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USPTO Patent Examiner Jobs

I am thinking of leaving private practice and joining the US stuntman11/30/10
I worked there for several years. Your mileage may vary. It Mets_fan12/02/10
"I have friends who work at the PTO and they love their pay. midlevelmonkey12/02/10
I worked there for two years and co-sign everything Mets_fan smj21212/12/10
Just lunched with a friend who got fired from PTO after not aknas01/03/18
does this all apply to both the patent and trademark examine dcm198301/03/18
Patent. aknas01/03/18
I got rejected for the TM Examiner job and I wrote my law re notreallyalawyer01/03/18
Sorry to hear that. It seems like people who generally get i ugly01/05/18
No one cares about a law review note. Some firms like people thirdtierlaw01/06/18
Literally no one cares that you had a law review note over a downwardslope01/06/18
I’ve gotten fed rejection emails over a year after I appli govlaw01/06/18
It was clearly in my cover letter notreallyalawyer01/06/18
Again- NO ONE CARES. Does the posting reference that relevan downwardslope01/06/18
It's extremely unlikely anyone is reading your coverletter u thirdtierlaw01/06/18
You’d think the word trademark in my resume would have set notreallyalawyer01/06/18
It says Jan 3 on the time stamp. But maybe something glitche thirdtierlaw01/06/18
You can’t make any generalizations about how it works. For downwardslope01/06/18
NRAL should change his handle to ThreadJacker. dogdaypm01/06/18
NRAL should change his handle to "Law School Scam: An Inconv aknas01/07/18
Stuntman, you should read through this thread. Thousands of dogdaypm01/06/18
Here's a salient post from that website from last month: aknas01/07/18

stuntman (Nov 30, 2010 - 6:43 pm)

I am thinking of leaving private practice and joining the USPTO. I'm making 80k now at a small IP Botique, getting worked to death, not enough supervision or training and also fear losing my job. I have friends who work at the PTO and they love their pay and their work-life balance. Plus, you qualify to get your loans wiped out after 10 years.

Does anybody have any experience with working as a Patent Examiner for the USPTO?

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Mets_fan (Dec 2, 2010 - 2:31 pm)

I worked there for several years. Your mileage may vary. It all depends on the people you end up working for.

In order to keep the job, you need to meet a certain quota of cases each quarter, and to get promoted each year you need to beat the quota by 5%-10%. But if your superiors consistently bounce back your cases for extensive rework, or outright refuse to sign off on your work, then you are screwed.

I was hired into a group with a "hands off" boss and lunatic Primary Examiners. The result was that I was there every weekend, and got no promotions for several years (until the lunatics were reassigned elsewhere).

Also, keep in mind that the Examiner's job is different from that of an attorney on the outside. You will spend most of your time deciphering claims and searching for prior art, not doing legal work. The longer you stay at the USPTO, the harder it will be to find a job on the outside.

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midlevelmonkey (Dec 2, 2010 - 3:37 pm)

"I have friends who work at the PTO and they love their pay..."

Are you sure about that? I was always under the impression that starting pay is pretty low, in the 40s (confirmed through USAJOBS). you're currently making 2x that amount, and probably with more growth potential in private practice. Combine that with having to live in one of the highest COL areas in country (not sure if you have to move), and it just doesn't make sense to me.

I do understand the work-life balance point though. Although Mets_fans' post is putting doubts in my mind as well.

I would just stick it out for a year or two for experience/pay your dues then move on to another firm.

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smj212 (Dec 12, 2010 - 12:15 am)

I worked there for two years and co-sign everything Mets_fan says. Your mileage will vary GREATLY.

I had a nutty supervisor who bounced back everything I submitted and rarely made quota, let alone exceeded it in order to reach promotion. I was there on weekends regularly (and then had to hide the fact that I was working weekends because of rules against overtime for junior employees).

On the other hand, I had coworkers who had overly permissive supervisors who would approve ANYTHING (typos, incorrect legal arguments, etc.) and had a great quality of life there.

Problem is, you won't know which supervisor you'll get. It's pretty damn hard to transfer to a different group if you have a boss you clash with. Also co-sign with Mets_fan that you won't do tons of legal work there, especially as a junior examiner. Most of the job is claim interpretation, prior art searching, and playing "Mad Libs" with 102/103 form paragraphs.

Maybe things have changed since I left, but the pay was decent (but the DC area does have one of the highest COLs in the nation). Lowest paying when I started was mid-50s. Unsure what they'll start people at now, but I doubt you'd get $80k. Unsure where you're coming from, but it's probably not worth the drop in pay and loss of actual IP legal work. I always got the impression firms didn't take the PTO that seriously...

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aknas (Jan 3, 2018 - 1:20 pm)

Just lunched with a friend who got fired from PTO after not passing one year probation.

PTO seemingly prefers newbies just out of law school and recently barred, because they won't conflict out. If you are a SME (subject matter expert) you'll conflict out and given work outside your SME, which is a real drag.

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dcm1983 (Jan 3, 2018 - 2:16 pm)

does this all apply to both the patent and trademark examiner jobs, or is one better than the other?

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aknas (Jan 3, 2018 - 2:20 pm)

Patent.

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notreallyalawyer (Jan 3, 2018 - 2:33 pm)

I got rejected for the TM Examiner job and I wrote my law review note on a trademark issue. I’m so never going to be a lawyer

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ugly (Jan 5, 2018 - 11:26 pm)

Sorry to hear that. It seems like people who generally get in are ones with 1 or more years of trademark examining experience. I'm not on TM side of things, but that's what I hear.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 6, 2018 - 8:34 am)

No one cares about a law review note. Some firms like people who on law review so they can put it on their websites, but if it's anything more than a 1 line item on your resume, you're doing it wrong, especially because it was so long ago. Have you published anything since then?

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downwardslope (Jan 6, 2018 - 9:04 am)

Literally no one cares that you had a law review note over a decade ago. If I spent my time coming on JDU commenting on every fed rejection, people would be passed out on the ground with drool coming out of their mouths. I probably applied to well over 200 jobs and was offered a total of 5 interviews. I applied to hundreds of other jobs I didn’t get.

People care about what you are doing with your life now, not what you did in law school.

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govlaw (Jan 6, 2018 - 9:12 am)

I’ve gotten fed rejection emails over a year after I applied, sometimes getting nothing at all. It is a numbers game. The person screening your resume is looking for the bullet points from the posting, and the posting likely doesn’t reference decade-old law review notes.

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notreallyalawyer (Jan 6, 2018 - 9:19 am)

It was clearly in my cover letter

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downwardslope (Jan 6, 2018 - 9:25 am)

Again- NO ONE CARES. Does the posting reference that relevant experience includes a decade old law review note? Likely not. You got rejected. Move onto the next application like everyone else does and don’t take it personally. Go onto Fed Soup if you want to see what is normal in terms of applications. Many people have 200, 300, or even 500 applications before they get a federal job. Most of them also don’t reject federal interviews like you do and then spend days whining about it unless they realized that they couldn’t move for whatever reason.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 6, 2018 - 9:26 am)

It's extremely unlikely anyone is reading your coverletter until after you've made through first the automated review, then the once over by the H.R. person. The two fed jobs I got offers on, even though they both had group interviews, it was clear only one or two of the people had read my coverletter.

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notreallyalawyer (Jan 6, 2018 - 9:31 am)

You’d think the word trademark in my resume would have set off bells and whistles in their software? Anyways I wrote that post at least a month ago

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 6, 2018 - 9:46 am)

It says Jan 3 on the time stamp. But maybe something glitched.

But that isn't how the automated systems work, they look at key words that fit the job description within your resume. It's why almost everyone recommends using the USA Jobs "resume builder". So maybe it dinged on the word trademark. But it won't put you in a better spot than Joe Schmoe who has 10 hits because he essentially copy and pasted the Ad.

Then it gets somewhat weighed, starting with preferences, for review by an h.r. person to review for egregious computer mistakes.

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downwardslope (Jan 6, 2018 - 10:30 am)

You can’t make any generalizations about how it works. For some positions, they just refer everyone to either subject matter expert or hiring manager because the HR people have no clue what it takes to do the job. Either way, if your resume is not keyed to the position or *very detailed*, you are not going to get a high score. Most people applying to federal jobs have lengthy resumes. At least two, sometimes ten or more pages depending on the position of interest. OPM has guides for each series and what is required for each position title in the series, and smart people will make a resume for each job series and address the points using the resume builder. Even with that, you won’t address position-specific needs and might need to enhance for each position.

I worked for a state before and they typically scored resumes based on the skills that were required. Typically someone in the department doing the hiring would do the scoring, not HR, who just reviewed for the absolute basic qualifications like did they have the right level of education, coursework, and a license/certification if needed. There the resume was limited, so at least we didn’t get the 10-page resumes.

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dogdaypm (Jan 6, 2018 - 10:47 am)

NRAL should change his handle to ThreadJacker.

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aknas (Jan 7, 2018 - 7:43 am)

NRAL should change his handle to "Law School Scam: An Inconvenient Truth"

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dogdaypm (Jan 6, 2018 - 10:48 am)

Stuntman, you should read through this thread. Thousands of entries, many from people who jumped from private practice to the pto.

http://www.intelproplaw.com/ip_forum/index.php/topic,1421.0.html

Edit to add, here's the back/newer end of the thread.

http://www.intelproplaw.com/ip_forum/index.php/topic,1421.7080.html

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aknas (Jan 7, 2018 - 7:41 am)

Here's a salient post from that website from last month:

" it was during the call that I asked about "matching" my current job. They will (or might), within the current GS scale. But since I've heard that most offers are towards the high end of the GS-7 or GS-9 scale, there isn't much more room for them to go up. Meaning, if they are offering people GS-9 step 8 (currently $77,884), the most you could negotiate up, if they were willing, is to a GS-9 step 10 (currently $82,094, a difference of $4,210). Worth trying to get the bump? Sure. Worth not taking the job if they won't do it? Not really. If you do well at the job, withn 4 years everyone will be the same at a GS-14 step 1, since you go down a few steps each time you get a promotion (the exact formula is on OPM's website, it's not complicated, but people sure can't seem to understand it for some reason, so I won't explain it here since it's not important to the discussion, but is one of my pet peeves



So basically it's starvation wages for the probationary period, but, once you've made it past four years, then you're paid halfway decently and guaranteed for life.

As for getting a job there, I've already posted plenty about the HYS top ten percent requirement, the sex/age/minority/veteran requirement, the nepotism (yes,there's nepotism, scientifically proven but swept under the rug), etc.

Best wishes and good luck==you'll need it.

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