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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2403751 times)

snapshot

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7170 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 #7171 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 #7172 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 #7173 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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snapshot

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7174 on: 02-12-18 at 07:38 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?

For the jump start on having a GS-14 salary?  To look good on their resume for later?  It has absolutely nothing to do with how much work you need to do to pass the full sig program.  There is no difference in the full sig program requirements for someone who does the Masters level thing and someone who does not.
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7175 on: 02-12-18 at 10:33 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?

For the jump start on having a GS-14 salary?  To look good on their resume for later?  It has absolutely nothing to do with how much work you need to do to pass the full sig program.  There is no difference in the full sig program requirements for someone who does the Masters level thing and someone who does not.
The examiner that I know that did this was semi-bragging that he didn't have to do the 13.5 position factor.

Rather, the "master level thing" let him stay at the 13 position factor, thus, less work.

This was ten years ago, so I'm a little fuzzy on the details.

Since you're calling it "master level thing", you seem to know as little about it as I do? I'm going dig around on POPA's website to see if I can find anything.
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7176 on: 02-12-18 at 11:07 pm »

"The successful completion of a Masterís Level Rating, which can only be done when an examiner has successfully passed the Partial Signatory Authority Review Program, allows an examiner to progress from GS-13 PSA to GS-14 PSA"
http://www.popa.org/about/advocacy/signatory-authority-1/

So, it looks like instead of being stuck at the 13.5 position factor, a partial sig examiner can get a gs-14 promotion (without completing the program, and without becoming a primary), thus, get gs-14 pay, and skip the additional unpaid work at a 13.5 position factor.

That's what the guy was bragging about.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7177 on: 02-12-18 at 11:14 pm »

"The successful completion of a Masterís Level Rating, which can only be done when an examiner has successfully passed the Partial Signatory Authority Review Program, allows an examiner to progress from GS-13 PSA to GS-14 PSA"
http://www.popa.org/about/advocacy/signatory-authority-1/

So, it looks like instead of being stuck at the 13.5 position factor, a partial sig examiner can get a gs-14 promotion (without completing the program, and without becoming a primary), thus, get gs-14 pay, and skip the additional unpaid work at a 13.5 position factor.

That's what the guy was bragging about.

This.  Masters or not, you're doing the same amount of work with the same BD during the program (1st half is the same because you can't become Master until you've passed, 2nd half the same because it just is).  The difference is that you get GS-14 pay instead of GS-13 pay if you are Masters, and will be ~1 year ahead for the rest of your career on the step scale (which matters less after the first few raises, or if you go for a GS-15 position.
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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.

steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7178 on: 02-13-18 at 01:11 am »

Very important question - why do you want to be a GS-15?  Money?  Prestige?  Some other reason?
One reason could be to "pump up" your pension.

However, there appears to be even better way ... get on the 50 mile PHP program to the San Jose office.

Examiners are paid based on special pay or general (locality) pay , whichever is higher. San Jose examiners make more base pay than any other examiners, because their locality is so high.

A GS14/10 examiner in San Jose pay gets $161, 817 in base pay (BETTER THAN WHAT A GS-15/10 Makes in DC)
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/salary-tables/pdf/2018/SF.pdf

161,817 - 150, 881 = $10,936 pay difference between GS14/10 DC examiner, and a GS14/10 San Jose examiner

Doing your "high three" salary years in San Jose, would result in .... $10,936 * 40 * .011 = $4811 yearly pension increase (assuming 40 years)
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two banks of four

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7179 on: 02-13-18 at 12:13 pm »

Very important question - why do you want to be a GS-15?  Money?  Prestige?  Some other reason?
One reason could be to "pump up" your pension.

However, there appears to be even better way ... get on the 50 mile PHP program to the San Jose office.

Examiners are paid based on special pay or general (locality) pay , whichever is higher. San Jose examiners make more base pay than any other examiners, because their locality is so high.

A GS14/10 examiner in San Jose pay gets $161, 817 in base pay (BETTER THAN WHAT A GS-15/10 Makes in DC)
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/salary-tables/pdf/2018/SF.pdf

161,817 - 150, 881 = $10,936 pay difference between GS14/10 DC examiner, and a GS14/10 San Jose examiner

Doing your "high three" salary years in San Jose, would result in .... $10,936 * 40 * .011 = $4811 yearly pension increase (assuming 40 years)

10k after FICA and a 22/25% tax is 7k a year, or $600/month, and IIRC, comparable state taxes are also higher.  That difference won't cover the difference in renting/buying.  I dare say that there would be no desirable place within a 50 mile radius of San Jose for which this would make financial sense.

They are also capped on OT, but perhaps can make it back through higher productivity. 
« Last Edit: 02-13-18 at 12:15 pm by two banks of four »
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7180 on: 02-13-18 at 01:24 pm »

Yeah, the "extra" money you'd make in the San Jose office is absolutely NOT worth it.  Just hotel from anywhere else in the US and accept the "lower" pay scale.  There are plenty of great places in the US where you can get a great house in a fantastic neighborhood for well under $500k, while anywhere worth living within 50 miles of San Jose, the same kind of house (1) doesn't exist, or (2) is in the $2M+ range.  Your extra $10k a year won't make up that difference.
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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.

nsbe22

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7181 on: 02-13-18 at 03:50 pm »

I received an offer yesterday, same March 19th start date. Huge pay cut, hoping having previous federal employment will help close the gap a bit esp since I just got my masters.

there's also another announcement on USAJOBS for PE's that closes in early June. They have an end of June start date scheduled.


a few days ago. Start is in late March.

Hi EngineeringStudent, I received the offer couple days ago, and I think we probably start at the same time as March 19.
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PatentExaminer18

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7182 on: 02-13-18 at 04:35 pm »

Good Luck. Curious to know what make people take a huge pay cut to join the PTO.
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fewyearsin

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7183 on: 02-13-18 at 04:40 pm »

Was it a step 8 at least?  If they offered less than a step 8, it may be worth your time to make a quick call and ask them to increase the offer to more closely match your previous salary (they can only do so much, even a step 10 is probably way low for you).  You need evidence (e.g., tax returns) to show your higher previous salary, and they aren't always willing/able to change the offer.

The plus side, if you plan to stay as an examiner and are willing to work hard (or at least work average), you can get a grade increase each year up to GS-13, then 2 years for GS-14, which is pretty quick progression with clearly designated goals for each promotion.  So 5 years from now things may look much better, if you can hold out that long.


Also, to the next poster, the reason I took a huge pay cut was for the stability and for the mid-long run, the 5-10 year period at the office is kind of the sweet spot of good salary, easy(ish) job, and lots of flexibility and guaranteed time off.  It's a life decision more than a career decision.  Honestly, the first couple years I had so much free time outside of work I didn't know what to do with myself for a while.  It's so easy at some jobs to get caught up in working all the time that you forget that these are the best/healthiest years of your life, and you don't actually have to spend them as a 24/7 slave to your job.  The PTO pays enough to live on, though you'll never be rich.  C'est la vie.
« Last Edit: 02-13-18 at 04:42 pm by fewyearsin »
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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.

openpatent

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7184 on: 02-13-18 at 11:50 pm »

So long as you donít lose your mind 🙄

mindlessly paper pushing with no human contact may not  be the best way to spend oneís best years 😏
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