reaches Primary Patent Examiner ( GS14-1), what programs/training ( other than SPE) are available to move to GS-15 ? How long does each one take to complete ? If you have a master degree, would help you become a GS-15 faster ?

It's an interesting question because it looks like a GS-15 PHD-specialist and GS-15 Generalist have the same position factor as a GS-14.
See page 4, http://www.popa.org/static/media/uploads/uploads/examiner-pap-guidelines-04_19_12-508.pdf

This is all I know ....

Masters degree can help for the gs-14 program, because an examiner can keep a GS-13 position factor while being evaluated.

People without "evidence" of their mastery/expertness/talent have to do more work on the program.

However, merely having a Masters degree is not enough. I knew one person who did the Masters certification, you have to get a detailed description of Masters courses you took, and show how they map to particular required training. This guy had to take two additional college Masters courses, because he didn't have enough of the required training. Also, I heard you also have sit with a board of SPEs, and they ask you technical questions, and you're suppose to be smart enough to know the answers.

Equivalently, I think GS-15 examiners have to prove their mastery/expertness/talent, either as a PHD-specialist or demonstration of being an "GS-15 superb generalist". I would think this would also require you to sit with a board of SPEs and show them how smart you are.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7165 on: 02-12-18 at 02:21 pm »

Very important question - why do you want to be a GS-15?  Money?  Prestige?  Some other reason?

For money, as a primary (GS-14) you can work overtime up to the GS-15 step 10 cap.  This is easy if you are willing to work that many extra hours.  GS-15 examiners will have a lot more expected of them, both in production, and value to an art unit/tech center.  So if it is money you are after, GS-15 Examiner is probably not the way to go.  There are other GS-15 positions that are not examining that might be of more interest if you are after money, like SPE, Petitions, PCT, legal, QAS, etc.  But depending on your personality and abilities, these may be harder than examining.

For prestige, well, I don't know how to say this, but prestige is not something you will find at the Office.

That said, only some art areas are sufficiently "difficult" or "technical" to allow you to do the masters or expert examiner path.  I was told that my art is too simple (not necessarily easy, though) to merit masters or expert level examiners.

Basically, I personally see no reason to become anything more than a regular primary examiner, unless you want to take a different path at the Office other than examining.  If "lack of progression potential" is a problem for you, you should know now that examining is a dead end job.  But a pretty decent paying and predictable dead end job, but mostly a dead end.
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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 #7166 on: 02-12-18 at 04:33 pm »


People without "evidence" of their mastery/expertness/talent have to do more work on the program.

This is 100% not true.
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openpatent

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7167 on: 02-12-18 at 04:57 pm »

like SPE ...But depending on your personality and abilities, these may be harder than examining.

Being a spe? Hell no. As my spe would say, spes are the laziest people in the world.
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7168 on: 02-12-18 at 05:12 pm »


People without "evidence" of their mastery/expertness/talent have to do more work on the program.

This is 100% not true.
What's not true? Why do you think examiners go through all the headaches of qualifying their Masters degree before they start the GS-14 program?
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abc123

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7169 on: 02-12-18 at 05:36 pm »

Also, I heard you also have sit with a board of SPEs, and they ask you technical questions, and you're suppose to be smart enough to know the answers.
Given the composition of the board, the questions can't be too difficult :)

Actually, some SPE's I know earn their pay, but for others, I would say the paper weight on my desk makes a more valuable contribution to society,
not to mention having a considerably higher IQ.

I thought they did away with "expert" examiners, i.e., GS-15 level. At any rate, the ones I knew were very valuable assets to the office, and I would say the patent system generally. They examined a huge number of cases, were available to give searches, gave unofficial mentorship, trained new examiners, and were on call to handle difficult cases and questions. I don't mind the thought of paying them generously, even though I don't think there really is a big pay differential.

I think fewyearsin answered this question perfectly, just like bluerogue's response to the question about tough SPE's.
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