USPTO hiring hundreds of new patent examiners

From the USPTO: Qualified engineers, scientists, and graphic artists can apply now.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is seeking soon-to-be graduates and professionals with backgrounds in graphic design/art, as well as engineers with backgrounds in biomedical, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering to apply for hundreds of entry-level patent examiner positions in Alexandria, Virginia.

Patent examiners play a critical role in the agency’s efforts to foster innovation, competitiveness, and economic growth. USPTO examiners work closely with inventors and entrepreneurs to process their patent applications and determine whether or not a patent can be granted.

Join one of the most highly-skilled workforces in the country, at one of the best places to work in the federal government. Applications are being accepted for design patent examiners until June 24. Applications for all other patent examiner openings will be accepted until July 1. Visit the USAJobs website to apply; there are several potential cut-off dates prior to the deadline, so immediate submissions are highly recommended.

41 thoughts on “USPTO hiring hundreds of new patent examiners

  1. 4

    An important consideration that should accompany any “hiring hundreds” headline: what does the current attrition rate look like?

    We’ve heard snippets from Ben and other examiners that the internal management changes have made things more difficult for examiners, so I have to wonder if the hiring reflects any actual growth in total number of examiners.

  2. 3

    Somewhat off topic, but has anyone else noticed that the rate of turn-around on office actions has really accelerated in the last year? I am finding lately that I file a response on a non-final and I get either a final or a notice of allowance in only four weeks or fewer. Even if I file an RCE, the next office action (or notice of allowance) is not taking more than six weeks. Is my experience unusual, or are the rest of you noticing a faster turn-around as well?

    1. 3.1

      From the other side of the table: yes.

      Changes to the docket management system have made it much more difficult to offset slow response times to amendments and arguments. In the past, an examiner could tank their response time scores while easily beefing up their “new action” time scores, and come out with acceptable numbers. Nowadays, in order to maintain a good score, we have to prioritize these responses more.

      I’m not sure about the RCE response times. I’ve personally noticed a real change in the quality of claims over the last few years. They’re more likely to overcome 101 and much harder to find art for an initial rejection. If that trend is true across the office, it could explain some increased preference for RCEs over brand new cases.

    2. 3.2

      Greg my experience has been the same.

  3. 2

    Dear Patent Office,

    Please hire only those for whom English is their first language.

    Thanking you in advance,

    Yours truly,

    Stakeholders

    1. 2.1

      “Please hire only those for whom English is their first language.”

      That’s ra cist. No can do.

      1. 2.1.1

        6 is absolutely correct / especially under the modern “Equity” mandates.

        Besides those who speak Polish as a first language should not suffer any form of racy ism for their (white) ways, just as much as any other race, eh?

    2. 2.2

      The USPTO hires the people it hires because those are the people it can get. If there were more native English speakers with STEM degrees willing to take a GS07 pay scale, no doubt the examiner corps would have more native English speakers. For the most part, however, native English speaking STEM graduates have better options (no offense to our resident examiner friends around these parts) than the USPTO.

      1. 2.2.1

        “For the most part, however, native English speaking STEM graduates have better options (no offense to our resident examiner friends around these parts) than the USPTO.”

        Tell us what all you have in mind. I have many an offer made, but rarely do they appear to be appreciably better than just working for home for 120k+, although I do have to work quite a bit. The only thing I can think of that would be all that much better would be a bit more money, and a bit less work/stress, where’s that coming from? It’s not that that hard to make 14 in like 7-8 years if that’s your actual goal and you don’t get really unlucky.

        1. 2.2.1.1

          The 2019 average starting salary for a new graduate with a bachelors in computer science was $89k (link to naceweb.org). By contrast, the job advert that Prof. Crouch links offers a starting salary of $57k for comp sci new-hires to the examiner corps.

          1. 2.2.1.1.1

            I thought you were talking about STEM in general. Comp Sci has been on a ridiculous upswing of late iirc from numbers I saw just last week. Blowing out just about everything else. I would personally guess that the H1B crackdown and a few other things have been having an effect.

            The link you gave doesn’t work btw. This link shows the salary on avg to be much lower tho.

            link to ziprecruiter.com

            This other article I will post next shows it much lower on avg also.

          2. 2.2.1.1.2

            link to noodle.com

            In any event, that’s in comp sci, adjacent to myself though I have a decent amount of comp sci training (my degree is technically EE/Comp engineering).

    3. 2.3

      Maybe if enough stakeholders first asked the USPTO to increase the special pay rate this could actually happen.

      1. 2.3.1

        Biden’s quadrupling of the cap on refugees needed a ‘landing spot.’

        I do NOT know if this has anything to do with actual work load – and may even portend a diminishing of salary levels (depending of course, on things like ‘equity’ and how strong the examiner union is).

        1. 2.3.1.1

          How would there be a “diminishing” of salary levels for PTO employees? If the high ends of the examiner pay scale catch up to the DC locality pay scale (which will likely happen this decade), examiners will simply get paid the higher locality rate. San Jose examiners at GS-11 and higher already make more than the special examiner pay rate because of this.

          1. 2.3.1.1.1

            Supply and demand — of course, many other factors would indeed come into play (but the USPTO could simply designate lower GS levels instead of – say – changing the pay per level itself.

            Nothing to stop a change to starting at GS4 – if you have an abundance of immigrants to whom GS4 is a king’s ransom.

            1. 2.3.1.1.1.1

              If you can come up with realistic answers, I’ll listen. But neither of your ideas here are realistic.

              1. 2.3.1.1.1.1.1

                Don’t expect any realistic answers from Dunning. Or is he Kruger. He doesn’t even know that only U.S. citizens can be hired as examiners.

              2. 2.3.1.1.1.1.2

                Sorry – but I am only providing the animus of the current “D” administration.

                If you want “realistic answers,” such may be beyond this administration.

                1. Getting honest discussion from you that isn’t littered with your favorite talking points and buzzwords is not worth the effort.

                2. Ah, too bad – for you.

                  As to what I think that you might be aiming for, the point of the matter is that the “D” approach is FAR more than merely inviting ‘more’ in – but then turning around and making those invited to BE ‘easy’ citizens expressly to harvest the votes.

                  Anyone with a pulse who has been paying the least bit of attention to the disaster at our Southern border could have picked this up.

                  So if you are in denial of what else is going on, then the ‘fault’ here is on you. (MUCH like it is on AAA JJ – whose brain melts when it comes to the Liberal Left political points).

                3. I am most definitely ON topic – the problem you are having is not recognizing that the topic is not a singular one – there are several pieces to the puzzle in play here.

                  Take a step back and think about it for awhile. You might then have an ‘a ha’ moment and recognize the veracity of my statements.

                4. You’ve already demonstrated a clear lack of veracity in this thread. So, no. I won’t.

                  And you’re still off topic.

                5. Absolutely not – your saying that means nothing.

                  Come back when you can put the bigger picture together

      2. 2.3.2

        I’d gladly pay a 100% higher exam fee for English-first examiners.

        . . . and I’m far from alone.

        Worth. Every. Penny.

        1. 2.3.2.1

          In 22 years of practice I haven’t seen any empirical evidence that native English speaking examiners are any better. In fact, some of them are the absolute worst.

          1. 2.3.2.1.1

            How about at the EPO? My guess is that less than 10% of the examining cadre has English as its first language, even while two thirds of all patent applications at the EPO are filed in English.

            One can tell from the formulation of the text of the EPO Office Actions which ones are written by an English native speaker. But are those ones of any better “Quality”? I think not.

        2. 2.3.2.2

          I think you’re much more alone than you think.

          That said, as they say: from your mouth to Drew Hirshfeld’s ears!

    4. 2.4

      Frankly, many of the non-native English speakers are great engineers and I like working with them.

  4. 1

    Still feeling good about that prediction that there will be examiner layoffs in the next few years, NWPA?

    1. 1.1

      They’re just around the corner. As always.

    2. 1.2

      No Ben I am not.

      Looks like that prediction was wrong. (What a surprise that you would keep track of THIS prediction.)

    3. 1.3

      The layoffs will occur when the massive drop in filings occur.

      1. 1.3.1

        Sure — if the USPTO were a normal business operation.

        Even as the USPTO budget is entirely driven by innovators paying in, there is no such “real world business” drivers that MUST make your comment true.

        It Amy full well be that a (massive) drop in applications merely raises the fees (massively), and that no examiners are let go — especially if examiners are populated with “citizens-to-be” immigrants (and thus, at least in theory, likely “D” voters).

        1. 1.3.1.1

          “Amy” ==> “may”

        2. 1.3.1.2

          Why are you stuck on the idea about “immigrants” being examiners? Unless they get naturalized, they can’t be examiners.

          1. 1.3.1.2.1

            You shouldn’t have told him. He’ll just change the timbre of his bile, and it was fun to watch his advertise his ignorance.

            1. 1.3.1.2.1.1

              No ignorance – I never stated that there was or was not a “catch” as to naturalization.

              Or haven’t you been paying attention to the US Southern border crises – and the imminent “naturalization” of ALL of those illegals as replacement democrat votes?

              Your own words, Ben — as typical — more so describe you.

              1. 1.3.1.2.1.1.1

                No one believes you.

                1. And THAT ^ comment also applies to you (outside of the small crowd of ‘anon is mean to me’ mindless numbnuts).

                  IF you were smart, you would at least try to recognize the veracity of my many positions.

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