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Author Topic: Working for the USPTO  (Read 2520365 times)

snapshot

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7260 on: 04-06-18 at 10:48 am »

"I'll be sure to remember your post when an application I recently rejected (one the EPO considered allowable) comes back with amendments to the claims because I understood the invention better than the EPO examiner did."

EPO examiners don't get to use BUI, like you do.  Stop thinking that applicants amend because you "understood the invention."  They're stuck with trying to deal with the toxic mix of the PTO's production system that incentivizes game playing by the examiner, BUI, and compact prosecution in their efforts to get a patent without having to appeal every single case.
::)
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lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7261 on: 04-06-18 at 12:39 pm »

I know the EPO has a "search division" and an "examining division" but I really don't know if the examiners are involved with both.

My understanding (which may or may not be correct) is also that in the EPO you can't make an amendment to add subject matter that wasn't previously searched. So of course if you find a good D1 you aren't going to retract it until it's time to allow, because the applicant isn't going to add a bunch of new things to get around it. Sounds like apples to oranges. I don't usually drop my primary reference until allowance either unless applicants amend around it. Like I said above, do a good search for the first action, get the best art out there from the start.

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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.

johnthatcher

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7262 on: 04-07-18 at 11:45 pm »

Hello,

I am wondering which are some of the toughest art units for EE to work in terms of the subject matter ? 
Thanks.
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7263 on: 04-08-18 at 03:21 pm »

Hello,

I am wondering which are some of the toughest art units for EE to work in terms of the subject matter ? 
Thanks.
I don't have an answer, however, here are my insights ....

EE AUs span many different TCs (Technology Centers).

I have EE examiner friends in TC 2100, 2400, TC 2800. The ones in TC 2100 get a lot more time to do the job than EEs in TC 2400 and 2800.. simply because they're in TC 2100.

The hardest EE unit is likely an intersection of these factors:
1) difficult SPE
2) low hours
3) poorer applicants: fights you constantly, can't afford many RCES, lower skilled (cheaper) attorneys, fights to get after final allowances
4) lower allowance rates

My bet would be that it's TC 2800.

1. Despite their phenomenal allowance rates, they get a lot less time to do the job.

2. TC 2800 appear to be classical, low-level, circuit-based EEs, not "modern, cool, sexy, rich applicant" TC 2100 AU computer-based EEs. Big money is going into computer technology inventions.

3. Classical circuit technology seems boring to me compared to higher-level EE inventions.

4. I have heard one reason for their huge allowance rate is that they can simply look at the drawings and determine if it's a unique configuration, however, looking at their statistics online, it appears they seldom do 2+ RCEs per application. That means they're constantly having to work on new cases.
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snapshot

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7264 on: 04-08-18 at 04:36 pm »

My bet would be that it's TC 2800.

Office statistics have rated TC 2800 the "best" TC since I've been in the office.  And it's certainly not because the art units there would be difficult for an EE to work on in terms of subject matter.

1. Despite their phenomenal allowance rates, they get a lot less time to do the job.

What is a "lot less time" to do the job?  And wouldn't this defeat your argument?  Less time = easier technology = not tough AUs to be in.  Besides, this directly contradicts your "low allowance rates" point earlier in your post.

2. TC 2800 appear to be classical, low-level, circuit-based EEs, not "modern, cool, sexy, rich applicant" TC 2100 AU computer-based EEs. Big money is going into computer technology inventions.

This also defeats your argument.  How does being "classical, low-level, circuit-based EEs" (whatever that mean) make 2800 the toughest to work in?

3. Classical circuit technology seems boring to me compared to higher-level EE inventions.

Two issues here.  1) Boring to you does not mean the AUs would be tough to work in in terms of subject matter.  2)  There's a lot more than "classical circuit technology" in 2800.

4. I have heard one reason for their huge allowance rate is that they can simply look at the drawings and determine if it's a unique configuration, however, looking at their statistics online, it appears they seldom do 2+ RCEs per application. That means they're constantly having to work on new cases.

And this is a bad thing why?  Lack of RCEs, on its face, does not mean the work in 2800 is difficult.
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7265 on: 04-08-18 at 05:34 pm »

My bet would be that it's TC 2800.

Office statistics have rated TC 2800 the "best" TC since I've been in the office.  And it's certainly not because the art units there would be difficult for an EE to work on in terms of subject matter.
We have the "employee viewpoint survey"
http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/detail/CM56

However, I've never seen it broken down by TC.

What survey are you taking about?

1. Despite their phenomenal allowance rates, they get a lot less time to do the job.

What is a "lot less time" to do the job?  And wouldn't this defeat your argument?  Less time = easier technology = not tough AUs to be in.  Besides, this directly contradicts your "low allowance rates" point earlier in your post.
TC 2100 GS-14 EE AU is around 26 hours/bd.

My understanding is that's more time than a GS-9 EE examiner gets in TC 2800.

That's a huge difference.

Sure, maybe it doesn't matter, or maybe it does.

2. TC 2800 appear to be classical, low-level, circuit-based EEs, not "modern, cool, sexy, rich applicant" TC 2100 AU computer-based EEs. Big money is going into computer technology inventions.

This also defeats your argument.  How does being "classical, low-level, circuit-based EEs" (whatever that mean) make 2800 the toughest to work in?
Money makes things run smoother.

Likely, you get less fighting, you get better attorneys, you get more RCES ...

3. Classical circuit technology seems boring to me compared to higher-level EE inventions.

Two issues here.  1) Boring to you does not mean the AUs would be tough to work in in terms of subject matter.  2)  There's a lot more than "classical circuit technology" in 2800.
Sure.

However, for me, something that's "boring" is going to make it tougher.

4. I have heard one reason for their huge allowance rate is that they can simply look at the drawings and determine if it's a unique configuration, however, looking at their statistics online, it appears they seldom do 2+ RCEs per application. That means they're constantly having to work on new cases.

And this is a bad thing why?  Lack of RCEs, on its face, does not mean the work in 2800 is difficult.
Sure.
However, I think if you asked examiners if RCEs make work easier or harder, the answer would be "easier".

So, yes, logically, you're right. All these things may not matter. However, they could matter.
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lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7266 on: 04-08-18 at 06:36 pm »

I was in 2800 and examine cases from all over there today. As I said above, approximately 16 hours/bd at GS-14, so less than computer based things.

I wonít say it was easy, but it was definitely doable. There are lots of circuits, yes, and I donít like circuits. But thereís lots of semiconductor devices and optics, and such things have long been ďsexyĒ in the patent prosecution world, dunno about the examining world. But I like when I can basically search drawings much more than text, and thatís the case often. And these things just suit me for whatever reason so Iím glad Iím where I am. On occasion when I have to do computer/software type cases I donít enjoy them.

Most importantly, for current purposes, Alice issues are rare. That seems like a time suck and an allowance killer like none other at the moment, and it just isnít an issue in the 2800 arts that I do. If your allowance rate is less than 5% like steelie, you need to make up a lot of counts somewhere else.
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steelie

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7267 on: 04-09-18 at 05:00 pm »

I was in 2800 and examine cases from all over there today. As I said above, approximately 16 hours/bd at GS-14, so less than computer based things.

I wonít say it was easy, but it was definitely doable. There are lots of circuits, yes, and I donít like circuits. But thereís lots of semiconductor devices and optics, and such things have long been ďsexyĒ in the patent prosecution world, dunno about the examining world. But I like when I can basically search drawings much more than text, and thatís the case often. And these things just suit me for whatever reason so Iím glad Iím where I am. On occasion when I have to do computer/software type cases I donít enjoy them.

Most importantly, for current purposes, Alice issues are rare. That seems like a time suck and an allowance killer like none other at the moment, and it just isnít an issue in the 2800 arts that I do. If your allowance rate is less than 5% like steelie, you need to make up a lot of counts somewhere else.
For us, tc 2800 is presented as hell.

Several times in AU meetings, I've heard an examiner ask something like, "do you think we can get more time", and the supervisor will respond and end it with, "..... at least you're not in one of those electrical units".

Low allowance rate is not ideal. I imagine some units are loving life, while I work enourmous hours.  However, I get about 45 RCES per year (with no OT, 95%). That makes the job workable.

One benefit is that we only have to do a few new (non-RCE/non-CONT) cases a year.

The searching is the hardest part. Recently, I had to find a very specific, math formula used in an analogous context . This was an extraordinary difficult search, and it took me about 34 hours to find it. The attorney caved afterwards though.
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lazyexaminer

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7268 on: 04-09-18 at 05:20 pm »

For us, tc 2800 is presented as hell.

I've been here close to 20 years. I have pretty much always at least tolerated and usually enjoyed my job. If my job was the way you present yours I would have quit at least 15 years ago and never looked back. My job actually was like yours for a couple years and I came very close to quitting, but the SPE was removed. But anyway we don't have to have the same preferences, to each his own...
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johnthatcher

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7269 on: 04-09-18 at 08:23 pm »

What's the level of Engineering knowledge required for examining EE patents in general ?  In other words, do you just have to understand the basics of what the invention is or do you have to understand the invention in great detail ? 

Thanks very much.
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PatentExaminer18

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7270 on: 04-09-18 at 08:42 pm »

not too deep details, but the more knowledge and experience you have, the shorter and easier your search for prior art will be. If you do not understand the technology well, you still can  do examination but might need to spend more time searching...
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ex-aminer?

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7271 on: 04-16-18 at 04:33 pm »

"There's a good compromise somewhere between the overly detailed actions coming out of the USPTO and the 'this is all obvious to a skilled artisan' shotgun that you see out of the EPO."

EPO examiners always find D1 on the first search.  And stick with it.  And when you argue their "this is all obvious..." conclusions they take the arguments seriously and give them due consideration. 

USPTO examiners don't do any of those things.

Youíre probably fortunate to have some good experienced WIPO examiners in the areas you work.

As an examiner, Iím in a Art which deals with national stage cases constantly.  About 10% of the time the cited art is relevant and worth citing in my action.  The other 90% is garbage.  About half is the ďnoveltyĒ of something I can find in 5 minutes, and the other half is a rejection with art I wouldn't even cite in the 892.

Experiences between the WIPOand USPTO will obviously vary greatly on the actual examiners. I witness bad art in the USPTO all the time as well (finding a very relevant ďnon-priorĒ reference, and checking the cited art).

As someone else mentioned, good relevant art is everything.  Itís honestly probably easier and more productive to respond to an examiner who cites really close art and types ďhere ya go lol, dis is the best artĒ as the whole OA than a novella trying to weave together crappy art.

Edit: I meant WIPO not EPO*
« Last Edit: 04-18-18 at 06:08 pm by ex-aminer? »
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Feta Cheese

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7272 on: 04-17-18 at 12:43 am »

In my art I'd say the EPO finds good art 90% of the time. The other 10% makes me wonder what they're smoking. Last week I had the pleasure of looking at an EPO action where the examiner was apparently incapable of making basic high school-level chemistry calculations correctly.
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Toot Aps Esroh

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7273 on: 04-17-18 at 10:43 am »


As an examiner, Iím in a Art which deals with national stage cases constantly.  About 10% of the time the cited art is relevant and worth citing in my action.  The other 90% is garbage.  ...



Curious, is your comment above limited only to EPO as the international search authority?  I typically get good results there.  Horrible from other authorities.  Especially Korea, where the sky is apparently always blue and the references are apparently always (mostly) "A"-ok.
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johnthatcher

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Re: Working for the USPTO
« Reply #7274 on: 04-17-18 at 11:45 am »

Does anyone know if the HR has any wiggle room when it comes to the starting salary ?  Do they have to follow the GS pay table or do they have any discretion ?
Thanks very much.
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