PATENT EXAMINER POSITIONS
- ORGANIZATIONAL PROFILE
- CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
- QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
- RESPONSIBILITIES, TRAINING AND ADVANCEMENT
- EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS
The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) determines the patentability of discoveries of inventors throughout the world. This determination is made by approximately 2500 highly trained scientists and engineers (Patent Examiners). An Examiner analyzes the subject matter of a patent application and the pertinent prior art, i.e. patents and other published technical materials, and determines whether the claimed invention is patentable. He/she applies procedural and substantive law and grants or rejects the claims of the application. Generally, Examiners specialize in one of the engineering or scientific fields described below.
|PATENT EXAMINER OPTIONS|
|ENGINEERING||LIFE SCIENCES||PHYSICAL SCIENCES|
|General||Ceramic||Horticulture||DESIGN PATENT EXAMINERS|
Applicants from all engineering disciplines will be considered.
The following engineering specialty areas are preferred:
- Electrical and Electronic Engineers typically judge the patentability of inventions in all types of computer hardware , telecommunications equipment, photography, illumination, transmission systems, information transmission storage and retrieval, radio, television, data processing systems, electrical switches, semiconductor devices, radiant energy and optics.
- Mechanical Engineers review the patentability of inventions in areas such as conveyors, aeronautics, motor vehicles, tools surgery, power plants, internal combustion engines, and heat generation.
- Chemical Engineers examine the patentability of inventions in areas such as petroleum chemistry, metallurgy, processing of plastics, fuels, medicine, natural resins, photography, foods, microbiology and phase separation.
Career opportunities for BS, MS and Ph.D. degree graduates are available for scientists such as physicists, chemists, biotechnologists, biologists, microbiologists and related sciences.
Requirements For GS-5 Entry Level Positions
- Engineers: Successful completion of a full 4-year professional engineering curriculum leading to a bachelor’s or higher degree in engineering in an accredited college or university.
- Chemists: Successful completion of all of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in an accredited college or university that has included 30 semester hours of chemistry.
- Microbiologists: Successful completion of all of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in an accredited college or university with major study in microbiology, biology or chemistry. Such study must have included at least 20 semester hours in microbiology and other subjects related to the study of microorganisms, and 20 hours in the physical and mathematical sciences.
- Physicists: Successful completion of all of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in an accredited college or university that has included 24 semester hours of physics.
- Biologists: Successful completion of all of the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in an accredited college or university with a major study in biological science , agriculture, natural resource management or allied disciplines.
- Design: Successful completion of a full curriculum of study in an accredited college or university leading to a bachelor’s degree or higher in industrial design, architecture, product design, applied arts, or graphics.
Requirements For GS-7 Positions And Above
- GS-7: GS-5 level requirements as stated above plus one of the following conditions 1) one year of professional experience in an appropriate field, 2) one full year of graduate education in an appropriate field or law school, 3) one year of appropriate student trainee or cooperative workstudy experience or 4) evidence of superior academic achievement.
- GS-9: GS-5 level requirements as stated above plus one of the following conditions 1) two years professional experience in an appropriate field, 2) completion of all requirements for a master’s degree in an appropriate field, 3) two full years of graduate education in an appropriate field, 4) a combination of superior academic achievement (as required for GS-7 above) plus one year of appropriate professional experience, or a law degree (LLB or JD).
- GS-11: GS-5 level requirements as stated above plus one of the following: 1) three years of professional experience in an appropriate field, 2) completion of all requirements for a Doctoral Degree in an appropriate field, or 3) three full years of graduate education in an appropriate field.
RESPONSIBILITIES, TRAINING AND ADVANCEMENT
The United States Patent System is at the forefront of technological advancement, especially in the areas of biotechnology and computer technology, with patents forming the basic and necessary incentive for research and development. Examiners are constantly exposed to the latest innovations in a given field and frequently make decisions that are a critical link in an incentive system which stimulates not only the national economy but the global economy as well.
- Training: Every new patent examiner receives both on-the-job and formal training at the Patent and Trademark Office Academy. On- the-job training is determined by the new employee’s supervisor and comprises individual “hands on” instructions in the complexities of patent examining. The Patent Academy provides the formal training with an initial two week program which provides the new examiner with the basics of patent examining practice and procedure. During the first year of employment several additional courses are taught in the Patent Academy which cover all advanced examining functions and legal concepts involved in these functions.
- Advancement Opportunities: Promotions are based on individual ability and work performance. Promotion to the GS-13 level generally takes from two to five years, depending on the starting level and individual performance. Promotion to the GS-14 or GS-15 level requires the attainment of full signatory authority and the mastery of the technological complexity of the art examined.
Employment application materials include:
- the Recruiting Notice
- a Qualifications Information Statement, which describes the duties and qualifications requirements for Patent Examiner positions at GS-5, 7, 9, and 11; (3)
- a Supplemental Qualification Statement, an occupational questionnaire used to determine your eligibility via telephone application, and
- an OF-612, Optional Application for Federal Employment
The US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Office of Washington Examining Services will fill available Patent examiner positions for the Patent and Trademark Office using its Telephone Application Process, called Micro-computer Assisted Rating System (MARS). Patent Examiner registers are maintained covering each of the four major specialty areas: Electrical, Biotechnology, Chemical and Mechanical. To be considered for more than one register an applicant will have to apply separately for each register.
|Application materials may be obtained by telephone from the Office of Personnel Management on (202) 606-2700 or using a toll-free number to contact the Patent and Trademark Office on 1-800-368-3064.|