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Author Topic: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample  (Read 883 times)

thinktwice

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Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« on: 02-12-18 at 07:17 am »

I'm a current examiner looking for a position on the private side. A law firm I'm applying to requires a writing sample.

Is it okay for me to submit an Office action I wrote? It was for a published application, and the action is available on the Public PAIR. I don't think there would be any confidentiality issue but just wanted to double check. I remember from back when I started working at the PTO that I'm not supposed to talk about the cases I'm working on. (This particular application has been allowed, but it hasn't been issued yet)

I thought about redacting information such as the case number and my SPE's name, but I don't think that'd make much difference because I can identify the application just by googling a limitation mentioned in the rejections.

If I shouldn't use an Office action as a writing sample, any ideas on what I could? The last technical writing I've done was in college (close to 10 years ago). I do have a published academic journal article from 2015, but that was a team effort.

edit: changed the subject to be more descriptive
« Last Edit: 02-12-18 at 07:19 am by thinktwice »
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Toot Aps Esroh

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Re: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« Reply #1 on: 02-12-18 at 11:41 am »

Looking at it only from the attorney/ethics side, I don't see how there could be an issue.  What I don't know is if there might be particular (and particularly nonsensical) restrictions on examiners.

Hopefully others might know, if so.

Good luck on your job search.
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blakesq

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Re: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« Reply #2 on: 02-12-18 at 11:45 am »

I agree with Toots Aps, I see no problem with submitting an office action you wrote in a published application.  No redaction necessary, imho.  However, my understanding is that the USPTO has some strict rules on Examiners interviewing for jobs with firms that had/has business before the USPTO.  Good luck!
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fewyearsin

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Re: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« Reply #3 on: 02-12-18 at 12:09 pm »

I agree with Toots Aps, I see no problem with submitting an office action you wrote in a published application.  No redaction necessary, imho.  However, my understanding is that the USPTO has some strict rules on Examiners interviewing for jobs with firms that had/has business before the USPTO.  Good luck!
The restriction is that you can't examine applications for anyone you are interiewing with while the process is ongoing.  So once you decide that you are interested in interviewing with a particular law firm or company, you recuse yourself from any of their work until the interview process ends (either with accepting a new position, which means you quit your examining job, or you get a rejection, which means you can go back to examining their cases, or until a set amount of time passes with no response from the potential employer (talk to ethics, there is an actual time frame specified)).  It's generally not an issue unless your docket is heavy with applications from the one specific law firm or company.
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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.

lazyexaminer

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Re: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« Reply #4 on: 02-12-18 at 12:22 pm »

I have used portions of office actions for internal job applications. No guarantees that itís ok, but no one ever said anything, and I didnít ask anyone I donít think as I see no issue if itís on public PAIR.
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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.

thinktwice

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Re: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« Reply #5 on: 02-12-18 at 02:29 pm »

Thank you all for the comments! I didn't know about the restriction, but that shouldn't be an issue because I don't have any cases from the firm.
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steelie

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Re: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« Reply #6 on: 02-12-18 at 04:43 pm »

Seems like a "red flag" if someone asks you for a writing sample, and you can't spend a few hours producing one.

I would write a parable about an imaginary widget.

"The King summoned the wisest technical people in the kingdom to explain the mysterious widget that was gifted to him".
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MYK

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Re: Using an Office Action as a Writing Sample
« Reply #7 on: 02-12-18 at 07:37 pm »

Seems like a "red flag" if someone asks you for a writing sample, and you can't spend a few hours producing one.

I would write a parable about an imaginary widget.

"The King summoned the wisest technical people in the kingdom to explain the mysterious widget that was gifted to him".
Generally speaking, law firms don't seem to be looking for creative fiction or love letters or poetry.  They want to see what you have written within the context of patent law.
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"The life of a patent solicitor has always been a hard one."  Judge Giles Rich, Application of Ruschig, 379 F.2d 990.

Disclaimer: not only am I not a lawyer, I'm not your lawyer.  Therefore, this does not constitute legal advice.
 



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