Do you aspire to use your engineering or science background to serve on the cutting edge of innovation? Now you can, by being the first to examine new inventions to determine and grant patents as a Patent Examiner at America's Innovation Agency.
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Clarification from the agency
Applications will be accepted from all U.S. Citizens or Nationals. ***One or more cut-off dates may occur at management's request during the open period for this announcement. 1st cutoff: January 21, 2024; 2nd cutoff: March 12, 2024; 3rd cutoff: May 1, 2024; 4th cutoff: June 24, 2024.
Patent examiners may choose to perform their duties throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
A patent examiner (PE) reviews applications to determine whether patents can be granted for inventions. Patents give inventors the right to exclude others from making or selling their inventions for a limited time. As a U.S. patent examiner, you will handle these basic patent examining functions:
- Search prior art to ensure that an invention is new and unique. Prior art is information that has been disclosed to the public about an invention before a given date - including any related patents, published articles and public demonstrations.
- Review patent applications to ensure conformity to formal requirements.
- Write legal office actions on patentability and respond to patent applicants.
Perform basic patent examining functions with extensive instructions from the supervisor. Training will develop the ability to apply technical concepts to the patent examining process. Assignments combine performance of productive work with supervised on-the-job training.
Independently perform intermediate patent examining functions with some supervision. Assignments are of average difficulty and require the application of technical concepts to the patent examining process. May perform advanced patent examining functions with supervision (e.g., the evaluation of special claim constructions, the requirement of restrictions, the recognition and development of probable interferences, etc.). These advanced activities are supported by close review.
GS-11: Independently perform patent examining functions and formulate or recommend appropriate action with respect to:
- Checking applications for technical accuracy and compliance with formal requirements
- Treating disclosure statements and claims of priority
- Analyzing disclosure and claims for compliance with 35 USC 112
- Planning a field of search
- Conducting search
- Formulating rejections under 35 USC 102 and 103 with supporting rationale, or determining how claim(s) distinguish over the prior art
- Determining whether amendment introduces new matter
- Determining whether restriction is proper
- Determining whether claimed invention is operable/useful as disclosed
Almost all of the PE's work is performed using a computer and is visually very demanding. Please search USAJOBS for "Patent Examiner" or consult our Careers Website
for further information.
Note: Applications will be accepted from students who expect to complete qualifying education within 9 months from the date of application. USPTO requires verification of successful completion before extending a final offer.
Conditions of Employment
- Applicants will only be accepted from United States Citizens and Nationals.
- Your resume and question responses must demonstrate the job-related competencies.
- You must meet the definition of specialized experience.
- Required to pass a background investigation and fingerprint check.
- Must be registered for Selective Service, if applicable (www.sss.gov)
- If selected, you may be required to complete a one year probationary period.
- You must meet all qualification requirements upon the closing date of this announcement.
You must meet the United States Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) qualification requirements (including specialized experience and/or educational requirements) for the advertised position. OPM's prescribed Group Coverage Qualification Standard for Patent Examiner Series, GS-1224, can be found at Patent Examining Series 1224 (opm.gov)
Individual Occupational Requirements for Chemistry can be found at, Chemistry Series, 1320 (opm.gov)
BASIC QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:
To be considered for this position, you MUST Have at least a bachelor's degree (A) in physical sciences, life sciences, or engineering that included 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by course work in mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics.
B. Have a combination of education and experience--course work equivalent to a major as shown in A above, including at least 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics, plus appropriate experience or additional education.
Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religious; spiritual; community, student, social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.
For documentation requirements, see below
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS.ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS:
A) Superior Academic Achievement (SAA). This can be defined by one of the following:
1) Class Standing-Upper third of the graduating class in the college, university, or major subdivision, such as the "School of Engineering and Applied Science" or "College of Science and Technology" based on completed courses.
2) Grade point average (GPA) as recorded on the final transcript
i) 3.0 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B" or better) as recorded on the official transcript, or as computed based on 4 years of education, or as computed based on courses completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum; or
ii) 3.5 or higher out of a possible 4.0 ("B+" or better) based on the average of the required courses completed in the major field or the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum. The GPA is rounded to one decimal place. (2.95 = 3.0 and 2.94 = 2.9). The final transcript must cover the period being used to determine the GPA.
3) Honor Society membership--Election to membership in a national scholastic honor society. Click here for a list of qualified honor societies.
B) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-5 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying basic chemistry and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; planning and conducting research; applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc.
C) Have at least one year of graduate level education from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements.
If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study.
D) Have less than the full amount of graduate education as described in "C" above and less than the amount of experience described in "B" above but have a combination "B" and "C" above.
A) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-7 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying intermediate chemistry and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; planning and conducting research; applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc.
B) I have a combination of education and experience. I possess at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry, physical sciences, life sciences, or engineering that included 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by course work in mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics AND have experience applying chemistry principles and theories in the chemistry field.
C) Have at least two years of graduate level education leading to a master's degree or equivalent graduate degree from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements. If the number of credit hours representing one year of full-time study cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours will be considered an academic year of graduate study.
D) Have less than the full amount of education described in "C" above and less than the amount of experience described in "A" above but have a combination of the type of graduate education described in "C" above and experience described in "A" above.
A) Have at least one year of specialized experience, equivalent to the GS-9 level in the Federal service interpreting and applying advanced chemistry and/or scientific principles, theories, concepts and methodologies used in the evaluation of technology; or planning and conducting research; or applying appropriate references to the claimed invention, etc.
B) Have at least three years of progressively higher-level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in a chemistry curriculum from an accredited college and/or university in the fields of study as described in the Basic Qualification Requirements of this job announcement.
One year of full-time graduate education is considered to be the number of credit hours that the school attended has determined to represent 1 year of full-time study (If that number cannot be obtained from the school, 18 semester hours is considered an academic year of graduate study).
C) Have a combination of education and experience. Have less than the full amount of education described in "B" above and less than the amount of experience described in "A" above but have a combination of the type of graduate education described in "B" above and experience described in "A" above.
If this position requires proof of higher education, or you are substituting education for experience, you must submit an unofficial transcript or a list of courses that includes the following information: name of accredited institution, grades earned, completion dates, and quarter and semester hours earned. Education completed in foreign colleges or universities may be used to meet the requirements. Please refer to http://www.opm.gov/qualifications/policy/ApplicationOfStds-04.asp for more information. You are not required to submit official documents at this time; copies are sufficient.
Special Instructions for Foreign Education: Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. A listing of these accredited organizations can be found on the Department of Education's website - US Department of Education. Another listing of services that can perform this evaluation is available at the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) website. You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation with a course by course listing along with your application. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.
NOTE: Only education and experience acquired before the filing deadline will be considered. Report only attendance and/or degrees from schools accredited by accrediting institutions recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
If you are a male applicant born after December 31, 1959, you must certify that you have registered with the Selective Service System. If you are exempt from registration under Selective Service Law, you must provide appropriate proof of exemption. Please visit the Selective Service System website for more information.
This is a Bargaining Unit position and represented by Patent Office Professional Association (POPA)
This is a Public Trust position and has a risk level designation of "moderate".
Background Investigation - If selected for this position, you may be required to complete a Declaration for Federal Employment (OF-306), which includes a fingerprint and credit check, to determine your suitability for Federal employment and to authorize a background investigation.
The USPTO participates in E-Verify. For more information on E-Verify, please visit the Department of Homeland Security Website.
All Federal employees are required to have Federal salary payments made by direct deposit to a financial institution of their choice.
Relocation Expenses are not authorized and will not be paid.
CTAP and ICTAP candidates will be eligible for selection priority if it is determined that they have exceeded the minimum qualifications for the position by attaining at least a "well qualified" rating of 85 out of 100. Information about CTAP and ICTAP eligibility is on the Office of Personnel Management's Career Transition Resources website at: OPM CTAP/ICTAP.
CTAP/ICTAP documentation requirements are listed in the 'Required Documents' section of this announcement.
More than one selection may be made from this announcement if additional identical vacancies in the same title, series, grade, and unit occur within 90 days from the date the certificate was issued.
All application materials become the property of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
USPTO Job Applicants requiring reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process should request accommodation(s) from the USPTO at http://www.uspto.gov/accommodation.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors. If you believe that you have been discriminated against and would like to file an EEO complaint, you must do so within 45 days of the date of the alleged discriminatory act. Claims of employment discrimination must be submitted to the attention of the USPTO's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity & Diversity via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (571-272-8292).
A career with the U.S. government provides employees with a comprehensive benefits package. As a federal employee, you and your family will have access to a range of benefits that are designed to make your federal career very rewarding. Opens in a new windowLearn more about federal benefits.
Review our benefits
Eligibility for benefits depends on the type of position you hold and whether your position is full-time, part-time or intermittent. Contact the hiring agency for more information on the specific benefits offered.
You will be evaluated for this job based on how well you meet the qualifications above.
Your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation will be reviewed to determine if you meet the minimum qualifications for the position. If you meet the minimum qualifications stated in the job opportunity announcement, we will compare your resume, optional cover letter and supporting documentation to your responses on the self-assessment questions (True/False, Yes/ No, Multiple Choice questions) and place you in one of three pre-defined categories. These categories are "gold," "silver," and "bronze." Your resume and/or optional cover letter must support your responses to the scored occupational questionnaire, or your score may be lowered. Candidates placed in the "gold" category will be identified for referral to the hiring manager and may be invited for an interview.
How you will be evaluated for Veteran's Preference eligibility: Preference eligibles with a service-connected disability of 10% or more will be listed at the top of the highest quality category (gold).
Your resume will be evaluated based on evidence of your ability to demonstrate possession of any specialized experience and how well your background and experience relates to the self-assessment questions in the job announcement. Responses to job questions that are not fully supported by the information in your resume may result in adjustments to your rating. Any experience claimed in a cover letter should be substantiated by information contained in your resume. A HR Representative will validate the qualifications of those candidates eligible to be referred to the hiring official.
The scored occupational questionnaire will evaluate you on the following competencies; Please do not provide a separate written response.
- Interpersonal Communication
- Written Communication
For more information on category rating, please go to: DOC Bulletins
Please click the link below to preview the Assessment Questionnaire:
Please note that a complete application is required for consideration. (Please review the "Required Documents" section of this job announcement to see what must be included in a complete application).
A complete application consists of:
1. A resume or any other written format you choose to describe your job-related qualifications; optional cover letter: Your resume should indicate your citizenship and should list your educational and work experience including titles, salary, employment dates, duties, experience and how it relates to the specialized experience in the job announcement.
2. Transcripts: You MUST submit copies of your college transcripts for verification of the education requirements. Unofficial copies are accepted, however, if selected you will be required to furnish official transcripts. It is your responsibility to provide adequate proof that you meet the above educational requirement. Inadequate or illegible information could result in non-qualification and loss of consideration. (For Individual Occupational Requirements and/or Substitution of Education for specialized experience.
PLEASE NOTE: Applicants who meet the minimum eligibility and qualification requirements for this position may be contacted within 7 business days of the closing date of this announcement to submit follow-up supporting documentation if applicable. Applicants claiming veterans' preference entitlement or CTAP/ICTAP eligibility who fail to submit supplemental documentation within 5 business days of receiving the request will not lose consideration for this position, however they will not be entitled to special or priority consideration.
1. Veterans' Preference Documentation: If you are a veteran with preference eligibility, you will be asked to submit a copy of your DD-214 containing your discharge disposition, dates of service, and rank. If you are a preference eligible claiming a service-connected disability of 10 percent or more, you will be asked to submit documentation (i.e., a letter dated 1991 or later from the Department of Veterans Affairs or from a branch of the Armed Forces) certifying to the veteran's present receipt of compensation. Veterans must include dates of military service within the automated application process and submit a copy of each Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, DD-214. For more information, please visit Feds Hire Vets.
2. Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) or Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) documents -
CTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents: 1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a directed geographic relocation outside of the local commuting area; a Certificate of Expected Separation (CES); or certification that you are in a surplus organization or occupation (this could be a position abolishment letter, a notice of eligibility for discontinued service retirement, or similar notice); 2. A copy of your SF-50 "Notification of Personnel Action", noting current position, grade/band level, and duty location; 3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and 4. Any documentation from your bureau/operating unit that shows your current promotion potential.
ICTAP applicants MUST submit the following documents: 1. A copy of your RIF separation notice, notice of proposed removal for declining a directed geographic relocation outside of the local commuting area, notice of disability annuity termination, certification from your former agency that it cannot place you after your recovery from a work-related compensable injury; or certification from the National Guard Bureau or Military Department that you are eligible for disability retirement; 2. A copy of your SF-50 "Notification of Personnel Action", documenting your RIF separation, noting your position, grade/band level, and duty location, and/or Agency certification of inability to place you through RPL, etc.; 3. A copy of your latest performance appraisal including your rating; and 4. Any documentation from your agency that shows your current promotion potential.
You can upload your documents when you register or update your information on the Dept. of Commerce site which you access through the USAJobs site.
Your application and all required documents must be received by 11:59 pm ET on the closing date of this job announcement. NOTE: The preceding documents requirement are based on job requirements and individual applicant eligibility. Not all documents are applicable to all applicants; if you are unsure which documents apply to you, contact the HR Specialist listed on this announcement.
You MUST apply online. If you experience difficulties with the application process or do not have access to a computer, please contact the HR Specialist listed as the point of contact before the closing date of this job announcement.
If you are a new user to the USAJobs Site and have never registered for an account, you will first need to create an account profile with your basic contact information and a resume to begin applying. You must be a registered USAJobs user AND you must be signed-in to your account in order to apply for this position. For help setting up an account or for general help using USAJobs, go to USAJobs Help Page. Once you have gathered all of the required information and are ready to begin the application process, click the "APPLY" button at the right side of the page. You will then be directed away from USAJobs to the Department of Commerce application site for USPTO. You must click "Submit" at the end of the application process to send your application for consideration.
To return to your saved application, log in to your USAJOBS account at http://www.usajobs.gov/ and click on "Applications." Click on the position title, then select "Update Application."
If you experience any difficulties with the application site, help is available! OPM has a Help feature on each page. Use this option when you need assistance.
All required supporting documents will be collected electronically via the USAJobs "Saved Documents" feature.
Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is defined as information that can be traced back to a specific individual and potentially compromise their security or privacy. Examples of PII include: date of birth, Social Security Number, and place of birth.
Please ensure that you have removed all Personally Identifiable Information from all documents prior to submitting or uploading your applications material.
You will receive a notice generated by the USAJobs System when you have successfully submitted your application.
You will be notified of your application status through USAJOBS at four points during the hiring process, as applicable. You can check the status of your application by accessing the USAJOBS website at http://usajobs.gov/ and clicking on "Track Your Online Application." The four points of notification are:
1. Application Received or Application Incomplete;
2. Minimum Qualification Requirement Met or Minimum Qualification Requirement Not Met;
3. Eligible (Application Referred to the Selecting Official) or Eligible (Application Not Referred to the Selecting Official); and
4. Selected or Not Selected
After all application packages have been received, we will review your application and transcript(s) (if you are qualifying based on education) to ensure you meet the basic qualification requirements. We will evaluate each applicant who meets the basic qualifications on the information provided and you may be contacted for follow-up supplemental documentation. It is the applicant's responsibility to provide any supplemental documents or information requested by the Office of Human Resources within the allocated timeframes.
You will be required to submit official documentation prior to appointment. The agency will then verify the information provided on your application (i.e., degree, veterans' preference, disability, etc.). You can check the status of your application by logging into USAJOBS. You may also sign up to receive automatic emails anytime the status of your application has changed by logging into your USAJobs Account, editing your profile and changing the "Notification Settings" to indicate that you want to be notified by email when the status changes. Information regarding the status of your application should be updated in the system within 2 weeks after the closing date of this job announcement.